Since I do not currently have my own classroom to reflect upon, I would like to reflect upon some random thoughts and observations that I've had about classrooms in general.
On Friday of last week, I subbed at a local high school. The room was set up in several straight rows, and there was a roll of tattered maps bolted above a chalk board. The temperature in the room was in the upper eighties for most of the day, even though four fans were intermittently blowing papers off of student desks.
At one point during the day, I had to project my voice over the rumbling engine of a riding lawn mower. Although I was doing my best to remain energetic, I was consciously aware of the sweat beading up on my nose, and I felt terrible for the students who were sticking to their hard, plastic seats.
I wish that classrooms were more comfortable for students and teachers. I know that air conditioning is expensive and not environmentally friendly, but it is difficult to learn when one is uncomfortable.
I have also been thinking about the fact that for some students, it's difficult to find any solitude or silence during the school day. Over the years, I have learned that a little bit of silence and stillness each day is vital for my mental well-being, and would probably benefit students as well.
The challenge of doing ones best learning in an environment that is noisy, crowded, and often stifling is one that I hope can be overcome by more flexible modes of instruction. Online courses, community based learning, and personalized learning beyond classroom walls is looking more and more enticing to me.