Setting Up Your Classroom

Help me set up my classroom!

by Nadia Distel

Setting up your classroom requires some forethought and planning, but once you have this right, you will be thankful. A poorly set up room can change a class of darlings into a class of demons, and it all depends on a few simple rules that I learned (the hard way!!!) to keep in mind when setting up my room.

1. Plan how you want to run your class room before you try to arrange furniture

How did you like things arranged when you had student teaching experiences? Did you prefer your students to be in rows so their attention was fully on you? Or did you prefer them to be seated in groups so they could interact with each other? This will largely depend on your teaching philosophy and personal preference, but it is important to consider this first, as you won't know what tools you need to achieve your dream classroom until you have that dream clearly defined in your mind.


2. When you have decided how you want to run your classroom, take stock of what you have and what you need.

I remember my very first teaching experience was in a school in Australia. I took over from an older teacher who had her students seated in rows, with very little room around the tables. I knew that I had enough desks for every student, but I had no tables for group work, no white board (only a very small old chalk board), a huge desk for me and a cupboard. I made a checklist of what I needed for my dream class room, then established what was absolutely necessary for me to be able to function. I went to my principal with this list and discussed with her where she thought I might be able to find some of this furniture. Interestingly, most of the things I needed were already in the school, but were unused in other rooms, locked away in cupboards, or stored in the car park! With a bit of creativity, I was able to transform these unused items into almost everything I needed to run my classroom.

If there is something that is absolutely necessary that is not available somewhere in the building, why don't you approach your principal about purchasing new items from a budget most closely relating to your area of need? If your school is of limited means, perhaps you could approach your principal about running a small fundraising drive or stall in order to access the funds you need? If this fails, perhaps you could ask permission to request parent donations of unwanted furniture, or approach local companies on the school's behalf to request sponsorship? The options are only limited by your imagination!


3. When you have everything you need, plan your room around your field of vision

I remember making a grave mistake once as a new teacher. I wanted to teach small groups in a corner of my room, and so I had their full attention, I seated them in a semi circle around me, with them facing out of the corner. Big mistake! I had no idea what the other 20 children were doing while I was teaching the small group, and so chaos temporarily reigned! Instead, seat yourself so you have a full range of vision of all students, even while teaching small groups.

For a complete KIT of resources to help get your teaching career off to a stellar start, visit . Downloadable, printable, editable resources, made by a teacher who did it the hard way. Don't reinvent the wheel!


About the Author

Nadia Distel is the author of the New Teachers Kit, which can be found at The New Teachers Kit is a downloadable, printable, editable kit of all the resources a student teacher or new graduate could ever need. It has helped thousands of graduates get that extra edge when student teaching.

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