Sunday, August 23, 2015

I Say Yes to the Desk

     Today's post is inspired by my good friend, Jess Lifshitz (@JessLif), who boldly claimed to have a not-so-fancy classroom. Here is Jess' post She said she prepared her room with a reading theme, not one she copied from Pinterest, and not one where everything had to match or be a specific color. She designed her classroom for function and with her students in mind. Places for them to find books, read books, talk about books and share books. There is space for exploring their writing lives, as well as space to gather together and celebrate reading and writing. Jess has made supplies and a plethora of books easy accessible for when her students need them.

     I moved schools this year, and my classroom (converted from a collaborative math teacher space to a 6th grade classroom) is not quite ready for me to make it my own. However, I have been dreaming about and envisioning ways to recreate the wonderful aspects of my previous classroom. You see, my theme has always been focused on reading, writing, speaking and listening. Books are everywhere. That's the way I like it.

     In addition my classroom library of books, I display and hang up various MN Twins items I've collected over the years. This tells my students about me as a person, just like Jess' duck collection shares a bit about herself with hers.

That said, I'm going to make a bold statement myself...

I'm not giving up my teacher desk.

There, I said it. I'm saying yes to the desk!

     For the same reasons I'm not going to stop putting a little of myself in my room before the students arrive, I'm going to have a teacher desk for my belongings. A place for me to do my work when the students aren't in the room (prep, lunch, before/after school). A place that says that I am important in this classroom, too.

     Just like students have lockers and desks, I want and need a place to make my own. The rest of the room is shared with my students. There will be a place for supplies, alternate seating, and many places to spread out and collaborate. Students will be part of almost every decision, and we will cultivate a classroom where our geniuses are celebrated and respected.

     You see, having a teacher desk doesn't mean that I can't have a student-led classroom. It doesn't mean that I feel like I am more important than my students. It doesn't mean that I feel superior. It just means that I'll have a place for my belongings, pictures of my family, and MN Twins memorabilia that help me feel comfortable in our shared space. Before long, student work will fill the walls and be visible through the classroom.

     I am speaking up on behalf of teachers who don't feel that keeping a teacher desk makes us any less able to connect with our students. Those who know that they don't sit behind it while the students work, but who only use it when students are not in the room. Those who don't feel that having a teacher desk makes our students feel less a part of the classroom.

So I have Twins memorabilia up. It helps my students know more about me and might encourage them to share about themselves. It doesn't mean all students have to like the Twins.

So I have an all-star author wall, showcasing incredible MG and YA authors. It helps my students give different authors a chance. It doesn't mean those are the only authors my students can read, or that I won't add their favorites throughout the year.

So I have a classroom door that proudly displays all of the books I have read over the summer. It helps me connect with students through book talks. It helps my students start sharing their reading lives with me and their classmates. It doesn't mean that my book choices are the only ones.

So, I have a teacher desk. It helps me feel like I am a part of our classroom. It doesn't mean that I have to have control of my students and make sure they know that. It's not a power trip. It's just a desk.

If you got rid of your teacher desk, that's your decision and I respect that.

I, for one, am saying yes to the desk.

1 comment:

  1. You go, girl! You have to do what is comfortable for YOU, or your students won't feel that positive vibe you exude! I like to spread the message about our Student Station, because I just don't need a desk, and it hasn't left the space. I like the file cabinet to store and showcase my interests & student tables for space to work. I also sneak some shelf space for photo frames of my love, niece & nephew, & grandkids. Thank you for saying yes to the desk and sharing your views - there is no one right way for everyone, that's for sure! Cheers to 2015-2016!