HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO)– School begins on Thursday for students at Harrisburg North Middle School.
It’s Viana Waldner’s first year as a teacher. Setting up her classroom has been a big task, since she is starting from scratch.
“It’s just been a lot to try to plan ahead and think like what might come up this year, what might I need, how can I best support my students in their learning that I want them to achieve this year and just trying to do that without having previous experience has been a bit of a challenge,” Waldner said.
The school has helped with a few supplies and other classroom basics. Waldner wanted to create a reading corner for her students, but it would be an expensive project.
“This was going to be a little space in my classroom that had a whole bunch of different books for my students to choose from, different genres that they might be interested in and I wanted to allow some flexible seating, different comfy spots that my students could sit around the room to read these books that they enjoy,” Waldner said.
She bought some of the items herself, but also turned to Donors Choose, an organization where people can buy supplies for teachers. In just one week, the project was fully funded.
For others who have been teaching for a long time, it is about adding items and recreating their spaces.
“I have been teaching, this is starting my my 17th year and up until last year everything I did was bright and colorful. I had neon colors and just made it very fun for the kids,” Bridget Leach, 6th Grade ELA teacher said.
During the pandemic, Leach decided she wanted to turn her space into something more calm and relaxing. She changed all the decorations and added lights.
“When I teach, I just really dim my lights so I help to make it calm, it just kind of helps set the tone and helps manage behavior as well,” Leach said.
Leach has collected items throughout her career to set up her classroom and purchased items herself, but in the past she has also utilized wish lists, where parents supported her cause.