This blog began as a way to reflect on teaching. Teaching was my everything. It made me come alive, it made me feel like I was valuable. It made me feel like my life mattered.
I am a teacher.
Through and through. For better or worse. Just not today, or this year, or maybe not even next year. Right now my classroom is in my own house (but really, all my classroom decor is in Asher’s playroom) and my student is the most important one (to me) that I’ve ever taught. Today I’m “simply” a stay at home mom, but let me take you back to when being a teacher was all I knew. One year, all I wanted for my birthday was a new teacher desk that I could paint so my husband found one on Craigslist and I got his undivided attention to finish it!
I thrived on new classroom ideas and I used to pour my heart and soul into it- even to my own detriment. I used to stay up late to find the latest and greatest thing I could try in my classroom. Pinterest was alive and well when I started teaching so I knew a teaching world where the Pinterest-worthy classroom wasn’t something you hoped and dreamt of. I know this isn’t anything new to any of you. Everyone is obsessed with making their classrooms the best space ever- because if you are reading this- you are an AMAZING teacher who cares enough to spend the time.
My last two years I finally got to create my Pinterest classroom. I taught in a small private school and although we did have a classroom fund, there wasn’t thousands of extra dollars lying around. Wouldn’t that be every teacher’s dream?! I knew that it was going to take money to flip the classroom into what I WANTED it to be. I loved coming to work in this beautiful space. When days were tough, the kids were crazy, I could look around and feel proud of how much effort I put into this classroom.
There’s a wave of negative views on classroom aesthetics and I’m not sure why. Why can’t a teacher make her second home a place that feels like home? If you have those kind of negative comments- keep them to yourself!
You can find lots of blog posts about flexible seating done cheaply, but to be honest with you- this isn’t one of them. I did look for the best deals I could, I scoured Craigslist and I found stuff on Amazon for great deals – which I’ll link to, but this isn’t the “do it under $200” post.
These peanut chairs are a kid favorite! Only $18.99 here!
Black and white pillow covers Only $8.99 for two HERE!
I was doing my Masters in Literacy and I wanted my ending project to be about flexible seating and how it relates to focus in the classroom. The results from my year-long study BLEW my professors away and I’m a FIRM believer in flexible seating and the change it can have on the entire classroom environment. I even got to go teach a college class at my Alma Mater on flexible seating. In my next life, I’ll be a college professor!! I launched a GO FUND ME in order to fund my dream and because of the generosity of friends, family and Instagram strangers (who actually are my BFF’S- ), it came to life. I spent roughly $1700 to purchase new chairs, tables, and decor to make this come to life!
And I have to mention I solicited free manual labor from my husband who whipped up this loft for me! Sadly I couldn’t take it with me so my old classroom is still reaping the benefits of this labor-intensive project! //All the heart eyes!\\
Here are a few ideas on how you can make your classroom dream come to fruition:
- Go through your classroom and sell stuff that’s collecting dust. Keep the money in a jar.
- Write to your parents (if your school/district allows) and explain that you’re hoping to get a couple new chairs or lap desks. You can just start there. It can slowly be transformed.
- Have a classroom bake sale! A teacher at my old school does a market after school and sells random items like Top Ramen, candy and fruit to other students. You could keep that money and save it to spend on new items.
- Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook Marketplace and on Craigslist for items you can use in your classroom!
- IKEA. Most of the things in this classroom are from IKEA. Amazon and IKEA were my go-to places.
- Make a classroom vision board and slowly accumulate pieces you’d like to have or ask for them for your birthday or Christmas. (Actually, as I type that I think that seems like a terrible idea- you need a massage- not classroom items- scratch that idea!)
You can create your dream classroom too. It took me years to finally get my classroom where I wanted it to be (and then I quit lol) and you can too. It may take time, and it might be frowned upon by fellow teachers- but you do you, boo.