Every instructor has likely walked into a room and thought, “Oh, no. How am I going to teach in this room?” The classroom might be in the basement and have no light or have more chairs shoved into it than it truly fits. I am used to hacking the classrooom and making it work. This might mean working with what I have and making the best of it. I have to walk and work the classroom and it is imperative that I have a place to move–to pace.
I also need to see students’ faces. I am pretty good at reading a room and I need to see the ephiphanies or looks of boredom so that I can respond. I will ask students to not sit in the very back or if they must multi-task to do so in the back of the classroom. I try to set up the etiquette guidelines during the first week. I explain my expectations, then what they can expect from me. I have moved our classroom furniture, booked lab space for one day, and booked a different classroom for group exercises. I will do what it takes to the make the classroom ours, and make it work.
The image below is from the National Forum on Active Learning Classrooms. We were using playdough to make our ideal learning space.