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March 31, 2017 / sharoncopy

A tidy classroom

Yesterday I subbed in THE tidiest classroom I have ever seen in nearly 3 years of being a substitute teacher. Mr. B (no relation) had tall resin shelving with neatly label bins in two corners of his room. All of the work I needed for the day was in neat piles on a very long counter that was otherwise empty (except for when students sat up there to work together later) and I was able to work from his actual lesson planner on the desk. Everything I needed was easy to find. The kids said that he is OCD and that if someone moves a bin over an inch or two, he will move it back. All of the posters were hung in a pleasant manner. Not only was I more able to do my job well, I felt peaceful just being in the room because it wasn’t all cluttered with tons of papers and junk. Even the insides of the cupboards were neat (I looked). 🙂  I would think that this atmosphere affects the behavior of the students, and certainly affects the level of neatness that he expects from them.

Another classroom I was in last week had all the kids’ desks facing inward – so that they could not use the opening to store anything. Instead, the teacher keeps all their folders and such on a counter and hands them out, collects them, hands them out again. Apparently she grew tired of kids making disastrous messes of them, or as an aide said to me, “We looked in one student’s desk and found stuff from 3 months earlier!”    Here’s a clue: kids do not automatically know how to keep their area neat, nor will they do it if not persuaded. WHY did they wait 3 months to look inside the desks? I think that teaching a student HOW EXACTLY to keep his stuff in order is critical to lifelong learning, and just yelling at him to do it isn’t sufficient – there has to be a plan, a checking point, and a reward or a lack of reward.

I’m noticing that the teachers feel that there is SO much they are required to cover each year that they cannot gear the curriculum to where their actual students are at.  THIS is not learning. THIS is fake learning.

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