Today was a great second day at Northcote Primary…it probably wasn’t the most conventional second day of observation but I believe that I was given a unique and invaluable experience nonetheless! Today was moving day and the P/1/2 was moving back into their newly renovated classroom… the students spent the day up where the Year 5/6 kids normally are and my CT, the other team teacher (Dane), the other student intern (Kellie) and myself spent the day moving and organizing the new classroom. When I say moving, I mean we moved everything into the classroom—all of the furniture that was already in there was all moveable so we essentially started from scratch when designed the room (except for a few cupboards that were already attached to the walls)! Now, I don’t know about you but I know that in some of my methods courses we spent some time thinking about and discussing the layout of our future classrooms. Let me tell you, it is one thing to think about how you want to design your room plan and it is another to actually set up a classroom, especially under a time crunch!
When we were first looking at the empty room, I thought about where the tables could go so that all of the children could see the board and have some space. I thought about the way the tables could be located so that there were little work areas on the floor. I thought about the cubby locations and the seating chart…. To be honest though, I didn’t think too much about where to put all the supplies or what supplies should be accessible to the students…
It was also much more hectic than I had imagined because not only did we have to find new places for all the stuff we moved from the old spots, we had to try to make sure that everything was somewhat organized so that the teachers could find all the materials they would need in subsequent days.
My CT is very organized, I reckon she ahs been teaching for over 20 years and it was very easy for her to pick up her half of the room and transfer it over to her new-old room. She had a general idea of what she wanted everything to look like before we started moving and so all of the big things in her classroom were probably done within an hour.
Dane, the P/1 teacher, on the other hand is a first year teacher who is not very organized, to say the least. He was flustered from the start and wasn’t afraid to admit that he was overwhelmed and felt like he had 15 things going at once (probably because he did). He really had no rhyme or reason behind moving his stuff from one room to another, it was more of a “let’s just get it to the new room and then we will sort it out” type of move. In the process, we spent a lot of time throwing things away, looking at all the contents of the bins he had acquired over the year and reorganizing all of his things.
o Dane had at least 3 people helping him throughout the day and it still took about 4 hours to get his room to the same spot that Linda’s was (and it only took her 1 hour). It was a nice real life example of how much it pays off to be organized.
I have to admit though, I did really enjoy helping Dane out because it felt more like what I feel like I will be doing when I am setting up or restructuring my first classroom. In the process of reorganizing, I was able get a look at some of the games and activities that these students do and it was fun to see how different they look (yet covering similar material) to things we do in the states. It was also fun helping Dane organize his classroom because he was much more open to letting us help him design the layout, whereas Linda (my CT) knew how she wanted her classroom to look. It was very interesting to see how different all of our perspectives were, each of us helping Dane was looking at the same space but in totally different ways. This also helped me realize that even though the physical space was similar in both Dane’s half and Linda’s half of the classroom, the way that they use their space is much different and that speaks to their individual teaching styles!