A few years ago, I went on a bit of a spending spree at allposters.ca in an effort to spruce up my classroom. I had been bounced between rooms for a few years, and finally found myself with a "home" for all my classes. I'm a big believer that students will respect a space that is well taken care of, and I wanted to make my room more visually appealing.
I picked up the usual gamut of topical posters (International Space Station; Famous Scientists; "sqrt(-1) 2^3 sigma pi... and it was delicious" is one of the students' favourites) as well as some encouraging ones, but there was one that I bought mostly for myself:
It hangs by the main door to the room, right over the communal table of scissors, markers, extra pencils and scrap paper (also our coffee club's Corner of Exclusion), and right beside the intercom and our Canadian flag.
Should anyone ask, I placed it there so students might glance at it while retrieving various implements (or when leaving the room at the end of class) and reflect, albeit for a microsecond, on one of the topics. But really, I placed it there so that while I'm at the front of the room, facing the flag for O Canada, I can pause just for that moment, and reflect on one of the topics myself.
Some days I pick one to focus on for the day. Some days, I read through them all to remind myself of what's important. Though I see it every day, I often find new meaning in many of the topics, or am able to link things back to what happened the day before. It settles me - in the 60 seconds it takes to play the anthem - and steadies me for the day.
What inspires you in the morning? How do you steel yourself for the chaos that is the teaching day? I would love to hear your thoughts!