Back-to-school season can be a very sad time for those students who prefer summer vacation to sitting in a classroom for six hours a day, five days a week. We can assume that applies to about 99% of kids — it was certainly how I felt about the end of summer!
Some amazing teachers attempt to do whatever they can to make the transition easier for their students — and one Pennsylvania teacher took this to the extreme by giving her classroom a Harry Potter-themed makeover.
Tressa Mellow Bargella, a third-grade teacher for the Valley View School District, spent the weeks leading up to September transforming her entire classroom into a Hogwarts replica. It’s not just the decorations, however. Nearly every element of teaching (including classroom rules and expectations) has been given a Harry Potter-inspired touch.
Tressa posted photos of her finished Hogwarts classroom on Facebook, and now the internet can’t stop drooling over them.
How Long Did This Take?!
Tressa posted a gallery of photos on August 23, to the delight of many thousands of Harry Potter fans.
“ALL FINISHED!!!!” she wrote alongside the photos. “I am COMPLETELY DRAINED but it was worth it.”
“I honestly lost track of how many hours it took me but in the end, I spend more time here than at home some days and it is now my happy place,” her post continued. “Hope my new little wizards love being inside my Hogwarts walls as much as I do!”
Teacher of the Year: Tressa Mellow Bargella!
According to Facebook, Tressa is a teacher who graduated from Keystone College with a degree in elementary education. She is clearly passionate about what she does, and this isn’t the first time she’s used a beloved franchise to brighten up her classroom.
Two years ago, her classroom decor was based on Finding Nemo.
This year, however, she went all out.
Every bit of Tressa’s classroom is covered in Harry Potter magic. Even areas outside of the classroom door have been decorated to look like Platform 9 3/4!
Inside, the Harry Potter house crests hang from the ceiling. Suitcases, trunks, broomsticks, and stuffed owls sit on top of the kids’ cubbies.
Above the chalkboard, on top of wallpaper made to look like stone, are photos of witches and wizards in impressive frames.
And of course, a Nimbus 2000 hangs next to the projector.
Every detail is magical. Tressa even took a coatrack and taped on a sign that reads: “Free invisibility cloaks. Please take one.”
At the same time, the dedicated teacher is using elements from Harry Potter as classroom aids. Student responsibilities such as “line leader” and “secretary” are given out as numbered socks hung on a wall labeled “house elves.”
Tressa told Scary Mommy that her students absolutely love what she did to the classroom.
“Their faces when they walked in were just priceless, some of them even eyes wide and jaws dropped,” she said. “It is completely awesome!”
However, she isn’t doing this just to make her students love her (though they almost certainly do).
Tressa also genuinely believes that Harry Potter contains many valuable lessons and positive themes for third-grade kids.
Bravery, Loyalty, and Friendship
“It was the perfect theme to tie in not only academics but also social and personal growth as well as life lessons,” she said. “Bravery, loyalty, friendship, and self-discovery ideals are on every page. Not to mention an overall concept of just good vs. evil.”
Facebook / Tressa Mellow Bargella
The Hogwarts-inspired classroom also has a sign with a beautiful message, starting with a version of the iconic line from the Marauder’s Map: “We solemnly swear we are up to no good.”
“Together we have something worth fighting for,” it reads. “We remember that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times because in this classroom we always do our best.”
The Facebook post sharing her photos of the classroom has already been shared over 172,000 times. Adults are loving it as much as Tressa’s students.
“Wow! What an amazing gift to your students,” one commented. “They are lucky to have such a magical teacher.”
This is a prime example of why every amazing teacher in America deserves a raise.
“Here’s to a magical new year!”