First off, no more subway. I was schlepping bag after heavy bag on the subway for years. All of those materials I had bought at Staples during my big shop had to make their way to a different borough on 2 different trains. Now, I finally broke down and bought a used car. I had wanted one for awhile, but never thought it was practical since it would have been a 45 minute ride and $11 in tolls per day plus $10 for a lot if I couldn't find designated parking at my old school. My new school is only 15 minutes away from my home and involves no tolls!!!! While there is no designated parking, there is plenty of street parking and a $5/day lot just in case.
Secondly, no more stairs. My old school did not have an elevator or dumbwaiter of any sort so everything had to be carried up the stairs (the building was 5 stories). Even though my classroom was on the 2nd floor, it was added stress thinking about the stairs or making multiple trips for things.
Thirdly, no more sweat. I can remember setting up at my old school dripping sweat and needing water desperately (and there was no drinkable water in the building). It was just hot and dusty and sweaty and disgusting for the first month of school. My new school has central air. I actually needed a sweater the other day when I was setting up my classroom library.
I know the building and the commute shouldn't matter so much, but they really do! It is such a pleasure to drive to school, park, wheel my cart of stuff to the building, take the elevator up, and enter a cool, clean, classroom.
This year, I decided to go with earth tones for the bulletin boards. I had taken a class at Bank Street last year and admired how their classrooms were so simple. No clutter, not too flashy or bright. I papered my boards with plain brown butcher block paper this year with a green "fern" border. I brought in tons of plants, including a vine that has grown to almost 15 feet over the years. The room is simple, natural, and relaxing just how I like it.