A classroom doesn’t just happen.

Yes, there’s a room, and there are tables, and there are chairs.  Bookcases, books, windows, a door.

But a classroom — a real, amazing, inspiring classroom — takes time.  Lots of it.

After five years, I’m moving to a new classroom.  I’ve left the library I worked so hard to make the best, the co-teacher I love, and the curriculum I’ve grown attached to.

I’ve moved up to eighth grade and into a classroom that is, well, bare.  School starts in a month, and today, as I looked around the room and the three days of work I already put in, I realized that I’ve got many many many more hours to go.  I can’t imagine how it will come together in such a short period of time.  I’ve already arranged the furniture, hung up five bulletin boards, and had help emptying books out of the closets.

But the library — oh, the library needs some work.  There seem to be half as many books as the library I left behind.  I haven’t read a lot of the titles.  There aren’t card pockets in the backs of any of them.  And the bins are mismatched!  The horror!

So it’s going to take time.  Once the library is done, there’s a shelf in the closet that has collapsed, paper and border that needs to go on the new bulletin boards, a Word Wall to create, signs to make, supplies to organize, and a million other things to do.

A classroom doesn’t just happen, and I need to keep reminding myself.  This year will take the longest to set up.  In years to come, I’ll know exactly where to find supplies, where to place bins, and where each book goes just by glancing at the cover.

Right now, the school is almost empty.  It’s just me and the custodians.  I work slowly but deliberately, piece by piece, making this room my own.