By: Christian Lengkeek
When I was asked to write and take readers of the Waltonian “into the classroom,” I thought I would take the request literally and give classrooms of Eastern their due respect. Students often write about teachers and courses and labs and textbooks, but when was the last time someone acknowledged classrooms themselves? The classrooms are the bones of education. Without them, we would have no school. But they are even more important than this. They also subconsciously move our thoughts when we sit in them. Sure, the teacher’s rhetoric is more powerful, but I am willing to claim that most students who don’t pay attention learn more from the environment of the classroom than the actual teacher.
Each classroom puts me into a slightly different frame of mind. ELC classrooms either make me fall asleep or make me feel like I am on a trip to the dentist. McInnis classrooms give me no end of confusion since every wall is painted with a different random color. Andrews’ classrooms give me the same feelings I get when seeing one of Oppenheimer’s 1940s labs. I am actually the most focused in Walton 3. I am not sure why this is, but I do give some credit to the beauty of the room itself.
I chose McInnis 120 because I feel like it is as average as something that is average can get. But despite this, there are many small details (hidden within its obvious monotony) that I am sure you never noticed. For example, did you know that under the light switch is a small piece of beige tape that says “LTG–PNL–CKT–1?” Or did you know that instead of a clock, there is just a flat, blue circle with a screw sticking out of it? I am sure you never noticed that there is a strange, small electrical box in the lower left-hand corner that looks like an old, unused piece of telephone machinery.
The yellow, taped lines on the floor don’t make much sense to me. At first, they seem to be chair row markers, but as they get near the front they become more and more unaligned with the chairs. The paint scheme doesn’t make sense either. The left wall is painted blue, the right wall is painted two different shades of beige, and the front wall is half beige and half a color that might be called pink.
Classrooms are like most people I have had the chance to hang out with. They’ve got their flaws, and they’ve got their virtues. I am pleased to report that McInnis 120 has seven markers all of which work: three blacks, two browns, one blue and one red. I would suggest avoiding the blue though, because it’s pretty dry.
One thing I find fascinating about classrooms is that a close inspection can yield very interesting findings. I pulled up one desk at random and found three pieces of green gum on the back. I considered pulling up every desk in the room and creating a tally of pieces of gum and sorting them by color (and maybe flavor), but this plan seemed time-consuming and kind of gross.
While sitting in McInnis 120, I realized I never look at the ceilings of my classrooms. I certainly hadn’t known that McInnis 120 has two large water stains on its ceiling. Also, I hadn’t realized how many blank, crooked switch covers it has. Finally, there is a mysterious yellow cabinet on the left side. I thought I might uncover some deadly Eastern secret if I got it opened. Sadly, it was unlocked and all it contains is some random scientific-looking instruments that appear to be a cross between a printer and a microscope.
Well, those are my observations. Next time you get a chance (preferably not during class but if the class is boring feel free to try it then too) take a look around your classroom and see what you notice. If you are really bored, check and see how much gum is under your desk.