Friday, January 11, 2013

My Dream Classroom

Starting off with a reminder: I'm a writing teacher at a school in the Middle East. I teach writing full time, to about 200 students. (But only 20 at a time).

There's been some changes at my school recently. I could bore you with all the set up of what our (K-12) school is like, but I don't want to be boring :)

Some of our classrooms are becoming empty for next year-actually, almost a whole floor is emptying out. And I've been offered the chance to move into a new classroom. My current classroom is nice. I like it, but it is small.  Actually, it's too small to have my grade 7s in it because they take up too much space.

So I was offered a new room.

Not just any new room. The best room. I'm pretty sure it's the biggest room in the entire school. It has a Smart Board, a projector, and basically enough space for me to put all my students in one area, and still have another area to do something else with (I have no idea what though!)

I've also been told to order anything I want for the room.

I get to plan my dream classroom.

And that's where my problem starts.

I have never thought about what my dream classroom would look like. I really have always just taken what was there and been happy with it. Even when what was there were crappy blue chairs (no joke, when my principal came and talked to me she said, "But when you move, you're not taking those ugly blue chairs with you."

Basically, I get the chance to start over. To completely rebuild my room.

But I have to do it by Sunday.

Crap. Talk about a quick turnaround.

I basically have the weekend to decide how to make my perfect writing room (for 20 of my students, of course).

And I just have no idea where to start.

Round tables or desks?
Bean bag chairs? Comfy chairs? (which would go in the extra space, and have to have a schedule or something)
What to put on the walls?
What about the floors?

I have no idea where to start.

So I wanted to ask all of you writers. What does your perfect writing space feel like? What does it involve? How do you feel comfortable and inspired?

Any suggestions for me? I'd love to have them to help build my dream classroom.


  1. Wow, lucky you! I used to be a teacher (in the US), but I never got to start from scratch like that!

    As you teach writing, I'd definitely designate a large area to display students' work. Wall space is an obvious (and good!) choice here, but there are other creative ways. I vaguely remember one of my teachers stringing clotheslines across the classroom and having us print out two copies of our one- or two-page assignments, taping them together, and hanging them over the line so they were suspended over our heads. (This school had high ceilings, of course!)

  2. I can see why you suddenly feel you have no idea what to do - so many possibilities, it's almost too much!

    I would definitely say that having round tables only is not a good idea in the long run. Students have to crane their necks at odd angles to see you, and they can get a bit too social for their own good.
    Walls: books (if not books themselves, book covers are inspirational - you can add all your favourites, of course!), quotes, and then students' work on display (quotes, passages, something that can stand out in different colours, perhaps?). Illustrations to go with their stories, they can make them or find them once stories are written.

    I see my suggestions are more from the perspective of a teacher than a writer, perhaps, since your school writing space is supposed to fill some pedagogical purposes beside the creative:-)