Saturday, July 9, 2011

Teacher Desk: To Keep or Not to Keep?

One of my favorite things to do is set up my classroom, rearrange, and get ready for the new year. I still have 4 weeks of summer, but I'm planning on heading up this week to do a little setting up so maybe I won't be quite as rushed the week before we go back (but who am I kidding, I'll be running around like mad no matter what I do now). So this weekend I've just been thinking about how to arrange my room and I just can't come up with a "blueprint" that I like. I've thought about getting rid of my desk and just using my kidney table as a command center.

I'm debating giving up my desk because:
A) I rarely sit there.
B) I try to keep most papers and supplies on a shelf behind my desk so it doesn't get cluttered.
C) I've never had a computer on my desk, so no need to relocate that.
D) I'll have an intern in the fall and I'd like to give her a little space. (So maybe I should keep the desk and let her use it?)

Here's what I'm wondering and would love to hear your thoughts:
1) Where do you put all the stuff kids bring to you each morning?
2) If you use your kidney table instead, do you end up cluttering it up?
3) If I keep my teacher stuff (papers, supplies, binders, professional books) on a shelf behind my kidney table then where will I put all the stuff I need for small group lessons? I guess I'll just need 2 shelves behind the table.

I'm nervous to get rid of it and I'm not even sure that I can. I guess if the school has a place to store it they wouldn't mind taking it out of my room but I've never asked.

Would anyone like to come arrange my room for me? I feel like I've looked at it too much and can't make a decision about anything. I know I'll go Monday and waste at least half an hour just standing in the middle of the room staring!


  1. I got rid of my desk in my last school and I would do it again if I had one!
    I put my teacher supplies in one of those hardware deals with all of the drawers.

    The items that the kids give me (I hope you are talking about their drawings lol) I just saw a terrific idea for that, with using a big binder :)


  2. I haven't used my teacher desk in 2 years!! My kidney table is my desk, my everything:) I have a bookcase right behind my kidney table where I keep all my small group stuff...yes kids turn stuff in there but because it's my fave place, it makes me organize and stay on top of it. My teacher desk is actually my technology laptop, projector and ELMO are on it:) I love it this way:) What do ya think about that?

    4th Grade Frolics

  3. I've been working on my room too. I had decided I wanted to try getting rid of my desk. In fact, I moved my desk out of the corner and everything. I came to the conclusion though that removing it wasn't going to give me any additional space. Sounds crazy right? I have to have a table or something there for my computer and document camera to go on. So it was either put a table there or my desk. I decided to keep my desk. I never set there either. My desk is rather small though with no drawers or anything.

    1. We have these ridiculously tiny built in "cubbies" in the hallway. Student stuff their coats and backpacks in there. They sit their lunchboxes on top. A basket in the room holds their folders. They have a drawer in the classroom for books and other things they may have.

    2. I don't have a kidney table!

    3. File cabinet? Additional bookshelf? Crate under the table?

    Good luck with it all!

  4. Got rid of mine last summer and didn't miss it once.. I function from behind my kidney table, and I added an extra round table for centers in the additional space! Go for it!

    Queen of the First Grade Jungle

  5. I had a horseshoe table (that functioned as a desk) and a kidney table (that was my small group table, held laptop for smartboard and was also the table i was at most often). I was thinking about ditching the horseshoe table for a teacher desk. Love to hear the responses too!!

  6. I got rid of my desk two years ago and I'm so glad I did! I use the table I use for my small groups. My teacher things are stashed in a bookshelf behind the table. I also have some hot pink, lime green, and purple book bins at the end of the table for some things I just HAVE to have close at hand. Every summer I have to go in and MAKE myself clean out b/c I'm always bringing new stuff in. It's a way of life for a teacher. I say get rid of the desk!
    - Jan

  7. I have been pondering this question myself. I've had a teacher desk that last 3 years and every year I say that I am going to keep it clean and I don't. Maybe without the desk, then I will keep my kidney table (if I get one) cleaner then my "desk". But, I don't know...sorry not really helpful. Although I am entirely jealous of you going in your room - we are locked out until the week of in service... aka, the week before school starts... aka, the end of August :-(

  8. Before you tire yourself out moving furniture around try my file folder and sticky note method of classroom designing. :) Classroom Design Post

    As to your questions, I used to have a large teacher desk and when I moved into my VERY small room I had to get rid of it. However, I went to Walmart and for $50.00 I got one of those small dorm room desks. It was perfect and I love it. The problem? Because my room is so small I still had no room for a guided reading area. I always met my students on the carpet, in our large group area.

