Pimping my Pad
At the beginning of this year I moved into another classroom as one of my colleagues retired and her more attractive classroom became available. I used this as an opportunity to do a couple of new things with my learning space: I found 2 old couches on the side of the road and covered them and I brought an armchair from home for myself. I also ditched my desk.
I know that this is not a new thing, many teachers from around the world ditched their desks years ago. None that I have read about have regretted it and moved this cumbersome piece of furniture back into their classrooms. The reason that I did this was because I didn’t want to become a teacher who ‘stands and delivers’ and then retreats behind my fortress-like desk, leaving my students to work out their own plan of attack to conquer the set task. I had found myself doing this at times and did not want it to become a default position when I became overloaded with marking.
As a person who doesn’t hoard I found it quite easy to reassign the few bits and pieces that I had in my desk into a small bookshelf with draw inserts that takes up a lot less space. Now the new teacher who inhabits my old classroom has 2 desks! He seems quite happy with them though.
So what is the outcome?
1. I spend more time roaming the class building relationships with my students.
2. I am available to help them at all times. Previously if I was sitting at my desk some students would apologise for interuppting me at my marking! Bless!
3. Because I am available and present I have fewer behaviour management issues.
4. Sitting with groups of students makes it easier for shy students to ask me questions that they would not have been brave enough to if I was at my desk or ‘standing and delivering’ at the front of the class.
5. I feel more job satisfaction knowing that I have invested time in helping my students and building relationships with them.
It has taken a whole term for the lack of a desk to feel normal but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.