Imagination versus Reality in My Classroom

I looked over my classroom at the end of a long day (and week) of set up, and I felt proud. But people who know me won't be surprised to hear I was also a bit disappointed.

I have high expectations for myself, especially when it comes to teaching. I want to give my students the world, and that begins with creating the right environment.

My co-teacher and I put a lot of sweat and elbow grease into our classroom. We scrubbed off ink and pencil markings. We cleaned off our old blackboard and covered with with a few coats of Dry Erase paint. We filled five pots with some beautiful house plants. We did our best to make our room "like new".

And still, when I compare our classroom to what I imagine my students deserve it comes up lacking.

I don't feel to blame though. Because the gap between our imagination and our achievement isn't just about hard work. It's also about resources. My co-teacher and I, and everyone else in our school, we're doing the best with what we have. And still we can't quite give our students what they deserve. Sometimes this feels like it places a limit not just on what we can do, but also what we can imagine.

But I don't want to stop imagining something better either. Because that unsettled feeling isn't about a failure on our part. Instead it's something that I can use to anchor my commitment to justice and equity for my students. I'm going to do the best with what I have, but I'm not going to forget what my students deserve. And I'm going to fight for it.


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