In August of 2005 I spent three days preparing my classroom for my first adventures in teaching. I typed up quotes regarding words and learning and communication and I laminated them to pretty paper and filled my walls with them. I carefully arranged the books I’d use that year on the bookshelves and I arranged the desks in a creative pattern.
Now, four years later, the walls are bare again, the desks are in storage, and the large wooden desk that was mine for four years is empty of everything but staples and pens. All of my personal items are at home, all of the books I taught for the past four years are in the book room, and the chalk board is clean. There are a lot of memories in that room, but right now it’s a fresh slate for another eager teacher to mold in his or her own image.
As I look at the bare walls and the bare floor and the empty book shelves, it almost looks as if I’ve never been here at all. I pray that while the words and books and personality can be removed from my room, it can’t be removed from my students. I pray that in four years I’ve left more of a mark than the walls and shelves and desk in my room would belie. I pray that the marks I’ve left behind are more permanent than pins and chalk and tape.
My room is bare and empty. I pray that my students are not.