Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What is on your classroom wall?

Here is a post that I figured I would have done years ago, but I just never got around to it... until yesterday, when I had the presence of mind to remember the digital camera before I trotted off to work.

You can often tell a lot about a teacher based on what he or she plasters on the classroom wall. Since our classroom is essentially our second home, it helps to put up posters and paraphernalia that comfort us, and not just our students. Here are some examples of what adorns the walls of my classroom, and remember to click on the image if you can't read it:

Many a student has been amused and informed by this political philosophy poster. The different philosophies are explained through the ownership of cows. My favorite is the one on democracy. It pulls no punches on that extremely flawed system.

I often have to explain this one to my students, but the light bulb is bright once it appears over their heads. You can see the sheep following each other over the cliff to their deaths, but right in the middle of the crowd is one sheep headed the other direction, and saying, "excuse me, excuse me". The poster harks back to that parent tested/parent approved line, "Well, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?"

This poster shows the city of Rome as it looked at its height of power. I bought this poster in 2003 at a kiosk inside - where else? - the Coliseum in Rome.

Above the sink is my shrine to Mount Shasta. Above that is my beloved Navy Jack "Don't Tread on Me" flag. When students ask me what that means, I tell them it was our polite and patriotic 18th century way of telling the world not to "ahem" with us.

To prove I'm not a total political partisan in my classroom, I have dedicated this section of the wall to political campaign posters and paraphernalia. The two little buttons off to the left are of the Gore/Lieberman campaign of 2000 and the Clinton/Gore '96 campaign. I'm looking forward to this next election cycle so I can get some truly memorable campaign signs!

A U.S. History classroom wouldn't be a U.S. History classroom without a framed reproduction of the Declaration of Independence!

I forget the first time I ever heard this statement, but it has stuck with me for years. This is for all those students who screw off all semester, and then want me to spend hours grading and entering all their late work so they can play in that basketball game tomorrow. Perhaps that is why I stopped accepting late work this semester. The only problem with that sign is that my students never seem to know what necessitate means.

I bought this photo of General Robert E. Lee in early 2001 at the gift shop located within the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania. Touring that battlefield was one of the best days of my life. I did it on foot, and I did it alone.

I have a quite a few somber posters on my wall as well. The first one is this picture and quote of Simon Wiesenthal. In a very eloquent way, he is saying, "Freedom isn't free."

On September 11, 2002, the Sacramento Bee ran this special insert that I laminated and has adorned every classroom of mine ever since. Students are often cowed by the sheer number of names on the paper. Seeing that has a lot more impact than just simply hearing the number.

I do my best to never let my students forget the sacrifices our members of the military of have made since the founding of our country. That list on the green sheet shows the dead and wounded from every major conflict in which our country has fought. The hardest part for me is occasionally updating the figures from our current war. Notice I don't call it "The War on Terror."

And finally, my latest addition, which I put up just two days ago. Yes, it arrived in the mail, and I finally found the time to post it behind my desk. I got a lot of curiosity about it from my students, including one Hispanic girl who told me, "You know, a lot of people in Mexico like him."
The teacher who occupies the classroom next door to mine - the one who has an actual Che Guevara poster hanging above his desk - has yet to see this poster. I'm not sure what his reaction will be. I mean, this guy's emails have an automatic signature that says Hasta La Victoria Siempre, which Che was fond of saying. That's how much of a Che-phile this guy is. The teacher is a great guy, but his politics are scary.

Good Day to You, Sir


rightwingprof said...

You did Gettysburg on foot? That must have been a long day -- Gettysburg is very large.

Chanman said...

It was long indeed; freezing too. But it was worth it.

Don, American said...

Isn't "political philosophy" an oxymoron?

Chanman said...

Whoops! Actually, I've been using the word "philosophies", when I meant to use the word "Ideologies" like it says on the poster.

Aww, cut me some slack... I wrote this post at 5 in the morning! ;)

Anonymous said...

You've got balls Chanman, either that or work in school much more conservative than where I work.


Anonymous said...

My comment sure sounds garbled. I've been working with teens for too long.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Gettysburg on horseback is pretty amazing as well. My favorite time there is in the fall when most of the tourists have headed south.

I ordered one of those Victims of Che posters myself although it hasn't arrived. I hope it gets here in time for hubby's Christmas stocking.

Darren said...

As regards your next door neighbor: there are many people who are nice people, but are just wrong wrong wrong when it comes to politics.

Most of them are liberals :-)