Picture this: you are walking down a long hallway. Dark mahogany wood floors and white walls make the hallway almost seem like a tunnel that lead to an open room. This room is large. High vaulted ceilings are lined with exposed wooden beams. There is a beautiful Persian rug on the floor, in the center of the room where an L-shaped couch is posted. It looks comfortable and inviting. Burnt-orange and teal colored pillows accent the couch. The space is just right for an afternoon of reading that may lead to a nap. It has two large French doors standing opposite of one another. The doors are open allowing beautiful sheer curtains to flow in the gentle breeze. You listen and find a tiny, magical wind chime making music and bringing a calming feeling to the space.
Why is this space so inviting? Why do you want to stay there?
Let’s apply this to the classroom environment. Teachers try to create a space that is full of comfort, functionality, and happiness. We all want our students to feel comfortable as they spend the majority of their day at school – their home away from home. The space should be a place to work as well as a comfortable space to learn and grow heads and hearts. We want students to want to come to school. We want them to get a fire in their bellies that burns with a desire to learn, an excitement about their education.
Of course the classroom is not limited to that room. No, in fact, it is the very beginning. Think back to those beautiful French doors. They are open with the breeze coming into the room. If the radio were on, music would go out beyond the walls. The mindset of the classroom is quite literal. Yes, learning happens within the four walls, but there is so much more beyond those walls. Teachers, we are called to let the breeze in and send the music out. We get the privilege of embarking on a school year that can involve the community, the whole district, the world.
Let me ask you one last question.
What do you hope to happen inside your room? What might happen if we open those doors?
Mena T. Hill
Educator, Wife, Mother, Colorado Native