Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Give It Up

Over the years I have had a variety of teacher desks, in both quantity and size. None, by my choice. As a long-term sub I had to keep the teacher desk because the classroom did not belong to me. My first year as a contractual teacher provided me with this monstrosity of a desk that housed a computer and media center, placed in the front of the room. I was not allowed to remove it from the classroom, and it took up 1/4 of the space in the classroom. Then I moved to another district where I had not one, but two teacher desks in the classroom and was told that they had to stay in my room because they had to where to put them. This had more to do with the other teachers dumping all of their unwanted furniture into the new teacher's classroom and, let's just say that it was difficult to move in that classroom.

The problem that I've had with teacher desks is the space that it consumes. It's difficult to carve out classroom libraries and reading nooks. Or even create areas around the room where kids can work in a more quiet space or more collaborative space, whether they can spread out on the floor, or designating a meeting area. When it came to doing projects in the classroom, one year we turned our classroom into five biomes, this was incredibly limiting. Not to mention what it does to the energy in the room when students are practically on top of each other. And the beauty of all these teacher desks is that I never used them! I would just throw stuff on or under them. I'd let the kiddos use them as a work space. This was a grat use for them, however I just wanted the space.

If you have the opportunity to rethink your room design, consider it without the teacher desk. Just sketch out one plan that does not include it. Is there a particular station that you want to include in your classroom? Do you want to create a reading nook? How possible would that ve without the teacher desk? That year I had two desks dumped onto my room and was told I couldn't remove them, I gradually removed them from my classroom. And guess what!?! The custodial staff found a space for them. Just eliminating one allowed me to expand my classroom library. But when I eliminated both I was able to create an area just for math, and another for science and social studies. I was able to being in another rug and create a really comfy classroom library where the kiddos actually wanted to read in! I know it can be scary to eliminate the teacher desk, but how often do you really use it and what do you reay use it for?