September 5, 2017

For almost thirty years, I spent the day after Labour Day memorizing the names of my new students. I was really good at it. Of course there was always one child who's name wouldn't stick. Often it was a Jason. Not my favourite name. And even more often not my favourite student


. I can say that now I'm retired. But nowadays I can't seem to even remember my own children's phone numbers. I'm old. 


I absolutely loved the week before school started. My classroom was silent and a blank slate of possibility. I approached it in much the same way I do when I move into a new house. It was all about setting a mood and creating a style. I dragged furniture in from the Good Will. I painted bookcases. I'm pretty sure I even had a chandelier hanging in there one year. That was the year I brought French Impressionism to my five and six year old charges. Many of them were Mennonites so French culture was a bit of a stretch. That was also the year my principal sent me home for wearing a slip dress to school. He thought I was wearing lingerie. And so what if I was?


Another year I did a whole unit on babies and hung a clothesline across my classroom with my students' baby clothes hung with vintage clothespins. It looked so awesome. 


Once I created a whole series on building a house. I divided my students into design teams. There was the architect, the landscaper, the interior designer and the project manager. I raided paint stores for paint samples and old wallpaper books. I collected fabric samples and gardening magazines. And then I had the local hardware store deliver an appliance box for each team. I was in heaven and if I'd realized it, I was in the wrong profession. I wanted to be on the design team. 


After they had painted and papered and hung curtains in their houses and created gardens and fences, I had them write up a real estate listing for their property. One house even had a fireplace with flames that moved. I think that one went for the highest price after a bidding war between the grade five and grade six class. The price tag? Two dozen chocolate chip cookies. 


I think if someone put me in front of a classroom now I wouldn't have a clue what to do. Times have changed. There was a creative freedom in teaching back then and I adored it. Today I'd probably get fired. Besides I don't have an alarm clock anymore and I live in my stretchies most of the time. 


It's been years since I've had a classroom to decorate but it is September and I just started a bathroom renovation. It's Parisian inspired. Stay tuned. 






Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
Please reload


October 3, 2017

September 9, 2017

September 5, 2017

August 24, 2017

August 3, 2017

July 20, 2017

July 12, 2017

July 5, 2017

June 18, 2017

June 8, 2017

Please reload


Please reload



© 2017 by Carol McPhee

  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White Instagram Icon