My Classroom Doesn’t Need to Be Cute For My Students to Learn


My Classroom Doesn't Need to Be Cute For My Students to Learn

I see so many “perfect” Pinterest classrooms posted on social media. Many have design features that would put the Imagineers at Disney World to shame. And just like visiting Disney World, it’s fun to look at, but I have no desire to recreate it myself or to move in. My issue isn’t with those who choose to spend their time and money this way. My problem is with the expectation that all teachers’ classrooms need to be so Instagram “worthy.”  Here’s why I’m not giving in to the pressure – and I don’t feel guilty about it. 

I’m a highly trained teacher, not an interior decorator.

I have a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in special needs. Inside of a messy filing cabinet drawer is a very disorganized folder literally bursting at the seams with certificates from workshops, classes, and in-service trainings I’ve attended. I’ve invested significant time and money to be a very knowledgeable teacher. If I wanted to be an interior decorator I would have put my time and money into that field of study.

Process over product” is my motto.

Most Pinterest classrooms feature work made by teachers. I prefer to focus on the child’s work even if the frog is painted hot pink instead of green, letters are backward, or the googly eyes are glued on hands instead of feet. My classroom walls contain the work of my students, created through their own process. If a bulletin board or door display looks particularly well put together, I haven’t come over to the other side. Sometimes I have students who love arts and crafts and I allow them to have at it. 

I don’t want to spend my money on elaborate classroom elements.

Creating Pinterest classrooms is expensive! I fall into the trap of spending my own money on classroom supplies, but I focus on books, sensory products, and hands-on activities for my students. Just like some people choose to spend their money on cars, while others spend it on travel, this is just my preference. 

And I really don’t want to spend my time on cutesy Pinterest classroom designs.

I value my time even more than my money. There’s no way I’m spending it cutting, printing, pasting, etc. outside of school hours just to make my classroom cute. And I’m not asking my partner, kids, or friends to give up their free time to help me either.  

I’m too busy learning new teaching technology to master a Cricut.

I’m teaching virtually for the first time, while also having students in-person. There are so many new digital platforms to navigate and best practices in online learning to research. I’m not tech-savvy. I basked in my achievement for days when I finally mastered the document camera. I have zero interest in the Cricuts and other crafting gadgets that help create Pinterest classrooms.

Perfect is boring – and stressful. 

Color-coded bookshelves and meticulously labeled and organized supply closets cause me anxiety. There’s no way I can keep up with that level of perfection without it taking time away from what I truly value – having deep, meaningful interaction with my students during school hours and then enjoying my personal time off. Besides, perfect is boring. I encourage my students to embrace their uniqueness. 

Let’s talk about being “worthy” of social media showcasing.

Being a Pinterest teacher seems like a lot of pressure to make sure your classroom is “ready” or “worthy” of photo ops at all times. Are kids learning in your room? Are you building relationships, making connections, and inspiring students to be their best selves? Then you’re more than worthy and you don’t need likes on Instagram or to be part of the #teacherhypehouse on TikTok to prove it. 

Just like it’s okay for some of us to keep things simple in our classrooms, it’s also perfectly fine if you want to go all out! No judgment here. I just hope the teachers spending time and money on Pinterest classrooms are doing it because they truly enjoy it. Interior design isn’t in the teacher job description and shouldn’t be expected of us – by administration, parents, students, or each other. However, I do enjoy seeing the joy some of my colleagues take in expressing their creativity with Pinterest classrooms. There’s plenty of room in the world of education for all sorts of teachers and just because we have different priorities doesn’t mean one way is better. 

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My Classroom Doesn't Need to Be Cute For My Students to Learn

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She’s been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga.
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