Hmmm. Today's prompt is tricky because, well, I simply don't have a desk drawer. When I returned to the classroom in 2010 from my two-year maternity leave, I came back to a room filled with new technology: a Promethean Board, a projector, and a teacher work station that included my desktop computer and an Elmo Projector.
While the teacher station is technically a desk, it has no drawers. The room did also have a traditional teacher desk. A big, wooden behemoth that took up a lot of precious space. One of the first things I did that summer before the kids came was ask the custodial staff to remove it. This helped to open up the room a bit and allow for different configurations of the student desks instead of just having them in rows.
What did I do with my supplies you might ask? I bought baskets and buckets and made them more accessible to my students. I wanted to make the most of not just the space of but also the time I would have with kids as well. By allowing things to be more accessible, instead of stored away in my teacher desk drawers, I hoped to show kids I trusted them with the materials that they might need over the course of the year. I didn't need them to ask permission but rather see what was available at their finger tips, figure out what they needed, and use it.
I have never regretted getting ride of that teacher desk. I have since tried to shed other items in my class that function more as things that take up space versus an item that is truly useful to me and my students. Too much clutter is not conducive to learning.
So what can I infer from my non-existent desk drawer? I think it conveys that the classroom that I occupy is not merely mine but rather ours. By including students in the ownership of our space, I hope to show them that I trust them. And in doing so, they are more mindful of respecting that space. Now don't get me wrong. They are still 12 and 13 year-olds who need reminding of picking up after themselves, but I like to think they appreciate it anyways.