'They Get in the Way And Get Junky Anyway'

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Here are a few views on teaching without a desk:

I have a beautiful desk in my office at home. It's where I grade papers and plan for my days with the students. A classroom is no place to be planning or grading papers -- it's a place to work with the students. Any other pieces of equipment get in the way of learning, and the kids have enough obstacles as it is. A desk for the teacher in no way helps Johnny have a better life -- everything, and I mean every square inch of Room 56, is carefully designed to help a child discover something for which he is passionate. A desk for me certainly has nothing to do with the child.

-- Rafe Esquith

fifth-grade teacher

Hobart Boulevard

Elementary School

Los Angeles

I have a computer workstation that serves as a magnet for the sticky notes of my co-teachers, bookcases and file cabinets around the room for my resources -- but no desk as such. Again, the idea is one of creating an interactive learning environment without a centralized locus of authority -- no significant "catbird's seat" that distinguishes the enfranchised teacher from the disenfranchised students.

-- Wade Turner

social studies teacher


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