Updated: May 5, 2020
I know there is much debate over the teacher internet space about creating "instagram worthy" classrooms however, for me this was never the case. I believe that it shouldn't be about what you see over the internet, but should be about what makes you happy as a teacher, and what will set your students up for success. three things I always ask myself before I buy things are: 1. is it necessary? 2. Is it functional? 3. Is it hardy? (aka how long will it last). You want to make sure if you're going to be investing in something for your classroom it falls into at least one of the above questions.
After asking myself those questions you also want to make sure you are getting the best deal on the item you're thinking of nabbing. I ALWAYS do my research to check to make sure it's not cheaper on either Amazon or Etsy. I also check to see if it's something I could probably make myself. 90% of the classroom decor items you see in my classroom are self-made. Picture frames with cute quotes, painted globes, etc. were all made by me to save money. I also like to save up all Amazon, and Target giftcards I get throughout the year for the beginning of the year when I want to start purchasing items. That's honestly how I got a lot of my big furniture items (that, and being in the right place at the right time).
This part might sound funny but a lot of the times I get my inspiration by looking at home decor in magazines or pinterest. There is a reason these spaces are appealing to the eye. Color schemes, textures, and items are always thoughtfully placed and coordinated. I decided this year to add that into my classroom because my husband and I had just bought a house and that's where my head space was! It was literally like an epiphany. The boho modern beach vibe that I was styling my home, would actually make for a beautiful vibe for my new classroom.
For me, I personally find joy in creating a space that embodies a sense of calm, style and happiness. I enjoy finding pieces like those leaves or the macrame banner to create a border that's a little different than what most people might see in a classroom. It excites me to blast my favorite tunes, grab my scissors, x-acto and stapler and "go to town" as our custodian would say, at creating something that makes me happy. So when people comment about how it shouldn't be about the perfect classroom, they are correct. However, I believe it should be about what makes you happy as a teacher.
Also a disclaimer, many of the small pieces all over my room were bought OVER TIME. I wish I had a picture of my room from my first year because let me tell you, It didn't look anything like this. I strongly believe your first year is about figuring out routines, classroom management and curriculum. You are figuring out who you are as a teacher. If anything I would spend a majority of my money on professional development, not your classroom. While it is okay to put up cutesy bulletin boards, it shouldn't be your number one concern.
Hopefully today you learned a little bit about me, and how to create a space that you enjoy. Remember that it isn't always about showcasing how "wonderful" someone's room may be, but about the creative process of making something unique for your future students.
So with that, happy creating!