My Plain, Boring, Not Picture-worthy Classroom

For the past few weeks, I have been venturing into my classroom off and on to set up for the first day of school.  For me, that meant taking out my library books from the shed, emptying my closets out to access the folders and other supplies I would need to distribute to the kids, putting up my new word wall made from Target One Spot stuff (if you follow me on Instagram you know that I bought out the notebook paper stuff from 4 different Targets ;)), and putting up the tissue paper borders for my boards (which still had the felt up from last year....because that stuff is expensive so it is up for a while ;))

I was feeling pretty good about the status of my room.  The boards looked neat.  It was empty and plain, but functional.

Then I went on Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram.

I kept seeing pictures of BEAUTIFUL classrooms.  Fabulous libraries.  Gorgeous quotes filling the walls.  Comfortable nooks with amazing carpets, chairs you could sink into, and the perfect lamp in the corner.  These pictures were of classrooms to die for. 

And I felt inadequate.

I felt pressure to make my room as immaculate as what I was seeing in everyone else's room.

I wanted to post pictures of what I was doing in my room, but no angle in the classroom could hide the boringness that is Room 6.

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE those classrooms.  I wish I had one of those classrooms.  But honestly, it just isn't me.  That is not my style, and quite frankly, I don't have the decorating chops to make my room gorgeous.  Nevertheless, I felt like my own room, my own space, my own little blog here, was just not worthy to share with you.

My non-picture perfect classroom is not gorgeous, but that is OK!  Kids will still be able to learn and focus in the room.  As the year goes on, student work will fill up the room
But then I began to think.  If *I* am feeling this way, I know that *you* probably are too.  If you are feeling less than blogworthy too, then you are probably the same kind of person that I am.  A non-creative, non-decoratey person who lets student work later in the year be the star.  Later in the year, you will probably have a room that looks like it threw up student work (which I LOVE).  But for now,  you probably have a nice, organized (ish) room with butcher paper and borders.  Your tables are good to go.  You may have a word wall up.  Your library is ready for students to go wild in.  You have new text books on the floor in boxes and composition books on top of the bookshelves ready to be handed out on the first day.  Your room is functional.....and that is ok.   Mine is too.

Getting the classroom ready for the first day of school shouldn't be stressful.

Let me be the first to tell you.

You are worthy.

I am worthy.

We are all worthy.  Beautiful Pottery Barn classroom or functional set up, we all are there with one thing in mind, educating students.  We all will do that over the course of this year and our room environments will grow to reflect that learning.   It is ok if your room isn't picture perfect on Day 1.  It doesn't have to be.

And if it is, can you come and decorate for me please?  ;) 

Teaching in Room 6 is on Snapchat!  Follow her for some amazing teaching ideas, lesson plans, and more.  She shows all of that teaching stuff you love!!
Want to see more pictures of my room in progress?  Follow me on Snapchat where I will be documenting this year in all it's (non-picture worthy) glory :)

41 comments

  1. Great post. Excellent view point! I love it! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You my friend are VERY creative! You have made some of the BEST products I have used with my students over the past few years. Your room is sophisticated, just like you are! You know YOU best and how you function and what you DO with students every single day is what matters most! KEEP BEING YOU!

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  3. Your room looks great! My sister and I were just talking about classroom decor today. We are both instructional coaches now and had the cutesy/pinteresty rooms, but our views have now changed. A new trend in education is NOT putting up all the cutesy things for the beginning of school, but allowing your classroom to become decorated and cutesy throughout the year. When you stated your boards are "begging for student work" you were 100% correct! Student work should be the showcase of our classrooms, rather than the abundance of colors, patterns, and cutouts. I wish you a fantastic school year!

    Jess

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  4. Love the set up! I always end up with the desks being in the "E" formation.😀

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  5. Great post!! I can completely relate to your point of view. And, by the way, I think your room looks great!

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  6. I love the openness it is not too over stimulating. I am sure your kiddos will feel right at home! You have plenty of space for student work and hanging anchor charts as you go!
    -Desiree
    Papers, Pencils, & Progress Reports

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  7. Just what I needed today, thank you for posting. It's not my style either- I need lots of functional space!

