Becoming a teacher is one of the most daunting and fulfilling roles to undertake. You have the power to nourish, educate and make real difference on a little someone’s life, and several hundred over the years. Let’s face it, there are few people who don’t remember their favourite teachers, and the impact they made on us.
At the same time, we remember that teacher’s classroom and the memories made within. Creating an interactive and educational environment while at the same time adhering to style and trends is no easy, or cheap, task, which is why in a few minutes of reading, you can pick up some great tips on how to furnish your classroom, for a low cost, using an online furniture store
No matter their artistic tendencies or ambitions, a teacher needs to keep the safety of their pupils at the forefront of every design and furnishing decision. Certain pieces and parts with sharp edges or obtruding elements are a no-no when it comes to little ones running around. Thankfully, your need for simple furniture will actually save you money when it comes to shopping for it on an online furniture store.
Buying the basics through an online furniture store
While the standard furnishings of a classroom are 9 times out of 10 provided by the school, there is always room for more. Sometimes, that desk you see when you walk in a week or so before the school year begins to prepare your classroom, is not what you had envisioned. No need to mourn about it, or endure an uncomfortable position for the entire year. Fortunately, you are always only one click away from an online furniture store to solve your issue.
Desks are relatively common pieces found when you shop at an online furniture store. The world of online shopping is constantly changing, with stock and prices always shifting and surging to keep up with the highly competitive market. For this reason, among others, you may find that shopping online is the most cost efficient way to go when you’re considering replacing a desk.
Second on the list of online furniture store priorities is a desk chair. Is the one that has been provided for you ergonomically appropriate? In other words, will its facilities support your spine and body properly when you are using it? If your answer is no, then say hello to potential chronic neck, back and shoulder pain after hours of sitting and marking homework, tests and assignments each day.
Sitting for hours at a time can weaken your core and back muscles, as well as pinch the nerves of your lower back and rear end. In doing so, the blood needed by the body to function with energy and attention is constrained. This is not ideal for a job that requires both in order to keep a plethora of children quiet and entertained, while reserving your sanity at the same time.
When you consider buying a new chair, closely take note of the following:
– Does the back of the chair appear to have lumbar support (is there in a curve in the chair that will cater to my comfortable sitting?)
– Are their armrests that will grant my shoulders and arms periodic rests?
– Is the height adjustable? (This is extremely important, as having a chair that is too high or low can wreak havoc on the body and one’s posture)
– Does it have wheels? (For ease of movement and transport)
– Can the chair swivel? (While this is not completely necessary, having a chair with the capacity to swivel prevents having to turn one’s neck at regular intervals to search for stationary/papers etc)
Buying chairs from an online furniture store is as easy as reading the product description to ensure that the chair fulfills the primary needs listed above. While desk chairs that provide those functions aren’t always the cheapest, your body will thank you in the long run.
Buying the extras from an online furniture store
Not every online furniture store will stock the following items, but you will have no hard time finding those that do. These are some common pieces required in a classroom that schools tend to forget and leave up to their teachers:
– Baskets: there never seem to be enough of them in a classroom! Each child has the capability to churn out reams of art and homework, and there has to be somewhere to put them. Because many schools leave them out of their basic furniture requirement list, teachers are more often than not forced to buy them out of their own salary.
– Extra drawers : sometimes a few desk drawers are not enough to store your own teaching tools and stationary such as glue, rulers and scissors.
– Bookshelves: although most classrooms come with bookshelves, if you are an avid book collector, and wish your students to do the same, consider investing in another book shelf for your classroom. Luckily, scrolling through an online furniture store should yield some affordable options. Sometimes textbooks and set-works take up all the space, forcing teachers to say goodbye to some of their curated children classics, which can be avoided with some extra space.
– Pillows and blankets: many teachers deem it an absolute necessity to create a “reading nook” or a “comfy corner” in a classroom. Children need a space to escape to when they feel overwhelmed, and having a place where they can do so encourages emotional control and responsibility.
– Extra rubbish bins: one thing children are known for is their ability to make mess, and a lot of it. When you find yourself shopping on an online furniture store, don’t feel shy to add several bins to your basket in anticipation for a messy bunch.
