Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do Teachers Need Desks?

My teacher desk doubled as a computer station.
Principal Larkin is considering giving up his office, which I think is a unique idea. This kind of forward thinking is just what is needed in school leadership. It makes me (and a few people who commented on his blog) wonder if teachers really need desks.

The problem with teacher desks:
  • It becomes too easy to spend a lot of time there- time that should be spent with students. We're all guilty of this.
  • A teacher 'desk' turns into a 'corner' and can takeover a room.
  • It's a symbol of power, and intimidates students who want to come ask for help.
  • It separates the teacher from the students; my learning vs. your learning, it should be our learning.
Teacher desks should probably be on the list of 10 Things Teachers Should Pitch This Spring, but if you don't have a laptop at school (I don't) and aren't able to give up the idea of having your own space entirely yet, you may consider:
  • Having your desk double as a student work station. I come from the viewpoint that if it is a school issued computer then students should be able to use it too. It also forces you to keep things organized and put away.
  • Turning your desk so that it faces a wall. This makes your room look bigger, and you won't want to sit there during class with your back facing the kids- therefore you won't sit there as much.
I have a room in my house designated as an office, but I usually just stretch out on the bed with my papers and laptop; it's where I get my best prep work and writing done. I'd like to bring that same vibe to my classroom, so next year (wherever I am) I'm either going to get rid of my teacher desk or blend it in to the rest of my classroom.

I wonder what my students' parents will think when they walk into a classroom that doesn't have a clearly visible teacher desk?


ResearchWell said...

One of my favorite teachers has her desk in the corner (it is a workspace for her, the TA, or parent volunteers, but she is rarely at it during class time), but she keeps a school desk, one of the trim models that is just a chair with a writing top attached, in the main area of the classroom. If she wants to sit, or needs to use her laptop for something, she juses that desk. It is very open to students, cannot sustain clutter, and keeps her "in the room."

Kelly said...

Excellent idea in using the "teacher desk" for parent volunteers as well. I think a key to being able to chuck the desk idea is having a laptop, which unfortunately not many schools have for teachers (yet!).

Denise said...

I wish all teachers would consider getting rid of their desks. I love the fourth point, and you're exactly right, it should be OUR learning. When I was teaching fourth grade, I had tables instead of desks, and the reaction of parents was mixed. I'll be interested in hearing what parents say about your room!

Kelly said...

Thank you for the comment Denise! I think parents (and teachers and admin for that matter) will probably be slightly confused by it, but I think once they see the benefits they'll be amazed! (I hope!)

Knaus said...

I'm moving into a new room next year. It's a science room with fancy lab stations in the back. Most of that area is going to be a lounge area (Blogger's Lounge?) with lamps and chairs. One small corner in the back is going to be my teacher area. Not a desk, just an area. I need that area for the two programs that I coordinate.

That said, the entire front of the room is for the students, save a small area for some technology. Tables and work stations will be the order of the day. It's their room. I'm excited to set up the room. Should be good. And I do wonder what my visitors/students will say.

Kelly said...

Knaus, I love the idea of a Blogger's Lounge! I'm guessing you don't actually teach science? What a great way to utilize the space and make it your own!

Louis said...

Of course. I think that each of them should have a desk. It can actually help them do what they have to do in their work.

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