The best place to start – physical space


not knowing

Starting a new role is exciting. The thrill of doing something new and different is incredibly grounding and sobering.

Taking that next step out of the classroom and stepping back into even more classrooms is a very humbling privilege.

I sat in my ‘office’ for the first time a few days ago and must admit I was feeling quite overwhelmed – in a good way.

“Where do I even begin?”

I felt blank and the urge of panic was creeping in and about to take a hold on me.

I have an inordinate amount of things to do and don’t even know where to start. So, I sat there in that moment to quiet myself and regain some composure.

Anytime Sam and I have ran or lead anything to do with teaching and learning there is still one we’ve always started before pedagogy. The physical space. This is often overlooked yet it sets the tone for everything you do.

Create the space you want to be in, feel, think and do. Let that space reflect and be an extension of who you are and what you want to be about.

I did just that….. moved furniture, emptied old draws, put folders aside, made a list of the things and furniture I would need to make the space show who I am and what I value.


From this point on, I was able to chip away at all the other things. I felt comfortable and there was a sense of calm and peace in the way I approached that endless list which buried me before.

As we all start again a new year, whatever your position or role, start with the physical space first.

What does your space say about you?

What mood do you want to create?

How will others feel when they are in that space?

How does your space allow you to do things even better?

Are students part of your thinking and designing? How?

Now, before you do anything else, think about the space you want to be in. It is just like your bedroom, you spend just as many hours in it, yet you are actually awake. Make it special!


  1. Ann

    I couldn’t agree with you more, once the physical space is organized the mind works more efficiently. Good luck with your new venture!

    • concentricthinking

      Sam…. what are you going to do about that? Make that your first priority – set up the year for success. Mood and flow. I am meeting the Primary secretary tomorrow to discuss options for a Lao wooden couch and coffee table.
      How about when we give each other 2-3 weeks to work on our spaces and share what we did to enhance them. I know you have added challenges sharing with someone. Still there are ways you can make the most of it! Remember, we should lock in a weekly time to share, connect and ping pong back and forth. I look forward to that very much!

    • concentricthinking

      Didn’t even cross my mind. You are very right in putting this forward. Digital calendars, folders, archived documents and on and on. All about systems thinking with this one. How quickly can you find things and dredge it up?

  2. Lyneth Magsalin

    Hi Chad,
    This is a great reflection not just for you and others on this role ,but also for teachers as we prepare for our classrooms to start the year. Personally, I am at a point of thinking that I do want to have a comfortable space that kids can be alone if they want to or work as a group. However, I am also thinking would that be a wise move to start the year or would I rather ease on to it as they have established procedures and we have at least created a respectful learning community.

    I wish you all the best in your new role and would love to continue learning and connecting with you. 🙂

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