I have just gotten home from two weeks of camping in Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. It was fantastic. We saw forests, canyons, rivers, lakes, oceans, beaches, deserts, lots of freeways and back roads, orchards, farms, cities, towns, and old friends from our previous life in Japan.
When I walked into our house at 12.17am after just over 8 hours of driving, I was struck by how big, how spacious, how clean, and how different it felt. It was absolutely exactly the same as we had left it fourteen days ago, yet it felt different – in a good way.
Soon, I will be having to head back to my classroom – a place I haven’t been for much longer than two weeks! What am I going to do there to make it different for my incoming class of students? I have more kids this year, all with big expectations and high ambitions as they ‘finally’ get to fifth grade, the pinnacle of Elementary School. I am hoping that absence will have blessed me with a new perspective. Fresh eyes to view the space and make changes that will be welcoming and inspiring.
I am leaning more and more toward the idea of a ‘fresh slate’. I know I could make the room super cute and coordinated on my own. Last summer, my husband and I spent hours of our time and hundreds of our dollars to transform the space from a fourth to a fifth grade classroom. This year, I am toying with the idea of giving the kids more of that ownership. Letting them work out the kinks and find a solution that works. If you know me, this is not easy for me to even contemplate (“What if things don’t match?” What if they make ugly choices?!) but I think it could have major payoffs.
How much do you let the people who inhabit your classroom have a say in how it looks?
Is it time to start anew?