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  • Josh Arnold

#DitchTheDesk

This past week I had one of my more successful posts on Twitter. So if enough people can retweet and like something there must be a blog post in the near future!

With so many classrooms experiencing a shift from the desk in rows model to more flexible learning environments (or at least a Pinterest room makeover) it was surprising but not surprising that so many people took interest in this subject. I’ve written about learning environments in some of my other posts and the many reasons why these classroom setups are more student friendly. In this post I’ll stick to the subject of how to accomplish the removal of your teacher desk.


Ask your administrator 

Normally I follow the “ask for forgiveness later” philosophy about things in the classroom but removing a large piece of furniture takes some coordination. The first step is to talk to your administrator. Explain that a lot of square footage in the classroom is taken up with this oversized desk. Mentioning buzz words like “student centered” and “learning environment” might not hurt either. You will also need the help of custodians to actually remove the desk. If you try this on your own you run the risk of upsetting two of of your most powerful allies at school.

Organization 

If you are ditching the desk at the start of the new school year your likely to find lots of good prices on office organization items such as bins and pencil holders. You’ll want all these things now that the top desk drawer is gone and all your writing utensils are needing new places to call home. If your school was built or remodeled any time in the last twenty years, I bet there is a lot of built in storage to the walls of your classroom. Use this space to hold any of the items that once occupied the two or three other drawers on the old desk. My desk had a pull out file that I used to kept data and other important records. I put all these files into a plastic file box I’ve had for years (repurposing things is super fun in organizing) and ended up tossing a bunch of files I didn’t even need any more. If you have one of those large file cabinets in the classroom, I’d ditch that too. Move things to the cloud or just recycle all those old lesson plans.


Keeping a space to work

Here’s where I admit that ditching the desk doesn’t have to be a total surrender of your work space. You still need a place to put your computer, printer, and a few other things. I bought a much smaller standing deskto put all this on. Instead of a chair I have an anti-fatigue mat. All of this I bought with teacher startup funds that most schools and states offer to teachers at the beginning of the school year.  I named this space the “teacher hub” since names can impact how you think of things. If you are anything like most teachers, you don’t spend much time at your desk when students are in the classroom. Most likely you are off interacting with students rather than sitting passively at your teacher desk. So you won’t miss that old teacher desk when students are present. During planning time if I’m working on something that requires space I use the tables in the classroom to work. Once I’m done I clean up this space for students to use when they return to class. This has a great impact of clearing my mind to focus on what’s happening in the classroom at that moment. Plus the room is much cleaner without my old teacher desk around for me to place too many things on top of.





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