I’m drinking coffee and doing some tidying before the holiday night, and find myself subsumed by this daydream.
Books. Everywhere. On every rag-tag shelf, well loved and bruised, 2000 or more. A stuffed magazine rack. And an overflowing collection of superlative DVDs with attached writing prompts, from BBC Planet Earth to Kurosawa, in a glass case.
Like the New York City Library, there are enough stand-alone lamps that the flickering fluorescents would never be turned on.
There is a wall of honor, a six foot dripping collage with clippings, pictures, articles, publications, and celebrations; opposite that, the gallery of framed, student-created figurative language heroes, representing the effort of generations on a single assignment.
From the ceiling lights (now unused and perfectly suited for floating art), a rotating display of six or seven bright, art-deco type mobiles with key English concepts. (These are also created by students and no doubt covered with asphyxiating amounts of glitter.)
Plants in every nook and cranny, the bird feeder just outside where we collect and send data to the Cornell Orinthology Laboratory, a pile of bean bags, and the tech corner (an as-yet fictitous 4-6 wi-fi laptops, collection of digital voice recorders, Kindles, Ipods, and the digital projector) complete the scene.
There’s no teacher desk. There isn’t now. I got rid of it in August, which I consider one of the small successes of this school year. I sit (when I do sit) at the writing conference table or among the kids, which is astonishing– astonishing– in its simple power to help me communicate with and manage the class. More on that later, I think.
But mainly, I realize, that this dream is completely contingent upon one factor: years, and years, and years, in the classroom.
I want this.
Happy Holidays, everyone.