Also known as walls. Or bulletin boards. Or display cases. Or ceilings. Or floors. Big empty spaces that are yours to do what you will with. Are they going to waste?
I see those enormous blank spaces, frequently, as squandered opportunities. Not for commercial marketing, but for reinforcing learning and boosting school connectivity. I do see occasionally entire walls swallowed up by team pride, but rarely if ever do I see them taken up with poignant thoughts, practical tips, or positive reinforcement for students’ achievements off the playing field. Readers, poets, violinists or chemists are lucky to get a minor mention in a drab display case gathering dust somewhere in a dingy back hallway.
In one school I visited there were entire hallways covered with sports plaques, so I was pleased to see another display hanging at the door to the music room and went to check it out. More sports plaques.
Now there’s nothing wrong with supporting your athletes, but we can’t all be quarterbacks. Some of us might have to settle for being future Nobel prize winners, or school teachers, or world leaders. The message sent to those who are snubbed is fairly clear: you are of no consequence. Sure, we talk about the value of schooling, but don’t expect us to trumpet it all about.
Fortunately, there are some bright spots. Pictured above is one from Cottage Grove, Oregon. There, a brilliant librarian celebrated great readers with personalized posters of the kids posing with their favorite books.