Rather than replying to comments over there, I figure I can pad my post stats (this one is #201 btw) by answering questions over here.
Yes, I am very lucky to have such a large room. It is a beautiful thing. Well, maybe not beautiful. About ten years ago our campus was remodeled and expanded, and for a whole school year most of us were in portable classrooms in the parking lot.
(Aside) That was the year I had three students who each weighed 300+ pounds. In the same class. The portables were up on jacks, and the floors weren’t exactly rock-solid. Each of those boys created a wave that rippled across the room as he walked. I had to put them in separate corners so I wouldn’t crater the floor, and one kid had to sit sideways in his desk until I got him a little table. I guess it only looked little. One of them was actually Mrs. G’s (of nut-smelling fame) boy.
When construction was almost over, our principal at the time went around to everybody with a map of the campus, asking which room they would prefer. This was during the “teaming” fad, so teams were encouraged to try to pick classrooms close together. Uh huh. Right. All the eighth grade teachers decided they wanted to be in the new classrooms, which had a central core area to encourage teaming. Yeah. Ok.
I took one look at that map and saw that those new classrooms were tiny! They all had sliding whiteboards with hidden storage (whoa) and whatnot, but you know where the space for that core came from? Uh huh. These days the core is virtually unused except for teachers eating lunch and kids taking make up tests, and those people stuck out there have 32 desks crammed where about 25 might be ok.
I also saw that old, unremodeled except for whiteboards subbed for chalkboards, room D5 was unclaimed…and the biggest dagburned room in the school, except for drama and band. No groovy sliding boards, not even carpet (too hard to move desks, a pain to clean — they’d never vacuum a room that size). Just lots of room and barely any windows. Windows in seventh grade classrooms are overrated. I like that they can’t stare out the window. Like they need more to distract them. I even covered mine with translucent paper so nobody can peer in. It’s sort of like in Vegas, once you’re in the casino, there is no outside world.
Anyway, I jumped on it.
“That room is sort of by itself. What about your team?”
“I’ll have room for visitors.”
And yes, it’s a mess. Many people have the same reaction you do, Mrs. M. I’ve even had subs try to tidy. They haven’t done that twice. Every year, I have high hopes about filing and organizing and returning/recycling work in a more timely fashion, but, well… It’s that seventh grader in me again. So you’re right, that is one reason they feel comfortable here; it looks like most of their rooms. The assistant superintendent tripped over something as she was leaving after a visit last week. D’oh.
Re: Trade and Grade. As a rule… D’oh! House is about to start, and it’s new. I’ll answer this one, and the Weepul one tomorrow.