Distinctive Decor

Take a look at how teachers are making their classrooms unique

Teachers+share+about+their+classroom+decorations.

Gracie Ahmann

Teachers share about their classroom decorations.

Gracie Ahmann, Staff Writer

Coming up on nearly two years since COVID-19 hit, students and teachers are finally back in the halls of DCHS, returning to normalcy. Many of us students dearly missed our favorite teachers, their classrooms, and the relationships we built inside of them. Here, I sat down and chatted with various teachers at Dowling about how they choose to personalize their classrooms.

 

Ms. Gantt

Ms. Gantt tells about her favorite decoration in her classroom, room 602.

What class or classes do you teach and how long have you been teaching?

  • “This is my eleventh year teaching, seventh year at Dowling. I teach two sections of co-taught English 9 with Mr. Hall and Ms. Pose, three sections of Humanities, and one section of English 10.”

Are your decorations an important part of your classroom or who you are as a teacher?

  • Yes, very much so. Last year, at the beginning of crazy COVID-hybrid-whatever year, I was too depressed to put anything up and it was a terrible year. I just hated being in this building and there was nothing about it that was nice. So this year, I decided I needed something pretty to look at and brick walls aren’t doing it for me.”

Do you think decorations can affect a student’s ability to learn in the classroom?

  • Yes, I do. I know that not everybody has my style and appreciates my twinkle lights, but I know that it makes me more calm and feeling kind of peaceful, and I hope that the same is true for students as well.”

Do you change your decorations year by year or based on time of year?

  • “I wish that I had a cool answer for that. This is the first time that I’ve had these decorations. I’ve had kind of random ones in the past, but they’ve always been, you know,  janky. These were really intentional this year.”

What is your favorite or most meaningful decoration in your classroom?

  • “I love space and nature, so having that represented in a room that’s otherwise blank.”

 

Mr. Lensing unenthusiastically chooses a favorite decoration in his classroom, room 407.

Mr. Lensing

What class or classes do you teach and how long have you been teaching?

  • “I have been teaching for fifteen years, and I teach APES and Earth Science.”

Are your decorations an important part of your classroom or who you are as a teacher?

  • “Not really. I just put them up for people to look at, but I’m basically covering up ugly stuff.”

Do you think decorations can affect a student’s ability to learn in the classroom?

  • “I think if your class is engaging, it probably doesn’t matter either way.”

Do you change your decorations year by year or based on time of year?

  • “Most of these decorations have been up since I moved into this room. Most of the living things are for APES research, so I wouldn’t consider them decorations, but the bones I think are neat. The dead crusty puffer fish is cool. I do have the poison ivy one up, so maybe if someone sees that, it could prevent them from getting hurt.”

What is your favorite or most meaningful decoration in your classroom?

  • “I’m gonna say the globe. The earth. Oh, that one’s actually my favorite! That, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ That’s a good one. That makes me sound like a good teacher. Better than the globe.”

 

Mr. Patten

Mr. Patten tells about the student work hanging in his classroom, room 702.

What class or classes do you teach and how long have you been teaching?

  • “Sociology and Advanced U.S. History. This is my seventh year.”

Are your decorations an important part of your classroom or who you are as a teacher?

  • “No, I’m not one for decorations necessarily. I do have an accomplishment of a track and field state qualifier flag up. I have posters of clubs and sports and whatnot to show representation for the student body. But if you look at my desk area, I have numerous pieces of student work that represent the great character of this classroom.”

Do you think decorations can affect a student’s ability to learn in the classroom?

  • “To an extent, but if a teacher is energetic, engaging, and their lesson plans are appropriate, then decorations should mean and impact very little on a teacher’s ability to do their job.”

Do you change your decorations year by year or based on time of year?

  • “Maybe a little year by year. As new posters come out, we replace the posters, but there’s always additions to the great student work that I’ve collected on my cabinets.”

What is your favorite or most meaningful decoration in your classroom?

  • “Favorite decorations are by far the cabinets of student work, ranging from tardies to remind me of students that are tardy, to apology letters for getting glitter on my chair, all the way to memes and thank you letters.”

 

Mrs. Sullivan

Mrs. Sullivan chooses inspirational posters as her favorite decorations in her classroom, room 106.

What class or classes do you teach and how long have you been teaching?

  • “I teach Spanish III and Advanced Spanish III, and this is my thirty-fourth year of teaching.”

Are your decorations an important part of your classroom or who you are as a teacher?

  • “Yes, because this is my house, so to speak, and I want it to be inviting and welcoming. I want it to be a happy place for me and my students.”

Do you think decorations can affect a student’s ability to learn in the classroom?

  • “Yeah. I think it could maybe provide some motivation or just make them feel good, and when you feel good, I think you learn more. Color, too, I think helps.”

Do you change your decorations year by year or based on time of year?

  • “No, not too much. I try to make it kind of general, and then for El Día de los Muertos, I put up the Day of the Dead decorations and things like that and the kids’ posters, but not too much.”

What is your favorite or most meaningful decoration in your classroom?

  • “That’s a good question. I think I like the little posters that just, you know, ‘Always be kind,’ and ‘Be the best you there is.’ Something like that. Just kind of the inspirational ones.”

 

Mrs. Wiskus

Mrs. Wiskus tells about the graduation party invites hanging in her classroom, room 302.

What class or classes do you teach and how long have you been teaching?

  • “I have been teaching for twenty years, and this year, I teach Advanced Pre-Calc, Calc AB, and Calc BC.”

Are your decorations an important part of your classroom or who you are as a teacher?

  • “Yes. I think it’s fun to just welcome the kids in. I like to have posters of all the kids’ activities. I have some sayings up for them to look at everyday. I also love my Christmas lights, just because it’s fun and I like to decorate for Christmas. When Christmas rolls around, I have a candy cane jar and stuff like that for the kids to grab, so it’s just fun to have a welcoming environment. Also, the kids love those pictures of all of the past students that I’ve had, and they look at them a lot.”

Do you think decorations can affect a student’s ability to learn in the classroom?

  • “I think if a student feels welcome, then it affects their mentality when they come into a classroom. It’s a small part, but you want to make students feel welcome when they walk in, so any little way we can help to create that positive environment helps their learning. But there’s a lot of other bigger factors as well.”

Do you change your decorations year by year or based on time of year?

  • “Christmas I do, and then I go back to what it looks like now.”

What is your favorite or most meaningful decoration in your classroom?

  • “I think my students, the student pictures that I have, because a lot of kids can relate to it. They see former friends, some of the kids like to see what kind of ideas they can have for their senior pictures. It also just reminds me when I look at it throughout the day of all the great students I’ve had. It’s really fun to be like, ‘Oh, they’re having a baby now!’ and it’s just a lot of fun to remember the people that have been in the classroom or at Dowling that we’ve impacted.”

 

The teachers above obviously feel differently about the significance that visual aspects inside a classroom hold. Whether or not they choose to completely deck out their spaces, it is clear that each teacher does their best to create a welcoming and positive learning environment for each student that enters, ultimately making their classroom theirs.