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  8. I think your room looks great! My room is usually plain in the beginning because I want to create things to display with my students. :-)

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  9. I completely agree! Lately I've had many similar thoughts of feeling like I should do more, but then I decided that I need to just be me. I don't want to have the cutesy room...just yet. I want my students to fill the room with their hard work, then it will be cutesy!

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  10. Someone pointed your blog out to me. It was the medicine I needed. I felt inadequate seeing all the pics of the cute, decorated rooms. Mine will get there...maybe...eventually....

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  11. Amen Sister! I look at those pinterest/fb pictures of the crafts classrooms with the neat seating arrangements and just shake my head. That isn't me. That isn't my personality. Monday I get to go in and start setting up. Thanks for validating those of us who aren't Pinteresty. ;)

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  12. AMEN! I know some people like to go all out on their classrooms and some don't. It's fine either way! We want to make sure our rooms are comfortable for us, because then we can be comfortable and make our students comfortable too. Great post! Thank you for sharing your "boring"! (because it's perfect just the way it is!) =)
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

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  13. I love your blog post! Education nowadays contains some teachers that focus/obsess too much on the cutesy, decorative stuff. I understand that all teachers are different and that's totally great. However, as I heard someone once say..."Is that Chevron, Polka Dot,etc. border going to help your students gain testing knowledge? Is it going to help them learn better or grow instant learning cells?" Yes, decor can impact a classroom environment. But, I think it's important that teachers realize it's a "minimal" impact. When you focus too much on tons of decor, it creates competition and I believe that teacher competition in turn creates negative energy. You are wonderful, your point of view is awesome, and keep on staying true to you! You are totally worthy! :)

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    1. Absolutely agree! It's the teacher; not her decorations that have the most impact on students.

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  14. Your room looks almost exactly like my room (teaching 2nd grade) the past two school years. I even had that E/backwards E design for the tables, which I LOVE. I used to teach K. I think it is really important to make the room inviting in K. For most children, it's their first time walking into a classroom, so I felt the pressure. Now, I know the most important feature in the classroom is ME, the teacher.

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  15. Sometimes it's just better to be real...LOL...we are real teachers with real students and real classrooms. Sometimes you just don't have time to decorate paperclips. Great post...I LOVED IT!

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  16. Love it!!! And I love all the student work you display each year! Can't wait to see those pics later on this year!!

    Melissa
    Wild About Fifth

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  17. My 5th grade math classroom is right down the middle -- got on a Pinterest kick two years ago and still riding that trend, while being more functional and not by any means perfect. My room is small for having 23 students this year, so I am ready to try the "E" arrangement!

    Yes, we are worthy! Thanks for the reminder! Have a fantastic year!

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  18. Girl, Thank you for this post! I can totally relate, and I am so glad that you posted this!
    Tanya ☺

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  19. Big ole blank empty WHITE wall in my room. Anchor charts will fill that bad boy in no time. Great post.

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  20. THIS. Thank you. My room is a combination of all the stuff I found at garage sales this summer (none of which match) mixed with all of the stuff I have collected over the past couple years teaching (again, none of which match). I have been going in and just staring at it because it is a far cry from all of the color-coordinated works of art I have seen on blogs. Rather than spending a couple paychecks trying to make it the way my head would like it to look, I am taking a seat knowing that maybe in a few years I will have accumulated enough items to make it look just right. Until then...thank you for this post! I feel better already!

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  21. Great post! I try not to fill up the walls before school starts. I need room for all the awesome anchor charts I will make with my kids as the year progresses.

