I hate borders. The kind you put around bulletin boards. I find them insulting, and sometimes repulsive. I have some, yes, given to me by fellow teachers, but I never felt I could use them. There's something patronizing about the illustrations on them (look! the smiling cartoon faces on this border indicate we are having fun! get it?), or thinking that student work needs to be glamorized in any way. The cuteness and theme-y-ness is too much for me!
And it's not just borders- I would venture to say I even have a problem with clip art! Yes, even the new cutesy ones, not just the 90's stuff. I don't mean to insult any teacher who likes their pretty classroom- because my students and I definitely enjoy our clean, organized and beautiful space. I just don't know how many kids connect to it.
The kids I know are human- they feel all sorts of emotions, they color outside the lines, they live imperfect lives, like all of us, so seeing perfectly cutesy faces, or borders, portrays a kind of impossible standard to live up to. Not just for the kids, but for me. It gets messy in my class, and it gets real- I want a classroom that reflects our reality. I don't want to insult or judge any teacher that loves clip art or borders or anything like that- if it works for you and your kids, more power to you! This is just my personal opinion, and how I like to do things. By no means do I have all the answers.
That's why I want to know: What are some of your classroom design "rules" that you live by?
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