The day I got the keys to my classroom stands out as one of the most exciting moments of my career to this day. But as I turned the key and opened the door to my new home away from home I had no idea what to expect. I had nightmares of what I would find when I opened the door. Would I find an empty room? One where I was missing desks and had no books? Or would I open the door to a room that was so full of junk I wouldn’t know where to begin?
I was fortunate to end up somewhere in the middle. The previous teacher took a lot of things with her, but I was left with a closet full of copies, old binders, and a library bursting at the seams. I felt overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of me but I managed to create a clean and inviting classroom in just five days. By the time school began, I was ready to welcome my first class of third graders.
Clean & Purge
In order to make this classroom my own, I started by cleaning and purging. Before I started bringing in my own things I needed to get rid of the stuff I didn’t want. The previous teacher left behind posters and had her bulletin boards covered. I could have taken the easy route and left these things hanging. But in order to make the space my own, I took everything off the walls! I also stored all of the paperwork and curriculum in my closet until I was ready to organize it all.
Define the Zones
In efforts to truly own my new space, I defined the zones of my room. With clear walls and a clear floor, my next step was to define each individual learning zone within my classroom. I knew I wanted a meeting space, a teacher space, a computer space, and a library. I also needed to make room for 26 desks! Because I had cleaned out my cabinets and shelves it was easy to move the furniture around the room and try things out until I got the perfect fit.
Decorate & Make it Feel Like Home
With a clearly defined room, it was time to decorate! Even though I didn’t need to decorate my room before the first day of school, it was important for me to have a colorful room to welcome my students into. Covering my bulletin boards with colorful fabric sheets gave me a blank canvas to fill with anchor charts and posters. My colorful alphabet (from Teachers Pay Teachers) made a big impact on a budget. Hanging some large art pieces like this tapestry and inspirational posters helped the room feel homier.
When walking into a new space it would have been easy to become completely overwhelmed…especially considering I had hopes of creating an “Instagram-Worthy” room right from the start. By following these steps I was able to create a space that was ready for my students. It was comfortable, inviting, and, most importantly, a representation of who I wanted to be as a teacher. My room has changed a lot since these pictures, but I am so happy with where it began!