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My New Classroom

I’m teaching Kindergarten next year!  Woohoo!

Just a recap of my last six months (in a nutshell)…

1.  My husband is a principal and his Kindergarten teacher resigned in January.

2.  I ended up taking over for the rest of the year as the long term sub.

3.  I decided that I wanted to stay and applied for the Kindergarten position.

4.  I went through a long interview process.

5.  I got the job! (By the way, in case you are wondering, my husband was not part of the interview committee.)

If you are new to Schoolgirl Style, I wrote a post about taking the Kindergarten position and the details leading up to it.  If you don’t know the story, you can read about it HERE:

CLICK here to read post!

When I took the position in February, I had one weekend to pull this classroom together…that’s it.   It was one of my biggest challenges yet!  I actually think I did a nice job creating a welcoming environment for my students, however, I struggled with the organizational end of it.  I didn’t have time to make sure the classroom functioned properly.  If someone doesn’t understand the concept behind Schoolgirl Style, this was the perfect example of why teachers need to care about their learning environment!  The classroom setup is the THE most important part of teaching.  You can’t teach without an organized and functional space!  This was something I just couldn’t accomplish in my short weekend.  UGH.  It was hard.

 I was dying to make changes, however,  I was consumed with the curriculum and didn’t have the time to go back and tweek the areas that drove me crazy.  This was the hardest part about taking this position in the middle of the school year.   I have never worked so hard in my life…I had so much to cover in such a short amount of time.   Taking this position meant that everything else in my life was on the backburner (especially my new house…we abandoned all projects and decorating for months…and even the laundry!  haha!).

Here is the AFTER picture of my 2-day decorating frenzy!  It was the best I could do, folks!

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After I took the position, every weekend was spent planning for the upcoming week.  I would gather the family and we would all hang out at school in order for me to prepare for the week ahead.  Luckily, my girls LOVED doing that.  Having the classroom to themselves was like a dream come true!  They played school for hours and believe it or not, they had the time of their lives!  My hubby was busy in the office working on school stuff, while I kept busy in my new classroom.  We were able to get our work done AND be together at the same time.  It was our very unconventional “family time,” but it worked for us.

 Despite some of the minor sacrifices that I made in order to take the position, I could see that this job really fit into my life well.  I was with my family every single day…that alone was PRICELESS!  The Schoolgirl Style Shop was right down the street from the school.  If my employees at the shop needed me for anything, I could stop by and answer questions on my lunch hour.  My employees were also known to drop off a Diet Coke at school for me every now and then, which was AWESOME!  Thank you, girls!   I even had the most super, fantastic aide in my classroom that made my job a lot easier and so much fun!

 I felt so lucky to be in that position and knew that I couldn’t give it up.

To be completely honest though, I think everyone around me thought I was nuts.  I know that some people couldn’t understand why I would wanted to go back to teaching.  Why would I add another stress to my life?   I know that some of you were even concerned that I would abandon Schoolgirl Style if I made the decision to go back.  Truth is,  I want to continue Schoolgirl Style and have crazy dreams of making it bigger and better!!!  There has never been a doubt in my mind that I couldn’t do BOTH jobs.  I love to teach as much as I love Schoolgirl Style!  I think I knew in the beginning that I wanted to stay.  I had felt that pull to go back from the moment I left teaching.

Needless to say, I am ecstatic about my new position and can’t wait to get started!  I plan to spend the summer working on my new room(s)!  There is no way that I can function in that classroom like I did this last year.  I am on a mission to make it organized, functional, and an amazing learning environment for my new, sweet Kindergarten students!

Here are more pictures of my classroom.  You can see the space better from the different angles…

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I plan to paint the blue wall a neutral white, change some bulletin boards around to make it more functional for my students, cover the long shelves with some pretty fabric, and give the entire room a complete makeover.

The SECOND classroom!

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, I recently showed you a picture of my SECOND classroom.  That’s right…I have TWO rooms!  Yes, I know I’m pretty lucky.  Before me, it was a “catch all” room.  It was filled with hand-me-down toys and the closets were filled with items that looked like it had been there from the 1960’s.  It was too big of a job for me !o tackle this winter, so I knew that once the children left for the summer, I had to clear out that space!  It has great bones and AMAZING windows! Here is what it looks like…

*WARNING…it is NOT pretty.

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I spent an entire week cleaning out this room!  I removed the brown contact paper off the chalkboard (I plan to paint it black with chalk paint), I cleaned out the art cupboard and cleaned off the sink area (I don’t EVEN want to tell you what I found in the heaping pile of junk on the counter.  Just know…it was gross.  VERY gross).  I cleaned out the closets and organized all of the materials.  Then, I hauled out all of the junk.

Here’s the hallway….

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Several nice people came and picked it all up, then we sold it at our church rummage sale.  All of the proceeds went back to the school.

I really want this room to be developmentally appropriate for my students.  I don’t want “toys” in the room, instead I would like to see it become more purposeful and educational.  I want to create an environment that includes every area a young child needs to thrive.  I plan to create an amazing Dramatic Play area, as well as the follwing Centers:  Math, Science, Listening, Reading, Art, Block/Building, and an ABC Center.

I have a HUGE job ahead of me…YIKES!

Stay tuned…lots of fun stuff planned for these two spaces!  I will be sure to let you know when they are finished!