Saving money by creating at home
Strongly consider making an investment in a printer and a laminator. Doing so can set you well on your way in DIY decorating, a creative teacher’s best friend. Not all schools have facilities where you can practice your crafts. Unfortunately this means that students, especially in lower-income brackets will not get to enjoy a beautiful and engaging classroom environment.
There is so much you can do at home to prepare your classroom if you have the means. Grade two teacher from Kwazulu-Natal, Miss Meiring, believes that one’s imagination is the only thing stopping them when it comes to their potential to create. Miss Meiring spends hours at her desk at home, creating personalized decorations for her classroom, and every year chooses a specific theme. Seeing children becoming excited when she places something new up in the classroom is a wonderful, warm feeling, she says, which motivates her to do more.
A home away from home
The classroom should feel comfortable, homely and inviting, especially for the younger children, says Miss Meiring. Even the for the teachers, having an exciting and colourful space is important. Being away from home can be difficult for some children, so creating a space where they want to be is essential. This can have highly positive effect on their work ethic, too.
Miss Meiring recommends devoting at least one entire wall in the classroom to displaying the students’ artwork. This makes them feel important and appreciated. Her students often write her letters and draw her pictures, and these too she places on display to fill up any empty corners. “I don’t like any empty spaces in my classroom,” she says. One piece of advice for new teachers is to use plenty of Prestik when sticking something up on a wall, so as to avoid numerous re-attachments and troubles throughout the year.
Seeing their work on the wall helps them to understand a teacher feels proud of them and motivates them to act out on their creativity and imagination. Sadly, Miss Meiring says, imagination is lacking in children in our society today. Miss Meiring encourages teachers to put easy-to-understand motivational words and pictures on display in the classroom. She places a mirror in her classroom, and surrounds it with circles with phrases such as “I am important,” or “I am loved,” or “I am honest” which serve to boost their confidence while at the same time learning spelling.
A theme to pave the way
A good way to decide on decorations is to choose a theme to which all the decorations are related. Doing so, Miss Meiring says, is an effective way to work on the aesthetics in your class room as well as do some visual teaching at the same time. Last year her theme was “tropical.”
Miss Meiring uses an online platform called Teachers Pay Teachers to purchase her themed designs. She argues that it is affordable and provides many free resources, activities and decorations outside of a subscription. She recommends this site to any creative teacher. This year, she has chosen the “Bohemian Rainbow” theme, which contains a “pastel-coloured aesthetic.” Social media apps such as Pinterest and Instagram serve as a great inspiration for classroom themes and decorations.
Most school heads will check up that each classroom has some form of a “behavioral management” system. Miss Meiring usually chooses to go with a merit chart, where children earn points in the form of stars on the chart. Another system she has used in the past is “the quiet critter.” Each student receives a ball with eyes and feet, and given the objective of keeping the critter for an entire week in order to receive a reward. If a child is very noisy or obstructive, their quiet creature will be taken away.
“The simplest decoration can make all the difference”
After having received such positive feedback from simply hanging a rope across the classroom with paper flags spelling out “welcome” in her classroom, Miss Meiring wants teachers to know that they need not be style and design boffs to make an exciting visual impression. Many teachers forget to utilise the ceiling space in the classroom, which can make a huge difference.
Miss Meiring also recommends placing plants in the classroom to enrich the space. Children are never too young to learn about plant care, she says, and this teacher constantly motivates children to bring flowers from their gardens or parks back to the classroom. Fairy lights are another way to brighten up the classroom, she adds. Her favourite things to make are tassels and bunting, says Miss Meiring. It has in fact become a fun and relaxing hobby for her. Each tassel takes her about 15 minutes.
If you have a whiteboard or a chalkboard, print out pages to use as a border around it. Miss Meiring insists that doing so is an easy way to make your lessons at the board more engaging for both yourself as a teacher and your students. She tends to put boarders around her doors as well. For each year of students, Miss Meiring places a decorative motive on her classroom door, with all of their names spread around it. This year, her door will read “We are a rainbow of possibilities.”