Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SOL #23: The Mess on my Desk

This March writing challenge is organized by Two Writing Teachers

Today we are two days from starting spring vacation, and at the end of the day, this was my desk:

I can't even sit here any more, because there is no room.  It's easier to just grab my laptop and sit with my students.  

There's a lot going on, okay?  (She says, defensively.) My students need me to research, to plan and prep, to reflect, to assess.  They don't need me to bustle around organizing my desk.

More to the point, I have no idea how to organize this kind of stuff.  My coffee table at home looks pretty similar.  I clean them off from time to time, of course, but it's a matter of days until we're right back where we started (although the above picture is a pretty extreme case).  Why is this?  My classroom isn't entirely paperless, but between the focus on reading and our school's one-to-one iPad adoption, there's a lot less paper than there used to be.  And yet it STILL piles up like this.  

Sometimes I feel like there's a lack of some key skill is what's keeping me from being a truly good teacher.  I don't maintain a laser-like focus, and things slide out of my control little by little, until I'm surrounded by chaos.  The same thing happens with classroom routines.  You know that old chestnut, "You get what you allow"?  Sometimes I am about ready to lose it with my students, then I realize--oh, I've been ALLOWING this!  So I tighten things up.  Reintroduce a seating chart.  Review classroom procedures.  I've been doing this the past several days (because a disorganized class is more problematic than a messy desk), and it helps.  A lot.  But I know I will have to do it again later in the year, and several times next year, and every year after that as well.  How do you "KonMari" your students?

All the same, I only really cringe about the state of my desk when I look at it from the perspective of one of my more organizationally gifted colleagues.  Usually, I fall back on a quote I've had hanging over my desk as long as I've been teaching.

I'm wondering if my fellow late night posters and seat of our pantsers can relate?  Or are some writers who plan also organizationally challenged when it comes to their physical space?

Or am I the last non-Pinterest-worthy teacher out there?  


  1. LOL that is so funny - i just posted about why my classroom was so cluttered!! maybe it is just that time of the year!

  2. I just spent a few hours reorganizing my classroom library. I think it's the time of year. It finally put me over the edge! Love the desk and how the clutter moves you closer to students. :)

  3. "KonMari". - I know what you mean read the book, I didn't know it was used as a verb, I am not entirely sure it is possible to declutter a classroom completely. There are too many things that are constantly in use and more things are produced. We have been 1:1 I-Pad school for years, it has reduced paper but not made it vanish. My solution for decluttering the desk was to get rid of it.

  4. I think I’m the opposite of you. I have to keep everything organized or I start feeling anxious. My desk drawers are kind of a disaster, though. If I can’t see the mess, it won’t stress me out, so I cram it in a drawer.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  5. One of my professors in Education told me that having a messy desk was a sign of a dedicated teacher. I haven't had a desk in years because all I ever did was throw things on it!

  6. What a wonderful quote by Milne--and so true! My desk is much the same. I really like an uncluttered space at home, but I'm constitutionally messy and cluttered, so it's a constant battle with myself. At my office, I just let it go and live in total chaos. I laughed out loud at several lines here. I have come to think that teaching is far too complex of a task to be able to juggle all the balls equally well.


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