Teaching Lab

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A few days after Christmas, I began a transformation of my teaching space. I enlisted Emily into a sort of captive teen servitude as I began to deconstruct the teaching lab.

It was not a simple cleaning. Twenty years worth of materials needed to be sorted and cleaned. Any person who has walked into the classroom of another knows exactly of what I speak. Cabinets had to be excavated. Paints washed and combined. Items labeled and placed in the correct places.

The custodians were kind, but clearly wondered why the new professor was spending her break in the school, working 2-7 hours a day cleaning materials.  They patiently hauled bucket after bucket of trash away.

Some tasks were easy, but mundane. Pulling out all the broken bits of crayons, peeling off papers on what can be used to melt and recreate, discarding others I suspect are toxic.

I test markers, I open glue sticks to make sure they are usable  I wash and refill glue bottles.

I have been collecting baskets and bowls since September when I knew that I was going to begin this transformation. I visit the local Salvation Army and Goodwill frequently, looking for treasures. I want no plastic containers; choosing old wooden bowls, small glass containers and sturdy natural baskets to be my medium.

It takes nearly three weeks of cleaning and arranging before I am content.  On Tuesday, I tell my colleagues that I am satisfied.

A somewhat cluttered teaching lab is now something more; a place for students to see what we are talking about when we discuss aesthetics and functionality.

This re-imagined space pleases me. I will be adding a light table and beautiful new instruments in the coming weeks (hurrah for grants). I am creating lists of materials that we need in the Resource Library ( A whole OTHER photo essay as I purge that particular room) and still looking for lamps and other ways to soften and change the lighting. I am not a fan of fluorescent light and don't like for children or adults to be surrounded by it.

This is where I teach.

2 Baleful Regards:

madge said...

Those are some lucky students.

Jen from Inside My Head said...

What a beautiful space to teach in, and to learn in! You are amazing. :)

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