Undoubtedly we have all heard the saying, “don’t miss the forest for the trees”. This saying stresses the importance of not being so focused on the small details that you forget to see the big picture. As a society we are increasingly becoming more obsessed with the small details and that has found its way into our jobs. No job is immune to this phenomenon and one of the fields that has strangely seen a great impact is teaching.
The Social Media Ready Classroom
For many teachers and especially the younger teachers, this focus on small details has led to a focus on the small details of their classroom. Some teachers focus on such things like:
- The smell of the classroom.
- The lighting of the classroom.
- Class decorations.
- Board borders.
- The aesthetic appeal of the
- Shared spaces
For many, they have an ideal image of their classroom being social media ready. For others they insist that their classroom needs to be a calming environment for them to work in. However, many are so focused on the minute details of their classroom and controlling things at the tiniest level that they have forgotten the bigger picture. They are so focused on the tree in front of them they have forgotten that they are in a large forest.
Many find themselves burnt out and struggling to maintain their level of perfection for the whole year. Others find that the things they have done to make their classroom cute and social media ready isn’t setting themselves or their students up for success, and soon become frustrated in the time that they have wasted. An even smaller percentage find what makes their ideal classroom actively work against the success of their students and hinders their growth. Something no educator wants to see.
The Solution. Starting with a Curriculum Map Template
For those who are ready to make a change and start thinking about the big picture, the solution is simple. Stop comparing your classroom to the ones you see on social media and pull up a curriculum map. A curriculum map template can be extremely helpful in making sure you aren’t missing the forest for the trees. A curriculum map template helps teachers begin planning their classroom and the curriculum within it on what students need to walk away with at the end of the year. Educators are able to focus on the big picture and then work down to focus on things as they come up.
This isn’t to say that classrooms should be devoid of character and charm. Those should be the finishing touches on a well crafted and planned out classroom. Starting with the curriculum and attending to the small details later allows teachers to be:
- Goal focused
- Create arrangements and environments that:
- Enhance student learning
- Enhance goal oriented behavior
- Enhance instructional priorities
Think about when you were a student. Do you remember all the small details of the classroom or the lessons the teacher provided that made you think?