Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Teacher Desk

In the past couple of weeks, I've seen a few tweets, talked to a few teachers, read a few blogs posts about people getting rid of their


Their principals were amazed. 
Their friends were flabbergasted. 
Their PLN applauded.

I got rid of my teacher desk years ago when I taught seventh grade. It made me feel powerful (for awhile). It made me feel superior (for even a shorter while). It didn't make a difference in my room. It didn't change the way I interacted with students. It didn't change how I arranged the rest of the room.

My desk is my space. It's my place to sit and work, or sit and rejuvenate, or just plain sit when there aren't students in my room. And sometimes, even when there are students in my room.

I get it. I understand the liberating feeling of getting rid of your desk and basking in the glory of a teacher deskless room. It puts you up in front of your students. It doesn't give you a place to hide. But I'll bet most of those teachers still have a place where they land during down time. And they have a place to put their STUFF, because we all need that.

Here's what really happens when you get rid of your desk.

You mix it up with your kids.  

Right there. In the middle of them. You interact.

That's what happens when you go deskless. 

It makes you think. 

There is no desk to sit between you and your kids. So you go out to them. And they come to you. 

And you talk together.
And you work together.
And you play together.

So, go ahead and get rid of your desk. And if, like me, you bring it back into your world, don't feel guilty. Even if it's in the FRONT of the room. It doesn't make you a bad teacher. Not if you have learned what its like to go deskless.


  1. Exactly how I feel, Deb. I got rid of my desk years ago, and I've always loved travelling around among my kids, being truly with them as opposed to behind a fortress, walling them off.

  2. You put it so well. It's not about a piece of furniture but more about interaction. I have been deskless for some years now. I like it.

  3. I think that this applies to other fields as well. I always hate sitting behind a desk when I'm interacting with others. When I meet with clients at the Center of Hope, I want them to feel at ease when they explain their problems and needs, and not to feel intimidated with me behind of desk.

  4. My desk is at the back of my room and rarely is it used....except for my piles! Where would my piles go?

  5. I love my desk, but mostly that's where, as you wrote, all the 'stuff' is, but it's now in my office of course. But in the classroom, it was in a corner & forced me to leave it. I was far away from everything, which is how I planned it, so I could move into the 'real' room of students at desks or tables. I usually, when going to confer, dragged a plastic little chair around. Even with older students, this put me 'below' them & was effective. And a little chair was easy to carry. Thanks for making this a big part of planning Deb. Nice always to hear from you.

  6. I cannot imagine not having a desk in my room! That is my only safe and sane place in the classroom. Maybe sometime I'll think differently...

  7. I'm like Leigh Anne, desk at the back of the room & I'm rarely there. I went to a much smaller desk several years ago. It's a great spot for my piles, but it's funny when I'm alone working in my classroom, you'll find me at a student desk. And sometimes, when the students arrive, they have to ask me to move some piles off their desks!