The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Minimalist Teacher

by | Feb 25, 2019

Let’s talk minimalism. And, not just in decor and objects, but in mindset as well. And, the impact of streamlining our school day, physically and mentally, for ourselves and our students.

What is minimalism?

First off, let’s set the record straight on what minimalism really is and is not.

Minimalism is not doing away with all your possessions and teaching in a stark white room with a single light bulb dangling.

Minimalism IS a way of living thoughtfully and considering the VALUE of the items and tasks that choose.The Insider's Guide to Being a Minimalist Teacher

What does it mean to be a minimalist teacher?

A minimalist teacher utilizes the basic principles of minimalism to help “declutter” their classroom, mind, and teaching, in order to better focus on what matters most.

Minimalism has the potential to infuse a much-needed calm and focus into the hectic school day. Click To Tweet

Let’s start with the classroom

Consider how refreshing it feels to have a clean space in your home. How you feel calmer, you can think clearer, and rest easier. Now, look around your classroom. What feelings do you think it incites?

If you’re anything like me, the beginning of my school years start out pretty organized and clutter-free, but as the school year goes on stacks begin to pile, supplies begin to combine, and all of a sudden the classroom space isn’t what I intended.

Being a minimalist teacher means that you are thinking of the value of what you choose to have around you and your students. So, when attempting to “minimalize” your classroom, consider these questions:

“Minimalize” your classroom items

1. Does this item serve a purpose?
2. Does it make a positive impact in my classroom?
3. Is this item necessary?
4. How would the classroom dynamic change without it?
5. Where should this item be located?

You don’t have to purge your classroom to be a minimalist teacher, you don’t have to “Kon Mari” your space to find joy in your classroom. However, being thoughtful of what you choose to include within the space does make an impact on your day and your students’.


The minimalist mindset in teaching

Changing your mindset is a process. It can be slower, but even more rewarding than transforming your space. Because by moving toward a minimalist mindset you are transforming your relationship with the world around you. You become interested more in experience over things, process over product, and learning over curriculum.

A minimalist teacher values the act of learning and enjoys the process because they aren’t as caught up in collecting proof. That’s not to say that a minimalist teacher doesn’t comply with what is required or that they reject accountability, it just means that their perspective is changed by their renewed focus on the necessities. So, when attempting to “minimalize your mindset toward teaching, consider these questions:

“Minimalize” your mindset

1. Does this project serve a purpose or is it just “filler”?
2. Will this task make a positive impact on my students’ learning?
3. Is it necessary?
4. What would student learning look like without this assignment?
5. How can I transform this project to be more focused on student goals?
Time isn't on a teachers' side. There is never enough time to get it all done. However, a minimalist mindset can streamline planning and instruction time. Click To Tweet

Adopting a more minimalist approach to teaching can be a benefit to you and your students. While you enjoy a calmer space and a clearer sense of focus your students are benefiting from a calmer, focused teacher ready, a serene learning environment, and a streamlined learning experience.

If you enjoyed this article you may be interested in these resources:

Your Classroom Design Impacts How You Feel

12 Tips to Find the Calm in A Hectic School Day

The Joy in Teaching Books

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