I would probably make fun of her, except that I'm quickly becoming the same way. I've been lucky enough to have had the same room for the past eight years. And slowly but surely it has become my home. The room number is part of the email address I give students to contact me. The room, actually, has become my co-teacher in lot of ways. It defines me. There has been talk of me being forced out to make way for a new computer lab. And, quite frankly, I don't want to leave. It's where I make magic happen, if that's what you want to call what happens there.
Today, I'd like to take you on a little tour of Room 230.
The BindersAll my students are required to have binders, to keep their work neat and organized. At the start and end of each period, they head over to this bookcase. As you can see, we've got to work on being neat.
My deskSpeaking of working on being neat, here's my desk. Oh well. A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind, or something like that. I pretend that I know exactly where everything is, which is why I tell students to never, ever place anything on my desk. They need to hand it to me personally and let me toss it onto my desk and promptly lose it.
My roomThis is what it looks like from my desk. What can I point out? Map on the right, inspirational posters above. A screen in front, where all my lessons are projected. Clothesline overhead where I hang student work. Desks are in a sort of U-shape, with me usually pacing around in the center. Enough space to accommodate 40 students.
TechnologyFour years ago, I started projecting all my lessons using PowerPoint. This was my projector. The bulb finally burned out last year. A replacement bulb would cost more than $450, so I just bought a new projector for $700. This old one now acts as a stand for the new one and as a reminder of how quickly technology changes.
One of my fansI've got three fans strategically placed around the room. They're loud, but definitely necessary during the first and fourth quarters of the school year, when it can easily be humid and in the 90s in my room.
Dress codeIn the winter, on the other hand, it can be in the 40s in my classroom. Students love to show up with their out-of-dress-code sweaters, claiming it's too cold to be in dress code. (Our dress code is a solid white top and solid-colored pants or jeans.) Well, I ran out and bought a few white sweatshirts, and anyone that's cold is welcome to wear one of them. It's gross enough to get them to remember to bring their own white tops.
The RuleMany teachers waste their time posting class rules and expectations. I've got just this one. On the first day of classes, students must copy the Rule into their notebooks. Then, anyone ever breaking the Rule must draw it perfectly 10 times. What does it mean? Take a guess! What do you think my class rule is? OK, fine, I'll tell you: It's Japanese for "respect."
BooksI have three bookcases around the room crammed with old classics and paperbacks. Every once in a while students actually gravitate to them and borrow a book or two. Sometimes they even return them. You might be surprised to learn that many students actually love to surround themselves with books. How do I know? Last week, I pulled 25 or 30 old books, put them in a box in the hallway with a sign saying "Free Books!" In an hour, they were gone.
Points and picturesIt's a hassle for someone as disorganized as me, but I try to keep my students updated with points they've earned in various activities. I also have pictures of each of my classes, plus individual pictures of kids I call my SuperStar Students.
The clockOne of the nicest things I've heard from students is when they say they can't believe that class is over already. I try to make the clock irrelevant. But when I look up and see it's after 5, I realize I need to get the heck out of here.
See you tomorrow!