I don’t remember the name of my sixth grade teacher but it was my favorite year in school. As a new student, this could have been scary but I looked forward to every day in our classroom.
This teacher was so creative, there were no disciplinary struggles that I remember. I don’t know if teachers today are permitted to bring in outside furniture but am glad we got to enjoy it back then (1976).
At that time, lockers were in the classroom which prevented hallway disruptions. Classrooms also had their own bathrooms which also prevented unsupervised trouble.
We didn’t use desks. We we were set up by table groups. Each group chose a name. The tables were made from large round wooden cable spools just the right size. Each one had carpet lining around the spool and bottom. Decorative contact paper lined the top surface.
Each group was given their own bulletin board to decorate. We had weekly contests. At Christmas, my table won the citizenship award and our prize was a huge candy cane log. We were given hammers to break it up so we could share it.
I don’t remember any specific lessons but back then we didn’t use iPads or computers. Teachers did the teaching. Today when I substitute teach, the lesson plan usually consists of a note stating the students will log into their iPad and already know what to do. They do it for eight hours. There is no interaction. I assume the day is different when the real teacher is present but the iPad seems to be the go to substitute lesson plan.
I was very shy as a child but once I arrived at my new school, I began to shine. I started winning singing roles, won poster and talent contests, citizenship awards and developing friendships. I volunteered in the special education classroom.
When I read stories of low-income inner-city school challenges, I think that’s where I came from before there was a name for it. I know teachers have to use classroom management but don’t think the answer has to be total silence with perfect students.
With creativity, engagement and student empowerment to be included in creating their environment, the classroom can be a daily adventure to look forward to. Imagine what school could look like if students were excited about it? I guess I better get that certification if I want to put that creativity to use.