It seems like most teachers are on two different sides of the spectrum when it comes to classroom decor. On one side there is the teacher who goes all out and bulletin boards are their jam. For this teacher every corner of the classroom is designed to keep students engaged, encouraged, and inspired. On the other end of the spectrum there is the teacher who bemoans bulletin boards, the same few posters have been hanging on their walls since the first years of their teaching career.
Honestly, I am in the second group. Bulletin boards, signs, inspiration on the walls, I could not justify the time and money when perhaps my students wouldn’t notice after the first week of school. PLUS, how does one go about decorating a Bible class?
My perspective on classroom decor all changed the day I became a substitute. The role of a substitute is not easy, and working as a substitute for private schools will NOT pay a mortgage : ) My substitute teacher goal was to learn, grow, and become inspired. I wanted more exposure to different private schools and teaching styles. The funny thing is, my greatest inspiration moment did not come from the curriculum, activities or classroom management techniques, it was one teacher’s classroom decor.
The moment I walked into the teacher’s classroom, I felt like I was whisked away out of a classroom and into a mix between the book, “The Cabinet of Curiosities” and the book, “Guinness World Records.” I know that seems odd, but I think if you were there, you may agree. Every space on the wall, ceiling, and sometimes even floor had something unique and visually perplexing. It was so fun seeing the personality of the teacher on display. Right away the classroom atmosphere communicated that students would learn a lot and have fun doing it.
Here are six things to consider when thinking about designing your Bible class this year.
Inspire Your Students: This year, when decorating my classroom, my goal is to help my student’s feel like they have walked into another world. If my decor can help them get excited to learn, then it’s worth it.
Inspire Yourself: Design the classroom to inspire you, the teacher. Of course it is about the students, but teachers also must spend a large chunk of their week in the classroom. If you like plants, bring lots of plants. If you like reading nooks, create a reading nook for your students and that you can enjoy during your planning period. If your classroom motivates you, and helps get you passionate about what your’re teaching it’s a win for you and your students.
Exposure: I’m going to use my decor to help students become aware of the different fields of Biblical studies, similar to a museum. I may have a section in my class where I post Biblical Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words. I may print pictures of famous theologians and translators. I may create a Spiritual Formation Poster Guide, so students can remember strategies for when they want to connect more with God, and the list goes on.
Functionality: Consider creating spaces that help your class flow and lessons. For example, if you’re teaching Hermeneutics, create a reference library. Missions, consider printing and framing some missionary quotes, pictures, etc. Spiritual Formation, a spot for students to meditate on God’s Word.
Encouragement: This is one of the best uses of a classroom. I want to saturate my students in God’s Word. I plan to use strategic locations to remind students of who God is, how much He values them, and His purpose for their lives.
Go all out: Our classroom is not our house. That means it’s okay to be a little crazy. A large giraffe, a crazy colored or patterned sofa, planets hanging from the ceiling, etc. Normal doesn’t need to be the theme of your classroom. Be creative and have fun!