Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Positive Learning Spaces & Sharing Spaces

We had an interesting discussion at work today, and it centered around the type of learning environment that is created at our school, both as a whole and within individual classrooms. This conversation was held through the lens of Culturally Responsive Teaching, something we have been reading about and discussing as a staff over the past couple of school years. 

I work with many bright and talented people, who are passionate about what they do, so having these discussions is always pretty good. Today was no exception. Everybody brought their own unique point of view, shared their personal thoughts, and talked about what they think is important in creating a positive learning environment that invites and motivates all students to learn and be involved.

What makes a conversation like this difficult for me is that I don't have a space of "my own" anymore. I am currently in my third year of teaching on a cart. On the whole, I still really enjoy doing what I'm doing. My students still really do a great job of being engaged and passionate about the work we are doing, and the movement, variety, and adapting to new environments keeps me fresh.

The hard part, however, is that I do feel as though my students miss out on some of the benefits of coming to a classroom that can really be unique to my grade level and content area; that can be built up into a very language and image-rich classroom over the course of the school year. My colleagues who share "their" rooms with me do a tremendous job of sharing their space, making things available, and giving me the room I need to teach on a daily basis. That said, it is tricky to take a 9th grade Physics room and transform it into a language-rich 6th grade Language Arts room!

Something that would be very cool is to get to a point where maybe I'm not going to so many different rooms, but rather just a couple different rooms that are devoted to 6th grade Reading/Language Arts that a few teachers share throughout the day, almost like a department area that students can associate with reading, writing, media, and creativity! Perhaps as our school continues to grow and go through changes over time, something like this can happen. For now, I'll keep grinding it out.

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