I know, shocking right? There’s a trend in many schools for teachers to get rid of their desks. I’ve heard and read many reasons for getting rid of the teacher desk. It provides more room for the students, especially if you are packed wall to wall with them. Then there’s the reason that many teachers don’t really work at their desks anyway and it’s just a place to pile paper and such. Finally, there’s the idea that everything in the classroom should be about student learning (ok, it should but I’ll address that later.)
I am not against someone else getting rid of their teacher desk, but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried, but I just can’t. And… I don’t want to. Again, if getting rid of your desk works for you, by all means go for it. I just can’t, and here’s why.
Back when I was in the primary grades I had a kidney shaped table. It was stationed near my computer and the thought was I wouldn’t need a desk if I had the table. Even then I did the same thing to that table as I did to my desk. I piled things on it and then had to move those piles somewhere else so that I could teach my reading or math group. Back to my desk I went.
So, I embarked on a compromise. In my classroom the teacher laptop has a docking station and all of our electronics are here. Of course that’s also where all my stuff was. It even has a nice credenza above it. I decided to turn this into our writing area. Anything my students need for writing can be found here. Plus, my laptop is usually found here and my students always have access to at least one functioning computer. They are gradually making it their own place and I love that they are truly using it.
Still. I just can’t let my desk go. In an era of teaching where it seems like more and more is being taken away, it’s the one thing that is mine (Ok, so it really belongs to the district, but you get my point.). I can get stressed out by the sheer amount of papers or just the mess on it. I can feel a sense of peace and accomplishment when I actually see the lovely wood colored top of my desk. But, at the end of the day, it’s the place where I feel most comfortable reflecting upon the day or just enjoying a quiet moment. It’s the one thing in the room not devoted to students. I know, it sounds almost unteacherly to not want everything to be about the kids. But, for my own sanity, I need a place in the classroom that is just for me.
So, for me, I will keep my teacher desk. I will continually move it around the room, spend time organizing and reorganizing it, cleaning it up, and stress about the piles. While it’s a work in progress, at the end of the day it makes me happy. It’s a friend I say goodbye to each evening, and one I look forward to greeting each morning. It symbolizes to me that I made it. I became a teacher.