I spend more than 40 hours a week in this room. I know all its idiosyncrasies: the section of wall that’s too textured for chart paper to stick, that spot where the air conditioner blows extra forcefully so if you put papers there they will all fly away, the door that doesn’t close all the way when its humid.
I never loved this room. I didn’t even really like it. It has windows, but the layout is awkward. It’s small. One of the smallest classrooms in the building. There isn’t enough space for all my bookshelves. One wall still has a chalkboard on it. Half the built-in shelves are broken. If I’m being honest, I’ve spent a lot of time resenting this room.
But this room has been my partner. Together we’ve created a space for vulnerability, for structure, for routines, for taking risks, for collaboration, for safety. I don’t know how to do all that on my own.
Today, as I stand here alone, the halls devoid of squeaking shoes and slamming locker doors, I try to figure out how I can bring this room home with me. How can I help my students feel seen and safe and loved when they won’t walk in this room for over a month? Will these flipchart markers help? Highlighters in every color? I pack up a little bit of everything, just in case.
Weighed with several bags, I shuffle into the hall. I leave the door open on my way out.