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Brand new English Teacher, how should I decorate the classroom?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by lottielizzie, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. lottielizzie

    lottielizzie New commenter

  2. lottielizzie

    lottielizzie New commenter

  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Displays are no longer a teacher's role. It was withdrawn under the Workforce Agreement of a few years ago. TAs now have that role, under your direction though, so you still need ideas on how to proceed.
    Personally, I'd want an English room to have definitions of grammar terms, with the relevant words highlighted in sample sentences.
    You'll also need to have some temporary displays that will change once you have pupil work to display.
  4. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Whilst Jubilee is correct, and it is important that TAs manage the displays (as an ex-union rep, I wholeheartedly agree with the working time directive - we shouldn't be doing admin tasks), in practise you might find you will wait a while. TAs in the schools I have worked in have been great in doing displays but, just like teachers, they have a lot of responsibilities. I think it works slightly differently in primary where the TA is under supervision from the teacher; in secondary, this relationship doesn't exist in the same way - we don't direct them outside of contact time. In my last school, we had a TA attached to the English department so she managed the displays, but this hasn't been the case in many schools. In theory, we should ask admin to do our photocopying but in my last week due to admin staff shortages, you could wait anywhere between 3days to 2 months to receive your photocopying! Not practical.
    Anyways, as a bit of a control freak, I like to do my own displays, but I only usually have time to do this at the start of the school year when I am sorting out the classroom. Every English classroom is different: the favourite I have seen when on my teacher training was like a student bedroom - full of movie posters, postcards, famous quotes (Martin Luther King etc.) which can be very inspiring and the kids loved it. Due to English encompassing lots of media, literature and film, lots of great posters fall into this category (Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet posters are fantastic and interest the students straight away!). My colleague across the way has a whole Salwar Kameez on her wall to go alongside the work on Presents from My Aunt in Pakistan. In practical terms, I would cover the student work display boards in sugar paper in prep for student work, and use the rest of the wall space for the posters etc. Go for a balanced mix of informative (different connectives, AFs, AOs etc.) and entertaining/inspiring - my preference is for the latter as the kids often switch off from 'yet another' comic sans info poster with microsoft clip art telling them what an adverb is! Also, don't overdo it with your informative displays though as we conduct controlled assessments in our classrooms and some guidance is verboten (some schools do them in other rooms though, so check!).

    The BBC had a recent slideshow of winners of the photjoournalist awards in America - I asked our resources dept. to print each image for display and all my classes (years 7-13) have been really intrigued by them - some even going so far as to use them for descriptive writing or poetry.

    I think your classroom should be inspiring and reflect you as an individual. Some displays are very traditional, some of my colleagues have every sign and drawer laminated, and all the AFs clearly displayed. Spend your time in the coming months collecting interesting postcards, posters etc. I emailed publishing companies and got some great display materials for Roald Dahl etc. The BFI and other film education providers have some great resources too if you can get on their mailing lists.
  5. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    oops - sorry for such a rushed and rambling (therefore spelling error heavy!) message - was writing off the top of my head! Anyway, I wanted to say another great source of posters/resources are local (or national) theatres - particularly for Shakespeare etc. Contact their education departments (or officer) and ask them.

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