I spent hours today at school, getting my room squared away for the year. It took longer than usual for a couple of reasons:
A program that rents the campus during summer used the English hallway, which of course was fine, but they took almost all of the student desks out of my room and another colleague's room and put them into a third colleague's classroom for a big lecture space ... and then they left them all there. So I had to carry eight big trapezoidal tables down the hallway and get them set up. I've taken several doses of Advil since then and expect to be hurting tomorrow. But the good news is that I got dibs on the tables and thus now have a nice set of matching, non-wobbling desks, which I will proceed to guard vigorously.
I was rather sneaky strategic a couple of weeks ago and asked the head of our buildings and grounds crew if I could paint my classroom if he would provide the paint so that it was the current FGS color of beige. He said, "we'll paint it," and voila, it was done within a week! I don't think that strategy would always work so quickly, but I happened to catch him as the crew was about to tackle the high school classroom building, so my timing was (accidentally) perfect. So now, for the first time in the almost-decade that I've been at FGS, my classroom is one, uniform off-white! Who knows when it had last been entirely repainted -- years before I arrived, certainly -- and during my tenure it had been patched and spot-painted multiple times such that it was a classroom of many (beige) colors. But now it looks so clean and sparkly!
Of course, to have them paint, I had to take everything down from my walls, which was a reminder that I had really just thrown mostly borrowed stuff up on my walls when I moved in. I'd never had my own classroom before, and I panicked at the thought of having to decorate a bulletin board, and I mostly just wanted something -- anything -- on the walls so that I looked like a legitimate teacher. Over the years, I've added and subtracted a bit, but this summer I decided that I wanted to have a classroom that really did reflect me.
So I ordered some posters, got rid of some things, and I spent today hanging stuff up. And it looks lovely! I was aiming for serene -- lots of white (or rather, beige) space around each item -- I'm definitely not into the crowded classroom look, which stresses me out and would distract me if I were a student.
I came home this afternoon sweaty and grubby but pleased with how the room was looking and cheerfully anticipating the next several months spent in the room with students.
Here's what the blog title is about: Remember how I didn't get that academic dean position back in February? And that one of the things that comforted me about that decision was that I would get to stay in my spacious, light classroom teaching? Well, it occurred to me this summer that my unusual flurry of decorating is really about making my classroom an even lovelier space so that it feels like a reward rather than a consolation prize to go there every day. I'm nesting, and I hope that the chick that is about to hatch is a rewarding, enjoyable year of teaching.