Reflections on My Classroom – Is it Inspiring?

Now, let’s get real.  Just because I host a website and blog called The Inspired Classroom, doesn’t mean I’m the best teacher in the world or have the most inspired classroom.  I try – hard, but I’m far from perfect.

There are days when we all (teachers and students) are being pulled in many directions, schedules are interrupted, things are going on at home, paperwork is piling up, you know what I’m talking about, right?

But that doesn’t mean I don’t try to have an inspiring classroom for my students.

I believe an Inspired Classroom is based on two things: the teacher and the room.  I’ll start with my room.

My Classroom

A couple of years ago I posted a video tour of my room not as a model room, but actually as an invitation for another teacher to help me redesign it: furniture placement, student configurations, material organization, the whole works and just about anything!  (I’m happy to say that in the next weeks, we will have some guest bloggers share some good things they do in their rooms.)  So, hesitantly, I share this video with you.

My room can seem less than inspiring at times.  Some things have changed since the uploading of that video. For example, I have gotten rid of my teacher desk in order to make more room. Other things have stayed the same.  The cubbies seem to be overflowing with … stuff, and we have few places to hang posters or student work. I often feel like my students and I are walking around an obstacle course with all furniture and our meeting area is too small to sit our class of 22 (which is a small size class in our school.)

I work in an open concept classroom which has its positives and negatives. We hear EVERYTHING that goes on around us which is a challenge.  However, I like the openness because it does promote collegiality and easy collaboration among teachers and students.

Have any ideas for me? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

Me – The Teacher

I’d like to think I am a good teacher for my students.  I aspire to be positive, motivating, excited about learning and energetic about teaching.  I always want to be accepting of all students’ talents and abilities and want to work hard to reach them all where they are at, as well as challenge them.  I like to push kids to work further than their potential, to struggle a little bit and feel uncomfortable in order to grow.

I’ve always preached that part of being a great arts integration teacher is cultivating an atmosphere that accepts, acknowledges and encourages art in all forms.  That’s where I think my strength is.  I love to expose my students to all kinds of music and art through appreciation and creation.  We move, act, listen and create throughout the day and all year round.  My roots lay in music and I have been listening to music with my students ever since I started student teaching.  Without fail, I always have parents comment on how inspired their children are by the music we listen to and the added knowledge my students come away with through our listening experiences.

What’s it really all about?

What really makes your classroom inspiring?  Is it the lesson plans you use?  The philosophy you have?  Your attitude toward your job?  The furniture you choose?

We really want to hear from you!

In the next weeks I hope to bring you some great posts from guest teachers who have had some success creating great, inspiring atmospheres and inspiring teaching moments.  (If you are interested in writing something, please just let me know!)

Be inspiring!

~EMP

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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