Throw Out Those Desks! Or Not?

Aaand we’re back! We took a little break, but now we are back with our weekly posts.

I recently read this article about principal, Donna Connelly, in Riverdale who unexpectedly mandated that teachers throw out their personal desks and filing cabinets in the middle of the day, while school was in session. The principal’s shocking move, confounded the teachers, but her aim was to restructure every classroom into more modern ones. Piles of furniture were placed on the street. “When asked where they should grade papers, Connelly responded, ‘Use the lunchroom.'”

This seems a bit extreme. For Connelly to tell teachers to do this in the middle of the day, two months after school started seems a bit hasty. Connelly’s reason for this was that it is the 21st century and teachers don’t need desks.

I’ve been to a new, remodeled school that was built in a 21st century way. All desks were made in a way for students to sit in groups, there is minimal extra furniture, teachers had to use a microphone so all students could hear, and of course technology was implemented. However, teachers did have a small desk and file cabinet for themselves.

I’m all about changing into a 21st century type of classroom. I firmly believe students should be sitting in groups to allow for collaboration, and there should be extra room around the classroom for the ability to move around and do activities. At the same time, teachers do need their own personal space to store things and somewhere to work and grade papers. However, this should not be done in an extreme way. Teachers need advanced notice and preparation.

Has your school entered in this new 21st century type of classroom? Please share your experiences!