very over whelmed

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by brandi0718, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    i am a first year teacher teaching 1st grade and school will start in a little over a week. i have been working very hard in my classroom, but nothing seems to be going right. i am not a very crafty person. i can come up with ideas, but they just don't work out. my room is not going to have a theme this year...is this ok? i have not been able to see other classrooms at the school to see how they are set up so i don't know if everyone else is going to have a theme. i am hoping everything is going to come together, but it seems like as soon as i get something up..my husband or mom will be like...well i don;t like that.....and then i have to start all over. i dont want my room to be ugly. :unsure:
     
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  3. Schuyler

    Schuyler Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    I'm also a new teacher and will be starting in first grade. I started out wanting a theme, and then I realized that there are so many other things I want to spend my time and money on as a new teacher. So I'm not doing a theme, but I did pick a color scheme (blue and light yellow), to help me pick things out and to make the room come together a bit. Honestly, I think there are a lot of teachers in a lot of schools who don't do themes at all. I don't know if I've ever been in a classroom with a theme. That is not to knock the idea of doing themes - I'd like to maybe try one in the future. I just decided that it was not something I wanted to do in my first year. Good luck - it sounds like you have put a lot of thought into your room and I'm sure it will be great. Most important is having procedures down pat, and a grasp on the curriculum.
     
  4. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jul 25, 2007

    ok, kick your husband and mom out pronto and thank them for the help. they aren't going to be in your classroom everyday are they? No, you are. YOU have to look at the walls all day for 180 days. Put things up where you like them. If you change your mind later, you can move it.
    You can trace right? Here's what you do, get a pattern of something you want to make. Example: a piggy bank cut out for your calendar center to demonstrate money. Copy it onto a transparency. Use the overhead to project the pattern onto a pink posterboard. Adjust it until you have the size you want. Trace pattern onto board. Cut out, laminate and bam - you've made something.
    But don't feel obligated to make things. this is your first year and your priority should be on teaching those kids and learning as much as you can. Go to the dollar tree and get a few cute posters and things to hang up. Thats all you need. Then when your kids are producing work use that to decorate with instead.
     
  5. yclark

    yclark Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    Themes are not the point. They do make for some additional fun but you need to focus on curriculum, organization and procedure. Get things set up. You can worry about themes later.

    Good luck to you both. I teach first grade and love it.
     
  6. pamms

    pamms Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    Some teachers let the kids vote on a theme/mascot, so if you want one you could add that later. Be sure to leave some blank walls for the kids to fill with stuff when school starts. Keep it simple for now...don't listen to others...unless THEY want to completely redo it for you ;-)
     
  7. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    Jul 25, 2007

    Start simple. You will fill your room with the right things over the next few years. Just work on lesson plans and keep your room as organized as you can. I just got back from a workshop that says you should fill your walls with kid's work and ideas they generate and that is the best thing you can put up to help them learn.
    Also - Treat yourself to a frozen drink and sit by a pool somewhere to unwind.
     
  8. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    That's a GREAT idea! You might tell your students a few ideas (jungle theme, outer space, ocean) that you can get borders and posters to match. Then, let them vote and help do the decor!

    I'm gonna pass on your idea, Pamms! :)
     
  9. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    P. S., Brandi - a room with a caring, involved teacher cannot be ugly. Your concern shows that you care.

    I'll be praying for you! :)
     
  10. Eliza

    Eliza Companion

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    Jul 25, 2007

    I agree with Julie in GA. Kick mom and husband out! :D

    Have faith in yourself!! Your room needs to be an inviting and comfortable place for you and the kids- not a show place fit for a teaching magazine! The "look" of the room is not near as important as the content of your lessons.

    I would get with the other teachers as soon as possible and hopefully your fears will be put to rest and you will find a great mentor to encourage you.

    The mere fact that you are this concerned is proof that your heart is in this and that you want to do a good job. :love: Go with that and above all enjoy yourself! That will come through to your co-workers, students, and parents and you will do a great job!!
     
