Back to school: Chesapeake teacher gives classroom comfy makeover

WAVY-TV 10 Photo

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Back to school means new backpacks, notebooks and — a new couch?

One Chesapeake high school teacher has been busy redecorating her classroom with living room furniture. The trend is called flexible seating.

Great Bridge ninth grade English teacher Jennifer Craft hopes the living room look will translate to better learning.

WAVY.com Back-to-School Guide

“It’s going to be very different this year,” she told WAVY.com.

Inspired by Pinterest posts, Craft started doing some research.

“This is a new concept. Not a lot of schools, especially high schools, do flexible seating,” Craft explained.

But it made perfect sense to her.

“When you sit down and read, you don’t sit at a desk straight up and down … You like to relax, maybe get a nice pillow, get comfortable and that’s how you get into the story.”

The next step was passing it by Principal Jeff Johnson.

“Kids are different today. They are tuned into electronics and they’re on social media and all that, so they learn differently, they think differently and great teachers reach those kids where they are,” Principal Johnson told 10 On Your Side.

His only concern was her cost, but with some savvy shopping and social media soliciting, she furnished her entire classroom for just $38.

“I hope it will encourage kids to get to class on time because sometimes it will be first come, first serve so if you want to get a good seat, get here,” Craft said.

She also has ideas to keep kids from fighting over the furniture and kept a few regular desks for those who want them.

It is different, and while it looks relaxed, it’s actually very organized, with color codes and seating groups where she can focus lessons to students at different levels of learning.

Craft has high hopes for the flexible seating and with good reason: Last year, she brought in yoga mats and let students sprawl out on those. She says kids who told her they never read finished their books in just three days.