Why Teachers Should Not Feel Guilty About An Ugly Classroom

A Letter To Social Media

Social media, you’ve done it again. Somehow you have taken a brilliant way to connect and share ideas, and turned it into a guilt-fest. There is a never ending feed of beautiful crafty teachers, who spend hours on the tiniest details, and their own money on beautiful furniture for the classroom. These pictures show the teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty. And why not? Those cute pictures are rewarded on social media like candy. We all want it, but only a few of us can actually make healthy choices with all the options in front of us. Social media, we love you. We hate you. We can’t get enough of you.

Why Teachers and Parents Should Avoid Comparisons

Just to be clear, there is definitely nothing wrong with a beautiful classroom. Actually a beautiful classroom can make teaching much more enjoyable. However, for many teachers, this is not a realistic option. Due to money, lack of time, or lack of space, teachers do not always have the opportunity to make their classroom have a very specific culture.

However, we know from happiness research, comparing your own situation to another teacher’s is a sure fire way to not be happy. Take a look at my previous article on How to Increase Happiness While Teaching to read more on happiness research.

Additionally, I have taught in 100 year old buildings, large beautiful buildings, rooms the size of closets, and poor tiny schools with two grade levels in one classroom. I promise you that student success is not affected by how beautiful or inviting a classroom is from the outside. The teacher sets the tone and relationship with the students.

How to Avoid Comparing Ourselves To Others

When we use social media as a tool for ideas, rather than a comparison of how far we are from gorgeous classroom pictures, we can cultivate a more positive mindset.

A Comparison Mindset Says:

“My room will never look like that.”

“My students are missing out.”

“I am not a great teacher.”

“My child will have more fun with that other teacher because she puts more time into her classroom.”

A Positive Mindset Says:

“I am okay using my time to do other things.”

“I can pick one or two things to change about my room this year.”

“My students will learn because I am a great teacher.”

“My child’s education is not dependent on a fun room.”

Sometimes it is important to take a break from social media in order redirect our thoughts to a “tool” and “positive” mindset. If you continue to struggle, try posting a positive sentence near your computer or phone. When you get sucked into too much comparison, stop and say that phrase to yourself.

What Really Matters

This article is not meant to bash teachers who spend time making their classrooms a super groovy space to learn. However, remember that out of the box learning and thinking can happen with very little extra classroom work.

Teachers, you are awesome. You are important. You matter. Whether you are “chic-est” teacher around, or just making your kidney table in a closet work, you make a serious difference. Cheers!

5 thoughts on “Why Teachers Should Not Feel Guilty About An Ugly Classroom

  1. Norah says:

    I totally agree. I think it’s more important to leave space for children to take some ownership of the room and to create a sense of belonging – it’s their room too, not just their teacher’s.

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