I know blog posts are more interesting with photos, and I will have many to share here, but right now the only classroom photos I have are ones where literally everything in the room is pushed off to the side for the carpet to be cleaned. So........not very interesting. But.........the carpet is getting cleaned today and tomorrow. So when I go back on Monday, I will get to start arranging everything and I am VERY excited about that!!
A few initial thoughts about my new teaching gig..........
First, it will be a lot different than teaching in a private Montessori school. In my last teaching job, I had full autonomy over everything and was blessed with a HUGE classroom which had 2 bathrooms right in the room, a kitchenette with storage, a foyer for coats/backpacks, an office for me and another storage room just for me. Yes, I was very spoiled, and I knew it and appreciate it at the time. I'll also note that I was teaching in a room that had been designed specifically to be a preschool classroom. So, that explains all the bells and whistles. Contrast that with my new placement which is in a public school classroom. The school is about 50 years old, so kind of short on square footage as well as storage space. BUT........I am going to make it work and it will be fabulous. I have so many ideas spinning in my mind.
Second, probably because of my Montessori background as well as inspiration I've gleaned online from looking at Reggio Emilia classrooms, I have a very specific aesthetic for how I believe environments for children should be prepared. And it is quite a bit different than the way many classrooms for young children are arranged. In the college class I'm taking, I am actually doing my final project about classroom design, materials selection, etc. I will try to share that project here on the blog in some way. I know there are others out there who believe, like I do, that young children deserve and can appreciate a room that is beautifully prepared and (hopefully) devoid of the bold primary colors and icky plastic toys that are so common in early childhood settings. I admit, I am kind of a snob about this (i.e. very picky about what I want in my classroom), but I will find research to support my beliefs because I know they are supported by best practice research.
Third, it will be different teaching in a setting that is a.) not Montessori and b.) part of a public school district. Mostly, I am going to look at this as a positive thing. Yes, I love my Montessori. However, I am honestly looking forward to being able to have a housekeeping/dramatic play area as well as a block area. I am looking forward to being less rigid about how materials are used than I felt I could be in a Montessori classroom. Also, I think being part of a larger entity will be nice in terms of connecting with other teachers. I think I am one of 12 ECSE (early childhood special education) teachers in my district. So I am already excited about team meetings. (I know that is kind of geeky, but I really am!!) The one possible disadvantage of being part of a public school is that I don't have as much freedom in setting up the classroom as I did before. But I'm really looking forward to the support I will be able to get from my colleagues, both other classroom teachers and district administrators.
So, overall, I am REALLY REALLY excited to start getting my classroom ready. I have so many ideas that I will share here over the summer. And when I meet my little ones in August, I will have a TON to share. I hope you will stay tuned with me!!