Teach Tip Tuesday: Create your own teaching space without your own room

I’m not sure about other teachers out there but at my school and many other schools I have worked at most teachers don’t have their own rooms.

I have to admit when I troll through pinterest I’m jealous of the awesome classroom setups that some people have.

If you are lucky enough to have your very own space or maybe share with one other, I am happy for you but for the other side out there here are a few tips for making your classroom each lesson feel like your own.

The key to having a classroom feel like you own it is that student feel at home, safe and comfortable. Now we cant go adding alternate seating, plastering the walls with paper, lining the room with fun novels or activities but there are a few things that we can bring with us that can help it along.

5 Tips to Create your own teaching space when you don’t have a room. 

1. Define for yourself where your “front” is in the classroom. 


This doesn’t have to be your front. 

  • just because the projector is at the front of the room that doesn’t mean you have to teach from there. Deciding on where you place yourself in the room promotes the idea that this is your space and you will use it flexibly.
  • I set up my computer at the front of the room and attach to the projector. I rarely stand there to teach and choose to speak from the back of the room or even sit with the students to create the feel of a flexible space.

2. Take the essential with you to each class so students have everything they need. This helps to make students feel like you care and removes excuses. 

  • Imagine what essentials you would have in a classroom if it was your own, then think creatively about how you could move this around.
  • Since I teach in a different classroom for each of my classes I have a tote tray that has stickers, post-its, spare paper, graph paper, pencils, pens, rulers etc all contained in the one tray. For each lesson that I go to I swap out my folder with worksheets if they aren’t digital and my textbook. If I am planning a lesson that needs colouring equipment I have small containers of student sets that I pop in my tote tray.  Rarely have I found I need anything else that’s not in my tray.
  • Essentially working out of a tote tray or trolley comes down to forward planning for each of your lessons.

3. Take posters that you want to refer to often in your folder with magnets attached to the back so they can easily be displayed for the lesson and removed. teel

  • If I am referring to a particular strategy repeatedly rather keep rewriting it up I have it laminated on a piece of paper and magnetic-tapeattach magnets to the back so that it can be on the board for the lesson.
  • This would also work with instructional card, formula posters etc.


4. Negotiate a shared cupboard or draw space here students can store work. 

  • In some classes student really need a space for booklets, worksheets etc. that we don’t want to cart around. Where possible I negotiate a small space to store these items in a classroom with the other teachers that use it.
  • If a space can’t be negotiated set a duty roster with your class that includes the collection of said items just prior to or the beginning of each lesson.

5. Teach your class how to manoeuvre desks into group configurations. 

  • This might sound silly but in all the classrooms I have shared none of them have provided group learning spaces. Teaching students how to organise desks for group activities means that you can have a seamless transition between different activities and you don’t have to be confined to paired or rowed desks.
  • Group spaces allow students to interact and participate in discussions more readily.
  • Group spaces can also allow students to improve their behaviour by providing a narrower focus of attention from their peers.

I’m sure there are many other great tips for sharing your classroom space and making it your own when you teach in it. Please share your ideas in the comments below or on our facebook page.



About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
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1 Response to Teach Tip Tuesday: Create your own teaching space without your own room

  1. Pingback: Teach Tip Tuesday: Use Visual Cues to Improve Student Engagement | Educating The Digital Learner

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