Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm a Low-Key Teacher

Maybe it's because I'm a new teacher and don't have a lot of stuff. Maybe it's because, as a new teacher, I spend all my energy on instructional stuff. Maybe it's because I'm a guy. Maybe it's because I'm a middle-aged guy. Whatever the reason, I just don't do a lot of "cute" stuff.

I don't do a lot of decorating. My bulletin boards are covered with brown paper or black fabric (and the black fabric was there when I showed up). On the boards are photos of the kids, work by the kids, or "musts" (our weekly goals, the calendar, etc.). I do have posters on the wall but mostly of those are things that we've generated...or things that I put up at the beginning of the year so the walls wouldn't be bare. Decorating is exhausting for me. I tinker to try to get things just right - and everything takes longer than it should.

I'm okay with being the low-key, not very decorated, classroom and teacher. But sometimes I worry when I look at what other teachers have. Their rooms are covered with all kinds of stuff. (Most are 15+ year veterans.) Their celebrations, even ones they label as low-key, seem elaborate and sometimes even have tablecloths and decorations from the ceiling.

At our 100 day celebration, my door looked like this.

Here's a close up.

It had 80 100s at the beginning of the day. The (20) kids each decorated a 100 and added it to the door so we would have 100. That's all the decor I had. We did some fun things with 100 - counting and stuff. But not much cute decor or games or food. Just low-key.

The room next door? A 100-banner to walk through. Signs hanging in the hall that read "100 days smarter!" (Of course, she has a room mom that handles stuff like that. I don't.)

As I look at other first grade blogs (and browse Teachers Pay Teachers), I see lots of cute things. All the handouts or activity sheets or whatever have great clip art on them. I use some of the cute freebies I find online. But when I make sheets, usually there are only words, numbers, and blanks. Not a lot of cute.

Is that a problem? I worry about it when I see what other kids carry from their rooms. And what other teachers put in their rooms. Maybe I'm not doing enough. Maybe I need to be more like them to be a "good" teacher. (But, deep down, I think it's okay.)

My kids? Well, at each celebration we've had, I have heard a version of "This is the best day ever!" I guess low-key is okay after all.


  1. :-) low key sounds very good to me!

  2. I think this is great! I've been in some early elementary (K-2) classrooms that are an assault on the senses--way too over-cute-i-fied, in my humble opinion. Low key makes sense to me.

  3. Low key is perfect! In my opinion, you shouldn't have too much distracting " wallpaper" on the walls -- unless the kids have generated it themselves. Posters and too much store bought decoration isn't relevant and means very little to the children. Keep up the great work!

  4. This cracked me up! I guess I'm a "cute" teacher. But I try not to over do it. I bet your classroom is exactly what it should be! :)