Goodbye Room A-205

Goodbye Room A-205

For the past 13 years Room A-205 has been my classroom.

However, due to some logistical changes coming next school year, I accepted to move to a new classroom. I’m just down the hall but as my long-time hallway neighbor joked, “it’s like being a thousand miles away.”

A-205 was the first classroom I didn’t have to share with another teacher. Which is a big deal for teachers. Your first classroom is like your first home. It’s were you grew up. Laughing, crying, yelling, screaming, complaining, congratulating and learning. It’s a little crowded, a little loud, a little imperfect–but it was yours.

I want to share with you the 13 Maxims of Classroom A-205. I developed these maxims a few years ago and give them to my students at the beginning of each year. They are the concrete of every lesson I teach all year.

13 Classroom Maxims of A-205 (or how to be a good person, fearless writer, and better student):

  1. Perfection is the enemy.
  2. The process is just as important as the final product. (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People– Stephen R. Covey)
  3. Failure is the perfect opportunity for growth.
  4. Success in high school does not mean success in life.
  5. Independence is great. Interdependence is better.
  6. If you think you’re the smartest person in this room you should find a new room.
  7. Do. Reflect. Improve.
  8. Your voice is the most powerful thing you own.
  9. Character is having the courage to claim ownership of your actions.
  10. You will become stronger when you embrace your vulnerabilities.
  11. To be uncertain is to be human.
  12. Do not believe your own fiction.
  13. The most important thing to learn in high school is self-awareness.

Instead of classroom rules, I have these maxims–fundamental truths that reach beyond the sedentary walls of a school building. My goal is to make students masters of maxims because frankly, they can’t be mastered.

By year’s end, I want all of my students to adopt an appreciation of each maxim. I want them to know that they’re still in the infancy of learning. And if they can appreciate these maxims–I believe– they will leave high school better people. 

I will miss A-205. The way the afternoon sun streams through the windows. The way the speaker refuses to stop humming. And the way the thermostat never seemed to work.

I will miss my colleagues–my hallway neighbors. The people I laughed with, complained to, borrowed stationary from, and who made me a better teacher.

A bulletin board in A-205.

A-205 is the place I grew up. Like a hometown. And a hometown is where you learn about people, learn to connect, learn to let go, learn to struggle, learn to laugh with others, learn to laugh at yourself, learn how to dream even when dreaming was the last thing you wanted to do.

It’s where you learn to recognize yourself in others.

It’s where you learn our youth becomes forever when we find meaning in our life.

It’s where you learn that everyone has a story and that every story matters.

Be well,


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