Reflective Teacher 30-day blogging challenge @teachthought
Day 8: What’s in your desk drawer? Nothing. I don’t have a teacher desk.
What can you infer from those contents? My classroom is not centered around the teacher and her space, but around the students and their learning.
In 2009 I facilitated a workshop for a group of Boise State Writing Project colleagues. While there, Debbie and Frank Dehoney opened their home to me. Both Debbie and Frank are teachers and NWP colleagues, and as in any teacher’s home, there were professional books on their living room tables. I picked up a copy of Debbie Diller’s Spaces & Places. The book is geared for elementary teachers, but I still browsed it because as I wrote yesterday, teachers can find inspiration anywhere. The inspiration I received from Ms. Diller’s book was to ditch my teacher desk.
For the 2008-9 school year, I had placed my teacher desk facing the wall in a little nook since I didn’t sit in it during classes. When I arranged my room in August of 2009, I ditched the desk. Instead I put a small computer stand in the front of my room for the school-provided desktop computer and projector.
It amazed me how much more room I had. The nook area became another area for students to read or conference. I had another revelation—the reduction of paper piles. Granted I was moving towards a more digital classroom experience for my students and me, but when I didn’t have a flat surface on which to place papers, the papers never piled.
After three more years in that room, moving into a new room two years ago and still not having a teacher desk, I can’t imagine bringing it back. When I moved into the new room, I took a space in the back corner to put a small bookshelf for resources. I never sit in the black chair. Instead, kids use it as a reward. I still have the small computer stand for the school desktop in the front of my room. I’m thinking of getting rid of that in the future too.