At the beginning of each school year, students rush to their new classrooms to see what exciting surprise is in store for them. Some are greeted with a new class pet while others encounter a reading nook furnished with comfortable bean bags or couches. This year, Oregon educator Kyle Hubler took the first-day thrill to a whole new level by transforming his classroom into a mini Hogwarts, complete with wands, (fake) owls and costumes!
Hubler, who teaches seventh and eighth graders at Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, first introduced Harry Potter-themed elements in his classroom last year. The students loved it so much that when he was allocated a new class for the 2017-2018 school year, the “wizard” educator decided to go all out and make it a Harry Potter wonderland.
The decorations include banners for all four Hogwarts houses, a sorting hat, leather-bound books, quill pens, Quidditch balls, “flying” brooms and even a Platform 9 ¾ sign that greets students at the entrance. The creative teacher has also built a replica of a section of Ollivanders Wand Shop and acquired a Pensieve, similar to the one used by Professor Albus Dumbledore to review specific memories and teach the young wizard in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series.
Some of the memorabilia are from Hubler’s own collection and the rest, bought with his own money, from hardware stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces. It took the math and learning strategies teacher, who has been an avid fan of the book series since he was in middle school, 70 hours over the course of five weeks, to make his vision a reality.
But it was well worth the time and effort. On the first day of class, the students reacted as he had hoped. “I heard audible gasps and saw jaws drop to the floor,” Hubler said. “They were scrambling around the room to inspect every little detail and were excitedly showing their peers what they discovered.”
When asked why he went to such lengths for his students, Hubler said, “As a kid, I remember my biggest dream was to go to Hogwarts someday, but I knew that I could never truly go there and that was a disappointment to feel like I had to give up on that dream. When I became a teacher and started talking to my students about their dreams, I realized that I had the power to make my childhood wish come true. It wasn’t necessarily in the way I imagined as a kid, but it still feels like I made my 12-year-old self proud, and fulfilled that kids dream. I want my students to feel like they can achieve their dreams as well, no matter how big or magical.”
Not surprisingly, the photos of the incredible classroom are making headlines everywhere, earning the young “wizard” teacher much-deserved accolades. Though thrilled at the public response, Hubler did not do it to achieve fame, saying, “I really love what I do, and I love the students I get to work with. I want them to feel like my class is a place they are excited about going to and have fun learning.” We have a feeling that he has not just made learning fun for his own students but kids everywhere!
Resources: Facebook.com, odditycentral.com, Huffingtonpost.com