Classroom Spaces Where Great and Magical Things Can Happen

Classroom spaces (virtual or physical) are special. We tend to take them for granted, partly because spaces in general have become less differentiated. We don’t do certain things in specified places like we used to. We work at home, on planes, and in various public spaces. We eat in our cars and in front of the TV. We use our devices everywhere—bathrooms, bedrooms, churches, cars, elevators, street corners, and, yes, classrooms.
I want to use this post to remind us, as a new academic year approaches, that classrooms are unique spaces—sacred in the sense that what happens in a classroom can changes lives. They’re spaces dedicated to learning, where students find the motivation to learn, and where learning happens in conjunction with others and from others. Classroom learning is expedited by an expert, one who has a sincere commitment to fostering the learning of others. That expert is responsible for directing the learning and judging whether it has occurred and to what degree.
Rarely does the physical classroom space convey its significance. At the postsecondary level, classrooms are shared spaces, with teachers and students coming and going from rooms that don’t belong to any of them. I envy K–12 educators who have their own classrooms; I envy how they can give those spaces identities and make them recognizable so that students come to their “home” rooms. Most of us do have office spaces we can make our …