I go on Pinterest and immediately feel my chest start to constrict. There are SO MANY perfect teachers out there. Have you seen them? Their classrooms are perfect. Their activities and games have cute, engaging little graphics. These teachers have clearly spent hours on the perfect craft projects, bulletin boards, and anchor charts. They have cute, curly handwriting for all of their hand-made posters. They take time to use fancy fonts on their worksheets.
I use Pinterest for ideas and it’s a great way for us teachers to collaborate across the country and share what’s working in our rooms. But I cannot bring myself to spend the time it takes to make my bulletin boards, anchor charts and games Pinterest-worthy. Maybe it is trying to balance a family and teaching, or maybe I am just not a perfectionist.
I appreciate that there are perfectionists out there. I love the cute classrooms and perfectly written anchor charts. And I’m jealous, I really am, because no matter how creative or clever I think I am being my final products never turn out to be quite ready for Pinterest. The idea is there but the handwriting is off and the pictures are smudged. My SMART board lessons always have good activities in them that promote meaningful learning, but they just aren’t cute and they’re definitely not perfectly lined up. I don’t mind putting in hours and hours of work after school, I just can’t get myself to do it to make something look cute.
There are days I wish I was more of a perfectionist when it comes to classroom activities. Most of these days are when we bring ideas to share to team meetings and everyone else has card games it looks like they developed at a professional graphic design studio. Usually I’m holding a deck of playing cards and explaining a simple math game that will enhance an understanding of number sense. It’s not that I threw an idea together at the last minute, it’s that I chose to use the playing cards instead of making a new, cute deck.
But then there are the days, like today, where I am trying to manage my time, get my paperwork in, check on some teacher resources to try to get updated research to support what I’m teaching, AND trying to plan lessons. At times like these, I just have to let the cute go and focus on how and what the kids learn.
We love our Pinteresting co-workers. We love the ideas they find, and the activities they lovingly put together, and their knack at finding the perfect font for each different activity. But, I think we non-Pinterest teachers need to stick together. We must remind ourselves that success in our classrooms is not defined by cuteness or perfection. Our children don’t become better readers because we’ve spent hours on a bulletin board.
So, for all you non-Pinterest teachers out there (I know it can’t just be me) I’m giving you permission to relax, come out of hiding, and tell yourself it’s OK that your stuff isn’t ready for Pinterest primetime. Even if you teach kindergarten.