  11. StickyNotes

    StickyNotes Companion

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    Jul 25, 2007

    Hang in there! Last year was my first year and I felt just like you did at this time last year. I was so overwhelmed and ended up in tears.

    The truth of it- I have never seen a teacher with a theme either, except for pictures on here. Save that stuff for next year or a couple years down the road.

    As far as your room the most important thing is that YOU are happy with your room and that it is a comfortable environment for the students (that they have materials they need and you've set up procedures for them to get around the room with). I moved things SO many times last year as the year went on. I would find a new place for something or feel that an item would work better at another place. It is your year for figuring things out and the kids will not know any different.

    You can do this- they hired you for a reason!
     
  12. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Do not do a theme. At least not yet. It can get very costly for a first year teacher. My first year I just put up all the random stuff I bought, got from other people, and got from my mentor. My room looked colorful and a parent even said, "This is a neat room" during meet the teacher. I was so happy to hear that after being worried I didn't have enough "stuff". Relax, everything will fall into place and you'll love first grade!
     
  13. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Like the other poster said, get a color scheme and let the rest fall into place. Work on getting your first week planned. You will meet the kids, and get to know them, and things will evolve.
     
  14. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Get to the teacher store and invest in a few cute Bulletin Board sets...they are ready to go and cost around $20. Well worth it for how nicely they give the room a put togethr look!

    Next, get to a dollar store and buy about 20 $1 rectangular baskets for your classroom library books.

    Then, see about buying a bright colored rug somewhere cheap like Big Lots!

    Finally, get your curriculum sorted and make sure you have all the manuals and student books.

    If you can get your hands on some blocks, math manipulatives, puppets, big books, an easel, then great. If not, ask other teachers once you see them if they have extras laying around. Often time teachers keep spares in their secret stash but if it was purchases with the school money or comes from the school supplies, they really need to share. Ask the office staff if you can grab some crayons, paints, paper, office supplies, etc...
     
  15. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I hope these posts have made you feel better. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed. Just put up what you have and get yourself physically organized. Maybe add a few stuffed animals around the room and plants to give it a cozy feel and do not worry too much. You will see the other rooms and get a few ideas as well. Usually other teachers offer you excess items as well so do not worry. It will all come together. The photos on here of the gorgeous rooms amaze me and I have been teaching 5 years.
     
  16. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2007

    When I get super overwhelmed, I like to break things down into the important parts:
    Start with what seems like is causing you the most worry.
    Decorations:Don't go crazy about decorations - you'll collect them as you go! A couple things I would say are important for the first week: Alphabet chart or line, number line, Welcome sign. All of these can be bought and once you buy them, don't look back! Be happy you got them done, and move on. They do NOT need a theme.
    Other things that you can put up, but do not need a theme: colors poster, shapes poster, birthdays (mine are not elaborate - I bought them all at a $1 store!) Short vowels poster, long vowels.
    Congratulations - your room is functional, and probably colorful just from this :)

    Next, move on to curricullum. It's way more important than your room. You do not need to be crafty for this. You just need to be excited about what your teaching. Get into it. Write out what you want your students to be able to do during that first week. What are the most basic of skills you think you will need to teach them/review with them?

    Management/discipline Now that you know what you want to teach - what are some basic things your kids will need to do on "auto-pilot"? Where should they put finished papers? How should they indicate that they need help? When can they go to the bathroom? What are your rules? Your kids need to know these in their sleep. While I put this section last, it should certainly not be ignored. I think that this is more important than decorating your room, too. But I addressed that first because it seemed like it was causing you the most stress. Don't let it. Your kids will love it.

    My room is very simple. Most of the decorations are their work. I like the calming effect that a simple room has when they walk in. I've recived many complimemts on it!
     
