Monday, May 28, 2012

My Classroom

Well, so much for trying to post something at least once a week, huh?  :) I actually was going to post our sun room pictures weeks ago, but the power went out as I was uploading pictures and I didn't have the desire to get back on here for a while after that.  
Anyway, school is officially out and I couldn't be happier!  I am welcoming this summer with open arms and I think it's safe to say that I will be able to continue teaching at the high school next year.  This year has been very trying and overwhelming at times but I have learned a lot.  I am especially excited about this summer because I will (hopefully) be able to relax and enjoy each day.  Last summer not only were Cory & I working on our house but I was also having to fix up my new classroom.  
I realized I never posted pictures of my room on here.  I have a few before and afters that I wanted to share, along with an awkward story.  Be warned that you may think I'm an awful person after reading this post.
Last May I was super excited to see my new high school classroom.  I was privileged to have the chance of meeting the sweet teacher that was retiring from the position and for her to show me around and give me some tips.     
Here are some pictures of the room the first day I saw it.

As you can see, there was a "beach theme" going on.  I wasn't crazy about it, but it wasn't so bad.  I took some other pictures of the room but these show the parts that I wasn't so crazy about.  The former teacher explained to me that her students painted the cabinets as a project.  I noticed people had signed their paintings with their graduation year and realized that they were 10 years old.  I was glad that if I painted over the doors that the old teacher wouldn't be offended that I went over her work and also that the students who painted the pictures were long gone.
We then went into the sewing room which is through the door on the right in the picture above.
That's when I saw this:
and this:
 Some sponge painted cabinets
Looking back, the pictures may not seem so bad, but in real life the room looked silly to me. Painting on cabinets (in the other room) was one thing, but covering the wall was a little overwhelming.  My first thought was, "I'm definitely painting this whole room first thing." That is until the former teacher took me over to a laminated newspaper clipping that explained the reason behind this room's design. 

 Apparently there was a student who would doodle instead of paying attention in class back in 2002.  There was a student teacher at the time and she decided to motivate this particular student to design a mural for the room and the class would paint it as an interior design project.  Well, this boy designed a hot air balloon theme and actually started painting a balloon.  One day during this project the boy skipped school and then was killed in a wreck.  The class was sad about their loss but decided to finish the room and complete the one balloon that the boy had started on in his memory.
Ok, so after I heard that I knew I couldn't paint over the least not my first year here.  (side note: I did paint over the beach things in the other room)

During the first semester my class only used the sewing room for about 3 weeks so it wasn't so bad. The class was mostly guys who didn't even notice the tacky walls. Then fast forward to spring semester when I had a fashion class that was full of girls.  We used the sewing lab quite a bit and by February students started feeling more comfortable with me and began making fun of the walls in the room.  They asked if they could paint over the walls.  That's when I started really toying with the idea.  Now, I had complete permission to make any changes to my room that I wanted to. I debated on the subject for a while. I asked other teachers' opinions and they said to go for it. Some of them didn't even know about the room and others could barely recollect the newspaper article and so on.  I asked one of the custodians who was actually in that class and he gave me the "go ahead".  Then I told my students the situation and we had a vote.  Only one student thought that we shouldn't and that was because she was afraid that a ghost would haunt the room.  Since the students didn't know the story before, the teachers were ok with it, and NOBODY had come back to school to see their artwork, I figured it would be alright.  My students and I did decide to keep the balloon that the boy started painting but to cover it up somehow.  So, this is what we did:

I bought some colorful fabric and had the students pick out sewing icons to paint on them like a canvas.  Then my sweet Cory built some frames to attach the fabric to.  The pink picture is the one covering the balloon that's still there.  I tried to type that on the picture but you can't read it well.
Yes, the scissors pictures has fallen down, and yes, the one girl who was afraid of a ghost claims that's the reason.  Ironically, or should I say suspiciously, she sits at the machine right in front of it.  I put the frames up with command strips and just haven't gotten around to get more to put it back up.

 The once blue sponge painted cabinet doors got painted white.  Also the orange tables got painted gray.

The green bookshelf got a neutral paint job.  Please excuse the unorganized shelf.  I snapped the picture quickly.  And yes, those are Barbie dolls who have costumed designed outfits on. ;)

The next project will be to recover the stools with the blue & green fabric.  It was free fabric and is in better condition than the red gingham. 

So, that's my sewing room now.  You probably think I'm awful for painting over the mural.  You also may remember that I said I had an awkward story to tell.  Well, just a week after the room re-do I get a call on my classroom phone.  I answer and the secretary asked me if I had some balloons painted on the walls in my room.  She didn't know that I was painting in my room but some other teachers knew that I was worried/hesitant about painting so I quickly thought that I was being "punked" and looked around for Ashton Kutcher or at least another teacher who would be laughing at my expense.  I slowly answered, "Yes, I have one balloon painted....Why do you ask?"  Then she said, "There's a mother here whose kid painted part of it and she wants to come and take pictures." Really?!  I told the secretary to send her down and I open the door to see a sweet, small lady who was smiling big with a few teeth missing.  She introduced herself as the mom of the boy who died in the car wreck!  Yes, friends, this is my life.  I quickly apologized before taking her to the room and explained that I had JUST painted over everything except for the one balloon that her son had painted.  She came in the room and assured me that it was ok.  She said that she was afraid that it had been painted over already but that the Lord had told her to come and take a picture of it one more time....I guess she just got the message a little late.  She was coming to take pictures because her other pictures were taken with a disposable camera years ago and now she had a digital camera and she could make better pictures.  She was wanting to make a collage of pictures of him for the 10 year anniversary of his death. If you know me well, you know that I was apologizing over and over.  She was so sweet and so appreciative that I had saved his balloon.  She gave me permission to paint over his balloon now, but I'm not going to.  I also gave her my pictures that I had taken.  I just find it to be my luck that she would come after YEARS of nobody wanting to see the mural and the week after I finally broke down and painted over most of it.
I hope everyone has a pleasant week.  Maybe I can get back into the swing of things since it is SUMMER VACATION NOW!!

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