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  22. Thank you for this post. I feel the same way about all of those lovely classrooms that I can't seem to live up to. My classroom will be pretty plain to start, but will be functional.
    @Wiley Teaching

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  23. Thank you for this post. I feel the same way about all of those lovely classrooms that I can't seem to live up to. My classroom will be pretty plain to start, but will be functional.
    @Wiley Teaching

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  24. Oh, your post came just in time! I don't feel that my room is picture-perfect, "Pinterestable", or blogworthy. My students always seem to love it, though. And I feel happy when I walk in. I am still having a little bit of guilt about the old, ugly bookcases I didn't paint though! Thanks so much for sharing. I think your room looks great.
    Jan
    Laughter and Consistency

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  25. I love LoVE this post! I care lots about my classroom environment, am type A, and very purposeful in my set up but it never looks like Pinterest by any means! That takes way too much time and money, and while I love how it looks, it really isn't necessary. I spend much more time planning and all my favorite ideas come from you!! I know that my classroom will be print rich and visually appealing when my students really dive into their learning. Thank you for being so honest and real! Xo!

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  26. I've always loved your classroom! It is decorated beautifully just waiting for all the student work you display. Don't sell yourself short.

    Middle School Math Rules

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  27. I've been blogging for several years now, and I've never shared pictures of my classroom on my blog. I had already decided that this would be the year to take the plunge, so your post is timely. I've just never been into classroom themes and fancy decor. I do like an organized, welcoming space, and it will definitely take on a transformation as the kids show up and our thinking ends up on the walls. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  28. I agree! My room is just a plain Jane or Joe room, and I feel comfortable. Sometimes my desk is a bit unorganized but I know where everything is. I hear of teachers getting rid of their teacher desk and I wonder where they sit to write lessons down, or do paperwork, or any of the things I use my desk for. I need my desk for me! I'm old and old-fashioned, but I do use new technology!

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    1. Right there with you on both counts!

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  29. Amen to this post! As a guy teacher I'm as far from cutsey and themey as you can get.

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  30. Stumbled on this post after seeing the other teachers' classrooms today. Fifth grade, new school and only change in my pocket. My class is neat, clean and woefully bare. Glad to know I'm not the only one with an "unthemed" classroom.

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  31. I totally plan to blog about my boring and blank room this week. I really don't put much up in my classroom before school starts. Why? Because I add things as we learn them. By the end of the year- it's a totally different story. I totally feel ya!

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  32. I absolutely love this post! While your classroom is functional and just waiting for all that student work to be hung up, it is still decorated nicely and looks welcoming for your students. I'm heading into my classroom tomorrow to take some pictures as well!

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  33. I love this post! I just read this article about the perfect classroom according to scientific research and it made me think of this blog post. Things that are important are natural light, temperature, and accessibility and in fact busy walls with too much going on can be distracting. Looks like your so-called plain boring classroom is research based! https://medium.com/bright/the-perfect-classroom-according-to-science-5b23c4a33c1a

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  34. When I read the title of your post, I was going to disagree with you that your classroom is worthy hundreds of photos. But now I see that you've done it yourself. Indeed, all of us are worthy and we all have to bear it in mind. Good luck and keep up the great job!

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  35. It's not boring, it's PERFECT! As the Mom of an amazing, smart kid with massive ADHD, let me say THANK YOU! I know the "other" kind of classrooms are adorable, but they are deadly distracting to a child like my son. When I see a room like yours on the first day of school, I let out a great big sigh of relief. Your classroom is a great learning environment for ALL students!

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  36. I subbed in your class for a while....
    it was amazing how much quality work you had and how FUNCTIONAL every corner was. You are worthy...We are worthy. Have a great year!

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  37. I needed to read this! Usually my classrooms are gorgeous to the "t." However this year, I'm moving to a different classroom and feel so discouraged that's is not like previous years. But I am worthy! Thanks so much. God bless!

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  38. I am definitely on the side of letting students decorate with their work as the year progresses. Other than a schedule, a word wall and the basics, there will be nothing on my walls that looks as if I am a candidate for Pinterest Decorative Teacher of the Year. After you've done this a while, you figure things out. Thanks for your blog!

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  39. I couldn't agree more! I jokingly say Pinteist is killing parenting. Every parent has to one up the other for birthday parties and various other events Many feel like a "Bad Mom" if they don't or can't keep up. So now they same is true for teaching!! We are worthy!

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