Throughout the past three years in the Education program, I have thought numerous times about what my classroom would look like. However, I just thought of myself standing up there teaching; I never really considered the details. How would the desks be arranged? What would be on the walls? Would it be loud or quiet? Chaotic or boring?
These are all things that I never really considered until my pre-internship when I was actually teaching. The first few days I spent with the Wellness 10 girls in the gym, they were loud and chatty and wanted to interact with one another. However, as soon I was the teacher in the classroom, they froze. I was so excited to do all these movement activities while learning with them, and they went silent. It drove me bananas!! Why aren’t they talking? Why is no one moving with me? Why is everyone sitting in single file rows when I told them they can partner up? Right away I noticed two things I want with my classroom – movement and chaos.
I’d say I was a good student in high school, but I hated the classes where we silently read and wrote, and if we were caught talking we were penalized in some way. I guess I am one of those people who prefers idle chit-chat while working, as opposed to dead quiet. I also loved the classes when the teachers got animated, and we were allowed to move freely around the room. If a student was losing it, they could go get a drink, or get up and move around.
It wasn’t until University when my EHE 310 professor had us move while we worked. During a group assignment, we had to wall sit, lunge, or hold a plank for an allotted time while we discussed a question. Once we were done that question we were allowed 20 seconds to sit, then move on to the next question. I LOVED this! Nothing in my mind is worse than being sedentary in a chair while trying to participate in group work.
One thing I learned from my pre-internship is that noise can be good. Noise, chaos, and movement if used effectively can all be part of learning. As long as I am able to bring the students back when needed, I have no problem with chaos in my classroom.
During EHE 310 our professor, Shelley, took us to a model classroom at Kitchener Community School here in Regina. I loved this room. We walked in and there was a trampoline, stationary bike, standing desk, and tipi at the back. There were desks in groups of one, two, and four. There was also a mat area filled with two been bag chairs and stuffed animals. Wowza was I shocked. How could all this go on while I’m trying to teach?! I was baffled at first that teachers thought this could go on during class time. However, during the presentation, the facilitator asked us to look around – we were all doing something different using the tools that were given, and no one seemed to be bothered. She then took us to a few of the teachers classrooms to watch it in action with REAL STUDENTS! My perspective immediately changed. If all of this can go on in a classroom and kids are still learning, then this is just the coolest thing ever!
The last thing I want my classroom to be like is very Inquiry-based. I know it is pretty much all we hear about the first two years of education, but it wasn’t until this year, more so this semester, that I truly understood what Inquiry looks like. Having Shauna as my mentor has shown me a lot about inquiry. It seems the majority of the students classrooms are inquiry based, and the kids seem to really enjoy it. I hope that in the future, my students look as engaged and willing to learn as Room 209 looks! This classroom also looks like fun – it looks like a bunch of kids just hanging out, as opposed to a classroom. I imagine it took Shauna and the other teachers at Churchill Alternative School a great deal of time to set up inclusive classrooms and safe places for those children. That is something else I value, and hope to achieve in my classroom.
Though I have a great deal to learn before my classroom will ever look like this, I’m feeling confident that one day this classroom will be successful for me as a teacher, and my students.