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I wish I had my own classroom

Daniel Hamilton talks about the pros and cons of not having your own classroom.

Daniel Hamilton, Maths Teacher, Glasgow City Council

I'm a Probationer Teacher, four months in. I wish I had my own classroom. It's not going to happen - probationers nearly always have to share other rooms. In fact, there's only one teacher from my PGDE course who has his own room. But I like to daydream about it - in my mind it would make everything perfect. I no longer want to play football for England or save the world using a combination of maths and power - now I just want to see 'Dr. Hamilton' on the front of a door.

Here's how it would make things better. Firstly, planning lessons would be a lot easier, as I'd definitely have a Smartboard, or definitely not have one. Either way I'd know what I was dealing with.

Secondly, organisation would become trivial, as I could simply keep a stash of important things on shelves in the room. Worksheets, textbooks, calculators, rulers, jotters, pencils, board pens, spare paper. It's a fairly short and predictable list of things a teacher needs, but it's too much for me to carry from room to room. The most important thing on the list is undoubtedly pencils. I've on to my fourth different pencil management strategy, and spend a large proportion of my waking hours thinking about pencils. If I had my own classroom I'd simply get a block of wood with ten holes drilled into it, and place that on the desk. In each slot would be a numbered pencil, and in less than a minute I could explain to the kids to take a pencil and put it back in the pencil block at the end of the lesson.

Thirdly, if I had my own classroom any problems with discipline would probably melt away instantly. I could establish that this room was 'my space', arranged just the way I like it. No more disarming questions about why I have a pair of high heels under my desk. No more surprises when I come in one day and the desks have been rearranged into a conga line. I've no seating plan for that, so I end up with another tricky sit-where-you-like lesson.

Finally, I could bring joy and personality to the world by displaying pupils’ work on my walls, and things that interest me too. How can you prepare properly for Pi Day when you'll be teaching in three different rooms?

Some of the supportive ex-probationers at my school have said that not having your own room is really a blessing, as it forces you to be extremely organised. I'm not sure if this is actually true, or it's just what people say to make you feel better. But I did find that nobody wanted to swap with me and give up their room, even after I explained to them how useful it would be for their long-term organisational skills.