Teachers decorate classrooms to inspire students


Shams Mohajerani

SWS chemistry teacher Steve Lantos’ room barely has a white space on the wall. Lantos believes decorated classrooms inspire students.

Paul Miller-Schmidt, Staff Writer

A Japanese pachinko machine hides in a corner, surrounded by posters and books. On the left side of the classroom, there sits a bookcase filled with games, textbooks and travel guides, some written by chemistry teacher Steve Lantos himself.

According to Lantos, classroom decorations as a whole can have subtle effects on a student’s learning experience and can help develop community.

“It may be disorienting to some [students]. It may be exciting or challenging to others,” Lantos said. “I would like to think that it inspires, opposed to just having four blank, white walls.”

Lantos said his room embodies his interests but has been affected by his students over the years.

“My room is an extension of my personality. It is a little messy, it’s kind of disorganized, but it is very busy,” he said. “This is me. You are looking at me on the walls.”

School-Within-a-School history teacher Jen Martin also has a highly decorated classroom. However, Martin says that her room is more representative of the SWS community than her own personal interests.

SWS teacher Jen Martin's decorated room. Her room is inspired by the SWS community.
SWS teacher Jen Martin’s decorated room. Her room is representative of the SWS community. SHAMS MOHAJERANI FOR THE SAGAMORE

“This room is owned by so many people if you think about it. It is my history classroom, but it is also town meeting.  It is where a lot of committees meet,” Martin said. “I think that the eclectic nature of everything and the weirdly un-unified nature of all of it is what unifies it.”

A velociraptor decorates the wall in Martin's classroom. The velociraptor is SWS' mascot.
A velociraptor decorates the wall in Martin’s classroom. The velociraptor is SWS’ mascot. SHAMS MOHAJERANI FOR THE SAGAMORE

Band Director Carolyn Castellano said she styled her room with signed pictures of musicians and souvenirs from class trips.

“I think the purpose is to make students feel like it’s not just a room for school,” she said. “It is a room for you to feel comfortable in, that you feel safe taking risks in.”

Castellano said she thinks that having all the decorations helps foster a sense of community and unity and that every single person who walks through the room plays a role in its identity.

Castellano believes every student that walks impacts the band room's environment.
Castellano believes every student that walks impacts the band room’s environment. SHAMS MOHAJERANI FOR THE SAGAMORE

“You just want to have a representation of what’s going on. You don’t want to forget who’s been here before because the students can relate to that,” she said. “Hundreds of people, even if they were here for one semester, for one class, embody the spirit of this room.”

Sophomore Eva Earnest said the classroom decorations in her classes help her and other students feel more comfortable.

“It makes a better environment to learn in,” she said. “It gets students to realize how the subject is applied all around the world.”

Castellano said that the community that is encouraged by interesting decorations has a strong and lasting effect.
“Some of those students whose pictures are up there are 30 years old now and I’m still in touch with them and they come into town and we hang out,” she said. “It’s kind of like a family.”