This year I am privileged to have the same classroom for all my lessons. This goes in conjunction with going mobile, meaning I have no fixed location for a desk. I mainly work when I’m off class in The Hub, a large teachers’ lounge but can escape to a ‘cave’ space when I need to work in a particularly quiet location. My filing cabinet, full of resources, are in my classroom and I have a mobile unit in The Hub.
We are gradually changing the names of the classrooms around the school. Some have the names of the local beaches, Science rooms are named after the tallest mountains in the world and Art rooms are named after famous art galleries. We’re going to call my room The Exchange, partly due to the amount of Economics, Business Studies and Commerce that is taught there, but also because it is a place to exchange ideas.
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw
“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” H L Hunt
“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney
“The public interest is best served by the free exchange of ideas.” John Kane
Next door is a room used for Textiles and Design and Food Technology. It will be called The Mint, to match The Exchange but also because it is a colour, a food and a condition.
A few years ago The Exchange was a crowded computer room, frequently used as a thoroughfare by the teachers from the staffroom connected to it. Now the computers have been moved to the edge of the room and lovely new couches and tables put in the middle, ideal for my boardroom sessions in Business Studies classes. There is also a large bookshelf of HSIE resources, very handy for students who ‘forget’ their textbooks and for consulting a wide variety of texts easily and spontaneously. It has been interesting to see the arguments over which textbooks the students consider to be the best. Some think the more words the better, others think clear succinct writing is more suitable. It goes to show when we choose textbooks for our classes that it is always a compromise. With the new Business Studies syllabus this year I am attempting to not use any single textbook more than 10% to comply with CAL and not have to require students to purchase a particular text. Business Studies lends itself to this because there a numerous textbooks, due to its popularity, and some fantastic Internet resources. It is also a subject containing a lot of common sense that just needs to be tailored to the syllabus, thus the board room sessions to sort out what is already known. Economics students use the couches and tables as if they were the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to solve the economic issues in the world.
The Exchange isn’t perfect. It is blessed with air-conditioning but it drips atrociously so a towel is kept in the room to soak it up. It is also currently used as a storage area for a class set of new computers to go to another room. It will be nice when they find their home. The vertical blinds for the windows had deteriorated to the extent they have been removed and I am anxious for their replacement. Sunlight also streams through the skylights making it difficult to view anything shown through the data projector.
I love my classroom and the opportunities it provides but I would love to know how YOU would use it. Please post your ideas here.