Jodi over at the Clutter-Free Classroom is doing a series of posts on setting up the classroom. Saturday's post was about the Teacher's Desk.
I have had various incarnations of desks in my short time as a teacher. My first year I had a big ole desk with drawers and everything. It was actually quite nice. I did all of my planning and grading there and I loved the space. [I have yet to really deal with a cramping issue that made a teacher's desk take up too much room.] I would NEVER give up my desk. Ever.
One year I used my U-shaped table with a file cabinet next to it and that worked well that year. My district built several new buildings over the last 6 years or so and bought the same type of furniture for each. The student tables and chairs are okay, but clearly whomever designed the "teacher's desk" was not a teacher because it just has one measly little drawer in the middle. It's just a table really.
Left: My "desk" when I taught 4th grade at Former School. No drawers or anything to store stuff. I hated it!!
Right: My "desk" last year with 5th grade. This was at the start of the year -- I changed it at least 12 times! I did not take a picture of how I had it at the end of the year but I had a cabinet next to it that was desk level so I could put things on and a small filing cabinet next to it for my drawers.
My new classroom has that same table because they all have them. Although it is set up a bit differently than my old classroom and I know the 3rd grade teacher who was in there last year used her U-shaped table in the back of the room, with her big filing cabinet behind that space as her desk and small group area. I really like that idea. One thing that is weird about the buildings in my district is that all of the rooms aren't necessarily symmetrical so it can be weird and challenging to fit certain things in certain spots. I really liked how that 3rd grade teacher had her area set up though and I might leave it like that because she had a LOT more room for that (her computers were in a different spot and thus she had more room in the back of the room).
Last night, I was rereading part of See Me After Class. Sometimes rereading the horror stories of other teachers reminds me that it is perfectly okay if I am not perfect either! That said, however, as I was flipping through it, I came back to Chapter 5 which is all about teacher organization. I LOVE being organized. Yet I have not yet found an amazingly easy to keep up system for keeping my own files handy. I don't want a lot of crap on my desk. I REALLY like the lists that Roxanna has in her book (pgs 43-47 if you're curious!).
Since I am definitely thinking of keeping the desk area that the teacher who was in my room before had, I would have my whole big filing cabinet behind me to put all of these different files and things that would be very easy to locate, yet be out of my sight until I needed to use them. I particularly like her stackable trays ideas: in-box, to grade, "middle file" which is for all that crap you don't know what to do with right away, Record (for graded papers that need to be recorded in the grade book), File and Parent Contact. I definitely like the Parent Contact one.
She suggests making folders for each kid to document communication and whatnot. BUT when you know you have to make a call home or you're making the rounds of positive calls, you put those students' files into this tray so you KNOW who you have to call that day and then you refile them before you leave for the day. Brilliant.
Over the next day or so, I am going to let this sit in my brain...and I am going to think of a good way to FINALLY organize my filing cabinet and my other things so I am 100% ready for the new school year in that regard. It will be of utmost importance that I am organized this year since I plan to pursue National Board as well.