We don’t know about you, but middle school wasn’t exactly our finest hour. The braces, the bullying, the awkward puberty moments … ugh. But if we had had a teacher like Stephanie Stephens, maybe we actually would have enjoyed those too-awkward-to-be-true years. (We know, bold statement. But hear us out.)
This year, Stephens, a teacher at James L. Capps Middle School in Oklahoma City, planned an extra-special surprise for her students that is making the Potterhead in all of us squeal: a classroom fit for Hogwarts.
Yes, Stephens went above and beyond to create a classroom environment her students would love by decorating it to the theme of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — complete with potions, a “magical” fireplace, and even a three-headed dog (OK it’s stuffed, but still!).
One of the biggest challenges a teacher can face is getting their students genuinely excited to learn — something Stephens was determined to overcome this school year. While working at a camp this summer, Stephens told Babble she was inspired to decorate her classroom after convincing a few adults to read Harry Potter:
“I was able to talk a couple of adults [into reading] the books because of my enthusiasm … It got me thinking that if I can get adults to be excited about reading using Harry Potter, I can get my students excited about reading as well! That is what started [it] all.”
Needless to say, her students, who started school on August 20, were very excited to board Platform 9 3/4s and hightail it to everyone’s favorite school of witchcraft and wizardry — even though some didn’t even know what Harry Potter was! (We know. That part made us feel real old, too.)
The classroom, which took a week to put together, was carefully planned based on events and details from the first installment of J.K. Rowling’s popular series.
The students’ favorite part? The potions section — which looks a lot more fun than Professor Snape’s dungeon — and features a Bezoar (an antidote for most poisons), Veritaserum (a truth serum), and Amortentia (a powerful love potion).
As if we couldn’t be any more jealous of Stephens’ students, they’re actually going to be split into different “houses” where they will earn points for positive behavior — just like in the books! Stephens explained:
“Each class is a different house and they will earn house points for different positive behaviors in my classroom (5 points for a 100% on an assessment, 1 point each day when a class picks up the classroom before leaving, 2 points for students who bring all their supplies to class, 5 points for students who are kind and help others without being asked, etc. Once the house points jar fills up they get a class reward.”
There’s even a “prefect” desk for student helpers who help Stephens with various classroom responsibilities like passing out papers, running errands, etc.
The photos, which were posted to Reddit by Stephens’ husband Dominick Stephens, currently have over 12,000 views from fans in awe of her dedication to her students (and love for all things Harry Potter).
“I do what I do for my students because they deserve the best,” Stephens told Babble. “My students mean the world to me and I hope my enthusiasm for reading will transfer to each and every one of my kids.”
Well if this doesn’t get kids excited about reading, we don’t know what will.