  17. Pattie

    Pattie Companion

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Brandi don't worry about themes or getting everything just right. Let me tell you even experienced teachers change their rooms. I've taught 12 years and I change portions of my room around all year and add displays, bulletin boards, change desk configurations. We all do. The gal across the hall whose taught longer than me changed her stuff around, even her rug area at least 3 times this year. I was always amazed she found the time but she did it after school after thinking about a new way of doing it for a week. And these posts are right, you have to look at it. Do what pleases you and what you think looks cute. I don't think I've done a theme before either although I have purchased rainbows, stars, apples and bees those 12 inch laminated punch outs from teacher supply stores. The things that can make your room cute are fabric for a little tablecloth, plants, all kinds of pointers in a tall watering can always looks cute. Another idea I saw from a superb 1st grade teacher for birthday gifts for the kids. She took giant pixie sticks she got from Sams Club (pack of 50 for about 10 bucks) that would last 2 years. Then she copied 81/2 x 11 cardstock on a balloon pattern that said Happy Birthday inside. It is something you could just trace yourself. Then she cut the balloons out and stapled them to the pixie stix. She then put them in a bright green tin vase from Roberts or Michaels. Then she added curly ribbon to each one. It is the first thing you see in her room and it is really awesome and colorful. I copied her and of course now half my school copied it too. Do that and just walking in your room will look colorful. There are colorful bean bags you could purchase too that makes a room look cute and kids love em.
     
  18. Touchthefuture

    Touchthefuture Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I just went through this last year and I did not have a theme. Not many of the teachers in the school did. Focus on your lesson planning and classroom management. Trust me the room should be last. Once school started last year that is all I focused on and barely changed a bulletin board all year. If I did a volunteer helped me. You'll want to make your lessons more interesting and differentiated and that in itself is a full time job.
     
  19. brandi0718

    brandi0718 Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    THANK Y'ALL SO MUCH FOR THE IDEAS AND ENCOURAGEMENT. I REALLY NEEDED IT. I KNOW EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK OUT.
     
  20. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Save your bulletin board/wall space for STUDENT work. In the past, I was so bad about wanting my room to look so neat and colorful, that I forgot to save space for my students' work. Yes, themes are cute. However, I have worked in 3 different schools and have only seen a handful of classrooms with a theme. Like other posters have said, focus on the curriculum and your teaching methods. You will have YEARS to come up with creative, cutesy themes. As long as you create an inviting, organized space for your students...you will be set!
     
  21. dumbdiety

    dumbdiety Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I agree with most everyone here. Last year was also my first year and due to a long story I literally walked into my room for the first time with the kids on the first day of school. Bare walls, nothing prepared. I wanted to do a theme, but I ended up doing what my kids called 'the junkyard'. I had posters and bits and pieces of stuff all over the place. Since I also work in a bookstore, I had a bunch of book based posters. Then the kids find out I still read comic books, so I got a bunch of comic based stuff for the room (like a Spider-Man Mr. Potato Head...he protects our class library!). The only thing I 'theme' is one of my bulletin boards for whatever holiday it is. The other I use for student work.
     
  22. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jul 26, 2007

    dumbdiety -
    I love the idea of book based posters. Great way to advertise reading:)
     
  23. dumbdiety

    dumbdiety Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    If there is a Borders or Waldenbooks near you, go hit them up and ask if they have any promo posters left from the Harry Potter release. They had a Harry Potter 7 poster (though it's supposed to be given out when you buy the book) and a Warriors poster. They also had movie posters for Spiderwick, Golden Compass, and Dark is Rising. Don't know if they have any left, but you can always ask. :)

    Just don't ask for the bigger posters inside. If there is a teacher working there (and there most likely is) they most likely claimed it already!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2007
  24. old-new teacher

    old-new teacher Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Boy can I relate with the OP! I am a first year teacher (1st/2nd combo room) and was nearly overwhelmed to tears when I went into a teacher supply shop which had SO much stuff my head was just spinning. I finally forced myself to leave and put my head together before I spent WAY to much money!

    Once I thought about what kinds of things I wanted the kids to really see and focus on, i went back and bought a few items for bulletin boards and some cute posters for my reading area. The rest I will just kind of wing as the year goes on. Ultimately, I want to fill the room with my student's accomplishments!

    Good luck in your first year.
     

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