The only aspect of moving to flexible seating that has frustrated me (and it is pretty minor) is that my students believe the whole room is theirs. On the whole this is a really good thing. I believe it means they feel more comfortable in the classroom than my students did back when I assigned their seats. I believe it makes for an atmosphere that encourages risk taking and community. It is our space. All of ours.
The reason this is a frustration, at times, is that my space, the area that I see as mine, is not seen as any different by my students. I don’t actually have a desk, which I think is part of why they don’t see my area as any different from any other part of the room. At some point every year we have to have a discussion about respecting each others’ space and belongings. I tell them I would not go into their backpacks or cubbies without their permission and I would like them to do the same with my space and belongings. It usually works pretty well.
This mess is my area. The crates full of books are on the table I use to meet with students. When I’m not meeting with kids, in small groups or individually, kiddos do use the table just like any other. I don’t have any problem with that. Behind the table is a large bookcase (where all those books in the crates will eventually go). That’s where I keep the books that I reserve for read alouds, separate from the books in our classroom library.
Next to the bookcase is a two-drawer filing cabinet. That houses much of my office supplies and snacks (the kinds of things that used to go in a desk drawers, back when I had a desk). I can also use magnets to hang things on it. On the front I hang things I need to remember to deal with and on the side I hang things the students write or draw for me.
The only piece that is missing will sit in front of the bookcase. It looks like this.
It can sit in front of the bookcase because I can roll it away when I need to get to shelves it is blocking and that minimizes the space I’m claiming. This keeps other supplies and paperwork and things.
My computer will sit on top of the little filing cabinet when I’m not using it. Piles of things will likely end up on top of the drawer cart. Not having a place to really pile things is the number one reason I got rid of my teacher desk years ago. I realized its main purpose was as a place for me to dump things. I will admit that things often get dumped into drawers in this cart but that’s a more finite space. Not only did I gain space by getting rid of the desk but it has forced me to be better organized.
My goal is for the space I consider mine in our classroom to be as small a footprint as possible. Given how much stuff I have that’s no small challenge!