There is no Pier One for teachers.

We all enjoy a good oxymoron, don’t we? There are some beauties. Government organization. Act naturally. Jumbo shrimp. The list goes on and on. Faithful readers, I submit for your approval a phrase that must absolutely be considered an oxymoron of gargantuan proportions: Tasteful Classroom Decorations.

As I’ve been preparing my room for students these past few weeks, it’s become very clear to me that teacher supply manufacturers are not only unaware that earth tones exist, but that apparently they are fined if fully 20% of their bulletin board trimmers don’t feature an apple. And writing that looks as if it was scrawled with a piece of chalk, that’s a favorite as well. So in the land of kitties contorting to form all the letters of the alphabet and American flags incorporated in to any design regardless of the appropriateness, a.k.a. “Any Teacher Supply Store in the Country”, you would think that my best bet is just to find a solid color trim and go with it. Right. You would think that and I would think it, too. Except that in addition to avoiding state & local fines by including apples, they must also be abiding by a Federal mandate requiring them to print only fully-saturated colors. “No Tacky Bulletin Board Left Behind”.

So, where is the classroom decor for the rest of us? A Google search for “tastefully decorating your classroom” yields zero – count ’em – zero results. Remove the quotes around the phrase and you get a mild 650 hits that have absolutely nothing to do with rescuing a teacher from neon green-induced insanity.

On the one hand, I can hear the argument that you want the classroom decor to be vibrant and loud. You gotta capture your kids attention and bright colors are what they want to see. Ok, sure. But you know what else? At some point they’ve got to learn that there are color combinations out there that don’t vibrate when you stare at them for at least 6 seconds! But, at present I must confess that my room is a victim of the very thing I’ve been railing against (minus the flags and kittens). The “Getting to Know Famous Artists” bulletin board has an orange backing with the loudest blue trim that has ever existed. It is hideous. On another wall, “Cultural Trimmers” (that’s what the package actually said) frame information side-by-side in a brutal competition for the USF Title. Ugliest Square Foot.

*sigh* C’est la vie. I have taken some steps towards reclaiming my room one display at a time. I’ve created a few custom posters that I had printed out at Kinko’s and as the years go by I hope to amass a collection of moderately tasteful signs that can counteract the typical Teacher Supply Store fodder.

It’s a galactic battle,
A cosmic struggle,
An epic tug of war.

So I’ll fight on,
Until the neon is gone,
From all my classroom decor.

4 thoughts on “There is no Pier One for teachers.”

  1. Hey there… you might check out some scrapbook supplies… they have all sorts of stickers, boarders and card stock to decorate w/… just think, your classroom could be one big scrapbook page and all yours to create… Lovya!!!

  2. I feel your pain, B. But before you get too frustrated, just remember that bright cheery colors are what stimulate the mind and jump start thinking. That’s why so many infant toys are bright neon or primary colors, polka-dotted and whatnot. Have you considered using fabric for your bulletin board backgrounds? My mom does that and it looks really nice. And there’s WAY more options there for you, I bet. Good luck!

  3. Oh my gosh, Brian – YOU are an ARTIST! You don’t need Pier One!! The Pier One SuperStore is in your brain! You know before slice and bake cookies, there were original cookie creations! And well, yes – they take longer to make…And yes, require more thought, improvising, TLC, etc. But take a walk through an elementary building, and you’ll see a few rooms with decor that will knock your sox off! And Christi is right about the colors…BS

  4. Great suggestions! I like the fabric idea a lot. Maybe I can find a fabric store around here and beg, borrow and/or steal some scraps. Well…maybe I should just beg. Borrowing wouldn’t do much good and stealing might cost me my job. Not to mention it blowing any chance I ever have at the Governorship. As if my picture in a Union uniform hasn’t already done that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>