As a retired teacher of 25+ years, setting up a classroom using the principles of feng shui can make a positive difference for students. Having set up several classrooms myself, I know space, especially a small space, can be a challenge. But even a little strategic Feng Shui placements can enhance the learning experience for teacher and students. Here you’ll learn a few Feng Shui tips to help you create an energy flow with balance and ease. Making the changes now can help bring a great new start to the new year.
Where to start?
Every classroom is for teachers and students, but teachers set the tone for the room and this is where their personal style can shine.
The classroom is the students’ home away from home as well, and that is why adding touches of the students’ products and accomplishments to the décor, no matter what the grade level, is important. It’s always good to integrate something that pupils relate to into the mix.
This is easy when teaching younger students, but for those of you teaching teens and college level students, you may need to brainstorm some ways to personalize the space for them as well. Items that represent their goals within the subject matter could be added. School colors, mascots and other signs or objects that build community are great choices too.
For example in a university business school computer lab, you could create a professional open office setting like you might find in a real office. This way the students will not only learn the research and skills the lab offers, at the same time envision themselves actually being employed and at work in the field.
For the teacher one of the most important placements in any classroom is his/her desk. Your desk must be in the power position. This means that when sitting at the desk, you have a view of the door to the classroom but are not in direct line with the door. Also try to have a solid wall at your back as in the diagram below. This is a most essential location for success in any career, but when you’re in a room full of energetic and enthusiastic learners, you will appreciate feeling more in command of the situation.
This can be a challenge in some classrooms where there are built-in tables, desks and storage units. School architects generally don’t utilize Feng Shui in their design, so get creative. You may even need to be persistent with the maintenance staff. Maybe creating a false wall behind you with curtains or screens or figure out how to requisition a new, high back chair to simulate a wall to your back. Find a way to give yourself the gift of the right placement.
Place Students in an Empowered Position
I know teachers find all kinds of ways to line up desks and some (like I did) change the desk arrangements often trying to get the right “feel” to the classroom. A teacher sitting at a desk in the power position has a greater chance of smiling more. Everyone in the room, students and teacher alike, can “feel” the imbalance. To avoid a constant shuffle, remember that you are in charge. Your desk, and only your desk, should be in the power position.
I’m not saying that you should make your students feel subconsciously uneasy. The ideal is to have no student with their back to the door. Try to arrange desks so students can, with a slight side glance, view the door if need be.
Some classrooms are very fluid with different stations that students travel to throughout the day. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to make every seat in the room be in exactly these positions. Your priority is to have the teacher’s main desk in the power position and, if each student has their own dedicated desk or seat, they have a side view of the door.
Here’s an example, not to scale, to give you an idea of what I mean by suggested teacher and student desk placement in relationship to the door and windows. No desk should be inline from the door to the direct opposite wall. Note: student desks could face the center of the room or diagonally.
Balance the Flow of Chi (a.k.a energy)
If there is an overabundance of straight lines in a classroom, it causes an excessive Chi flow.
Feng Shui is all about Chi, the energy that is in us as well as in everything around us. The purpose of Feng Shui is to balance the flow of Chi to help us feel more comfortable.
The goal is a classroom (your home too) that has a much smoother energy flow. Variety can help break up the straight lines of rows of desks. So staggering them in some way can create more unevenness, which helps.
Chi enters the classroom through the door from the hallway. When the door is lined up with an exterior window, chi will take a direct line out the window. Divert the energy back into the room by placing something in its path.
You could hang something from the ceiling, place a tall item on the windowsill or position a piece of furniture in the line from the door to the window. This will slow down and redirect the energy flow within the room and make it more tranquil.
Classrooms with an exterior clear glass door to the outside in addition to an interior door to the hallway is an issue. This not only creates another view to distract students from their work, it also divides the teacher’s attention. Solution, add colorful posters to the glass to “solidify” the door and block the view. Everyone will immediately feel safer and more at ease.
Find a Balance with Stuff!
Clutter is often an issue in many classrooms and is one of the biggest Feng Shui challenges. There is so much available to us that it is easy to overdo it. Remember what Goldilocks said? Not too big, not too small, just right. Keep an eye on the visual noise in your classroom and find that “just right” feeling. When does it become too much and turns into clutter?
Be mindful of the clutter saying: If you don’t use it or don’t love it, it’s clutter.
As you display students’ creations, be sure to remove the things that are no longer needed. Too much in any space creates visual and energetic clutter than can disrupt one of any age to become uncomfortable, antsy or overwhelmed.
Put away anything that you can, whether in built-in storage units, baskets and bins or other containers. The less you see out, the more calm can prevail for you and your students.
A Feng Shui principle says: Your things are talking to you all the time, so be sure they have good things to say!
Create Yin Transitions
Giving students the opportunity to transition from your classroom to their next space with ease and flow is important. If your class needs to line up, create a more comfortable feeling in the classroom by arranging the room so there is a quiet spot to line up.
Create a thoroughfare within the classroom so the kids can line up along an interior wall, avoiding the direct and more active Chi flow from the door. This can also subdue the over curious students of checking out the goings on in the hall.
For older students who normally jump right up and bolt out of the room, have them hand in their work or stack books and computers in the back of the room. The back is a more Yin part of the room and the short journey there will allow them to make a less crazy transition from the room.
You can also add an inner Feng Shui approach to creating a successful classroom atmosphere. As the teacher, what is your intention for your students? How about an intention for your career personally? Setting intentions helps develop our inner Feng Shui.
Once you have crystalized your intention, place an affirmation or visual picture of what you’d like to achieve somewhere in the classroom. One way you can really amplify your intentions is to use the Feng Shui Bagua Map in the classroom.
An item can be placed in each of these life areas (guas) that represents the highest intention for that specific gua. You and your students can create an intention for the year and display it prominently in the room. Your individual intentions can be written down and placed in a traditional Chinese red envelope (or in any red paper) under your desk blotter or taped to the underside of your desk if you don’t have a blotter.
When placing the Bagua Map over your classroom’s floor plan, use the primary entry door into the room. This is the interior door that adjoins the hallway of your school.
I am also available to help you place and optimize the Feng Shui Bagua areas of your classroom. Contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a telephone free 20 minute consultation.
Isn’t it exciting to have yet another valuable tool to improve you and your students’ school experience? Maximizing the potential of your students with a bit of Feng Shui in your classroom can make a huge difference when it comes to success.
If you know any classroom teachers, please share this post with them. Thanks!