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  • Look into most classrooms and you’ll see a teacher desk. Solid, set apart. Some testaments to organization, some testaments to good intentions, but all momuments to the personality of the ruler of the room.

    Our classrooms in the old campus were small. The school was several converted houses and some classrooms were actually two adjoining rooms. Curious, one year I measured the area taken up by a teacher desk. A teacher desk and its surrounding environs could take up to 25% of the floor space in a room. and somehow, even in an era of educational constructivist ideology and units of inquiry and collaborative group and all the other edu-speak making the rounds, somehow when the desk was in the room the teacher ended up behind it and a line of students in front of it. All of them trapped in a dynamic and hierarchy as old as chalk dust.

    I had a clever and devious idea.

    I talked about how hard it was to move in the rooms and wouldn’t they like to be able to do more projects and have the kids work in groups and create that reading corner they'd always talked about.

    We looked around the room. It hadn’t grown.

    I wonder what would happen if we could move the desk, I thought out loud.

    Where would we put them?

    There is that room, there at the end of the hall, you know, it could be, like a teacher office!

    Principal power.

    So when I was there in July, before they got back from break, I moved all the teacher desks, professional material and files into a single teacher office.

    I was in there more often than in my little office, they even had a chair for me by the door, and we chatted, told jokes and stories, cried at times, shared ideas, shared how they actually worked, shared chocolate chip cookies and Reese’s peanut butter cups.

    We moved to a spanking new facility last school year. We spent hours with architects and contractors.

    We shoved aside the blue plastic chairs around the scarred blue student table that was the main feature of my office to spread out the plans.

    There's no space for your teacher office Ben, said the big boss.

    New director, new direction.

    I have a fine and fancy office now.

    There are teacher desks back in every room.

    Those were the days.
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