If you're a primary teacher, your teaching space is the equivalent of an
office for around 30 people. If you're a secondary teacher, it can be for up to
150 people. When this many people share the space, it needs to be organised.
People who enter your room - students, parents and visitors - see a physical
representation of your organisational skills. The space needs to be bright,
airy, well laid out and tidy, with plenty of storage space.
Position your desk so you have a clear view of all areas of your classroom,
and to allow you to greet students, other staff and parents as they enter.
Designing your teaching space
Classrooms come in all shapes, sizes and locations.
It is important to create safe, caring and supportive environments where your
students can feel like they belong, are able to bond with you and know that you
The layout of your teaching space (physical or online) communicates subtle
messages about what you value in learning - it is the physical expression of
your learning philosophy. It should be adaptable to changing teaching and
learning styles, contexts and expectations.
Sharing the room with other teachers
Where you place equipment, furniture and resources is generally your choice;
however, in secondary classrooms, you may be sharing with other teachers. Check
with your colleagues about where your class can store textbooks and other
materials, and where you can display posters.
Be considerate and leave the room clean and tidy. Having to spend time
cleaning the room before a lesson can be extremely frustrating for teachers -
and very disruptive for students.
- Carefully consider your needs and the needs of your students - ensure that every child can see and hear from every part of the room, and that you have plenty of space to move around and help students.
- Ensure that you manage the particular physical and behavioural needs of your students - some students may need help to access and move freely in the room, or need to be positioned near the whiteboard to see it easily.
- Design your teaching space to optimise natural light and temperature.
- Do not block doorways and hallways.
- Set up computers and other devices to support learning. Computers are usually located near data outlets unless they are wireless.
- Think about where your desk should go. Do you even need a desk?
- Consider your traffic areas - if you arrange a quiet research or reading area at the back of the classroom, students will need easy access to it so they don't disrupt the rest of the class.
- Arrange students' desks and seating to suit the learning activity or needs of your students.
- Store resources that students need in a convenient place.
- Consider who will be working with your students - if you have a teacher aide or parent volunteer, you will need space for them to work in small groups; a larger desk at the back of the room could be ideal.
- If you work in the early years, decide whether you'll use an easel or whiteboard. Where will students sit on the floor?
- Place a cupboard or a desk near the door for storing in and out trays, the homework box, class roll and any other organisational items.
- Try designing the room to scale on paper to plan where everything will go.
- Encourage students to sit and work in small groups - they'll develop cognitive and social skills through the sharing of ideas, interaction, cooperation, and learning to be tolerant of others.
- Always ensure you can make eye contact with all students in the class.
- Avoid drilling or nailing into your walls - ask the janitor or grounds person to do this.
A warm and welcoming learning environment is important for students.
While being conscious to leave space to display student work, you can display
a range of posters and other materials that are useful for quick reference.
These can usually be borrowed from the teacher reference section of the resource
They may include:
- Weather chart
- Birthday chart
- Sharing session roster
- Days of the week, months of the year
- Map of Australia or world globe
- Numeracy posters - money, basic addition and subtraction rules
- Literacy posters - letter recognition, basic words
- Posters related to unit work
- Numeracy posters - multiplication tables, shapes, formulae
- Literacy posters - grammar rules, punctuation
- Editing symbols chart
- Reminders on how to edit
- World map or map of Australia
- Posters related to unit work
- Current events
- Posters related to subject areas
- Bulletin boards for student notices and announcements
- Current events - in the school and wider community
- Industry events and announcements related to subject areas - audition notices, posters advertising upcoming productions, dance studio application forms etc
- Job opportunities related to subject areas
- Career options associated with subject areas
- Display student work as soon as possible. Parents love to see their children's work on display in the classroom.
- While it is important to have colour and visual stimuli in your classroom, be careful not to over-clutter your room - stimulate, don't distract!