This is part of our Tips & Tricks series on preparing the main spaces in your classroom for Back to School.
Teachers spend a lot of time worrying about the arrangement of the students’ desks or what bulletin boards to erect; but the teacher’s own desk deserves careful consideration as well. After all, it’s the nerve center of the classroom. Chances are that most of the business of teaching will come across at one time or another. Here are some things to keep in mind when setting your desk up for Back to School.
Never near the door
One of the first things I learned as a new teacher was never to have your desk near the door. In fact, it shouldn’t be anywhere where it can reasonably be walked past on a student’s way out the door. The reason is simple—your stuff will walk off with the students.
This isn’t brought up to be malicious (although that can happen, too). What if a student needs to borrow one of your pens to write their name on something they’re turning in as the bell rings? Guess where the pen goes. Add up the amount of pens and pencils you would go through in the common week and then move your desk to the corner farthest from the door.
Inboxes aren’t just for email
Although your overall classroom organization plan should include organized places for students to turn in work, this isn’t what the inbox on your desk should be for. Your inbox is for the minutia of the job, like parent conference forms and phone messages. You would think, in 2015, that these things would come through e-mail—but they don’t.
Be realistic… do you even need a desk?
Perhaps your school is modern enough where everything is done on some mobile device. Grades can be entered via tablet. Presentations are controlled with a Bluetooth clicker. If that’s the case, think about whether you even need a desk. The alternative could be a series of file cabinets, a central table, and a comfortable chair. This all leaves more space for centers or flexible seating. It wouldn’t work for every teacher or school, but it’s worth a thought.
You shouldn’t be spending a lot of time at your desk during class time. But when you need it, you want your desk to be functional, efficient, and even a bit relaxing. All it takes is a little strategy and a lot of commitment.