    Next year, I will temporarily be in another building, because of our schools renovation, and I am trying something new. I am taking 2 small rectangular tables and putting them in the shape of an L. One will be my desk and the other will be for small groups. All my stuff will be behind me, and I plan on putting those 3 drawer rolling carts from Target & Walmart underneath or behind. I am excited about it.

    Hope this helps, I will post pictures when I go in and start to organize my chaos. This was perfectly said, "I'm planning on heading up this week to do a little setting up so maybe I won't be quite as rushed the week before we go back (but who am I kidding, I'll be running around like mad no matter what I do now)." :)

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  9. I totally understand wasting a half hour standing, staring, moving a few things, moving them back, then staring some more. I plan to do that a little this week as well! I haven't had a teacher desk for 6 years and haven't missed it. I use a shelf with a few book boxes and tubs to organize guided reading materials. I have a small rolling computer stand right behind me, and another small shelf which houses all my binders/resource books. It works great and forces me to be room for piles! Good luck!

  10. I'm moving up from 1st to 2nd this year and so my room has changed. In my old room I had a desk but I was never at it so I've decided to ditch it this year! I saw some pictures of Mrs. Jump's room and love her idea of putting a table skirt on her kidney table so she can store things under it. I'm planning on doing that and seeing how it goes. Hope this was of help to you.

    Mrs. Shepherd

  11. The first thing I did when I moved to a new room was get rid of my desk. It was a huge wooden one! I found a small table that fit my needs and took up much less space. I still had a landing spot but it did not take up as much valuable space. I bought a couple plastic drawer towers for my teacher supplies and put them up on the counter where I can get to them quickly. If you're stuck, maybe just try downsizing to a small table. God luck!


  12. I got rid of my desk two years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did!!! I found it to take up SO much room, and as you said I never sat there. At my old school I was able to completly remove the desk from the room, which was wonderful because I was able to bring in another table that I used for kid use. I used my kidney table and because I knew that I couldn't keep all my 'junk' on it... I didn't! It somehow seemed to keep me much more organized.
    Then last year I moved schools, and god bless them, they had just got new desk the previous year and were very proud of them. They were beautiful desk, but they were HUGE!!! It seemed like it took up so much space and it was wasted space for me. After knowing that I worked better without a desk, this past year was a little difficult getting a flow down in my room.
    So, this summer I went back to the drawing board to see how I can redo my room to make it work better. My desk is no longer my desk, but instead part of my writer's workshop/meeting area. I do a lot of minilessons were my kiddos come to the floor. My desk is now back by my 'special chair' and easel. I LOVE writer's workshop and have a lot of things my students are able to access during this time. The desk is now working as more of a 'table' if you will, than a desk. On top of my desk I had my talented husband make me these little book easels that hold all of our mentor text. Then around the desk on the floor I have storage bins that inset around the desk that hold things like crayons, markers, colored pencils, clipboards, paper, etc.
    I can already tell the flow of my room is going to work SO much better for me.
    So, although it does seem scary ...I say try getting rid of the desk. You can always bring it back in if you don't like how it is working! :) Good luck and have fun rearranging!!!

  13. Thanks for all the advice. It sounds like the verdict is that teachers (especially elementary) don't really need traditional desks. I'd love to see pictures of some of your spaces with or without teacher desks!

  14. Good question. Now you've got me thinking whether I should keep mine or not. I NEVER sit at it. Instead, it just stores stuff. I love all the comments that everyone shared with their ideas for organizing. :)

  15. I got rid of my teacher desk 2 years ago because I never used it and it just became a bad place for me to stack stuff!! I still have a rolling table with the computer, printer, phone, etc on it and that's where I keep kid stuff. The kids know to put their doctor's notes and tardy slips on my keyboard when they walk in. I bought a cheapo organizer from Office Max to keep my paper clips and other supplies and that sits on a shelf next to my computer. I have 2 small shelves behind my kidney table. The bottom two rows hold books and math manipulatives and the top row on each is where I keep markers, pens, sharpies, post-its, etc. I think it's so funny how much we all think about organizing and decorating all summer long! I love it!

  16. I'm telling you, this is a struggle I'm having as well. I am going back to the classroom after 15 years as a coach and I keep staring at the desk and thinking I could get rid of it to gain some space. I've loved reading all the feedback here.

  17. I got rid of my desk 5 years ago and would never go back! I have a very small childs desk to put my document camera and laptop on and I use my horseshoe table for everything else. I have two bookshelves behind my horseshoe table to house all of my materials. I bought some wooden organizers for pens, paper clips, etc. at IKEA and have a small file cadi on the table. I have a basket in another area of the room for kids stuff that they bring me in the morning. It doesn't get cluttered to badly, as long as I put things away where they belong :)

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