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Comments

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Oh, funny! Sorry, Miss Rachel…the blue has to go! It’s not my favorite color. In person, it has an “electric blue” feel. Not crazy about it. :):):)

  1. Kris Burdick says

    I am dying to see what you end up doing with your space. I am moving from a school that I helped open to a school that is 43 years old. I love your Bug Collection and used it at my last school and created a kinder’garden’. I have a white park bench and this next week I will be making a bookshelf that looks like a tree. I am really struggling with dramatic play, so I am hoping to get creative ideas from you. Hang in there with your projects I am sure it will be amazing!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      I LOVE my bugs! I want to do that collection so so bad…it would be perfect with my primary colored tiles on the floor and all of my existing furniture, however, I know it’s a great opportunity to come up with something new for 2016. 🙂 I will do my best to inspire you with my new dramatic play area!:)

  2. Jean says

    My daughter LOVES spending time in my room too. She creates her own little classroom using my reading buddy stuffed animals and has made her own posters and classroom management system even! (She is 5!) I think I have a 3rd generation teacher on my hands and I am thrilled! 🙂 Can’t wait to see what your spaces look like! BTW SO jealous of that! My room looks like a closet compared to that! 🙂
    Jean
    Diving Into 2nd Grade

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Oh, I LOVE it! I have a 5 year old too! My husband and I always comment about how our girls will probably end up being teachers too!:) Of course, they can do whatever they want, but they remind me of myself when I was at that age. It’s so much fun to watch!

  3. Nicole Todd says

    Will you still have 2 rooms when you are through? How are you going to use each room?

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Yes! I have an aide, so we typically split up at different parts of the day… I’ll take a group in one room, then she’ll take a group in the other…it’s so nice. I also use it during Guided Reading…all of the centers are set up in the other room, so I can take a group and the rest of the children are working in the 2nd room and supervised by the aide as they rotate through their centers. It’s perfect for keeping the noise level down!

  4. Megan says

    Your situation is very similar to mine this year! I am returning to teaching first grade after a little over 8 years away as a stay-at-home mom, and my husband is my principal. I will be teaching in a Christian school in Clinton Twp., Michigan. I have spent the summer cleaning out, organizing, and decorating my classroom, and my kids have spent a lot of time in my classroom with me as well. I am enjoying the peeks you have given of your classroom(s), and am looking forward to seeing what you do with them!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Oh my goodness! We have similar lives…and we are neighbors!:) Thanks so much for messaging me, Megan! Have a great school year!

  5. Ashleigh Burry says

    I can’t wait to see what you do with these spaces! I just know it will be fantastic. They are lucky to have you.

  6. Jess says

    I love your family time, we do the same, however my husband helps me with projects and my 3 girls play school! I think balance is key, and let that laundry go! Buy more socks for the drawers and it will all be fine!!!!
    Good luck! You will be great!

  7. Marlyne Jaramillo says

    Reading your blog gives me hope. This year I moved to another classroom, however, I now will only have about three days to get my classroom together because contractors have been renovating our air conditioning and heater system. Teachers won’t be able to get into the building until three days before school starts. This has me super stressed!!

  8. Joceline says

    Wow you have a busy life! I understand some of what you are going through. I have to move from the science lab to another classroom but campus won’t be open until Aug 3 and we officially report back to work to start the school year on Aug 10. Kids start on Aug 13. I haven’t taught this grade (1st) in more than 10 years so I spent most of the summer buying materials and learning about first grade again online.
    I was just thinking how great it would be if School Girl Style offered a service where you come into a classroom and help set it up and decorate it for a fee plus materials. It would be worth it given that I have such a short timeline to set up my room. I have been dreaming of the Watercolor Flamingos.
    Your experiences in the classroom will probably help you come up with even more amazing ideas for SGS. You have a gift for making a classroom look like a dream.

  9. kathy says

    I am beginning my 35th year teaching and I am as excited as my pre-k students!!!! I work with at-risk students in an elementary school with 60% free and reduced lunch, all of my students qualify by being on free lunch. I have many family activities and feel like that is why my classroom is so successful. I love art and and we have wonderful art projects everyday.Process is more important than product but I art always is beautiful! I noticed your computers and would love to be virtual pen-pals with your class. We start phase-in on Aug 13th and will begin class with all 20 students on Aug. 27th. Good luck this year and I feel you can do many things well….I repurpose and paint vintage furniture and have a very successful antique booth. All things are possible with a positive attitude!

  10. Rebecca Armstrong says

    I Saw the pictures of your new room after it was set up. Where did you find the resources for the community workers kids? The ones that are hanging up?

  11. Molly says

    I am so excited that you are moving to Kindergarten! I have taught kindergarten for almost 20 years, but am always looking for new ideas! I can’t wait to see your dramatic play area and the set up of your whole room! We don’t start until after Labor Day in New York so I will have time!!! Thanks for all your great inspiration!

  12. Sharon Laramie says

    If you are going to paint the chalkboard black, why don’t you first paint it with magnetic paint. It might take a couple of coats but well worth the effort. Then paint over it. I loved when they were going to paint my classroom, I put magnetic paint on the wall in stategic places. The painters came in and jut painted over it. I could remove posters and things a lot easier just by having magnets on the back. Just a suggestion.

    I have been teaching first grade most of my career (24 years) This will be my first time teaching kindergarten and at a different school than last year. Looking forward to lots of exciting things!!

  13. Stephanie Brecheisen says

    I love your website. I am a 4th grade teacher at a Catholic school in Arizona. You have provided such inspiration for my classroom. I used your paisley, turquoise, blue and green collection. Every student as well as parent comments on the feeling they get when they walk into the room.

    Have you ever considered decorating ideas that tied into Virtues or some type of faith based decorations?

    Thank you for your amazing ideas!

    Stephanie