I was assigned to Room 112. When I got to the room, I realized that it was a bit smaller than most of the others in the building. The Promethean Board was covering some of the blackboard space and was oriented landscape rather than portrait, meaning that the students on the edges of the class would have a terrible vantage point.
I took my classroom and ran with it. I put posters on the walls for as long as the painted bricks would allow me to. I got a second-hand fish tank for the counter and added my own library of science, math and education books.
I made my class my own.
Over 4 years, I made improvements to the environment, adding dry erase boards, better posters and rearranging the desks into better configurations.
I have spent over 3000 hours teaching and working with students in this room. It was my home away from home.
I've had friends and colleagues observe the work that I did there. People that I met only briefly in person donated supplies to my students, my classroom and myself, helping me to make this room into a place where I wanted to be.
They have helped me to make it into a place where my students wanted to be (or at least didn't dread.) My room became a place of exploration, games and laughter. My students created, built and learned. They pretended to be vampires and constructed towers from spaghetti and marshmallows.
They gave me cornrows. (Well, cornrow...)
Room 112 wasn't always the most welcoming place. In the warmer months, the small windows not allowing for ample cross-breeze, frequently drove the temperature into the high 80's and low 90's. In the winter, those same windows often refused to allow heat to stay in the room, putting it in the 50's.
It wasn't always comfortable and didn't always smell the best, but for 4 years, it was mine. It was my domain, my realm, my home.
On Wednesday, I left Room 112 for the last time. Next year, I will be teaching at the high school again and the current Junior High building will become the home of grade 4, 5 and 6, which I can't teach in the state of Pennsylvania. Room 112 will become the home of someone else.
I removed all of my possessions, took down my posters and dry erase board. I put all of the text books in boxes to be sent to the high school. I moved the desks back to their original positions. I shut out the lights, closed the door and walked away from my work home for the last time.
It wasn't the best home, but it was mine. I shall miss it.
Whatever the future holds for me, in whichever classroom I end up, Room 112 has been my room longer than any other. I did not wish this transition to pass by without my expressing gratitude for the room which housed me.
Thank you, Room 112. I hope that your future occupants treat you with respect.