I've had a lot of desks throughout my teaching career. Most of them were unremarkable: made of dark wood. Heavy. Far too big, with drawers that didn't quite shut right and that were too often filled with half-chewed erasers, confiscated fidget spinners and old hall passes that never made it to the recycle bin. As I moved from classroom to classroom, I never felt much when I left my old desk behind. It was a place to stack ungraded papers and a perpetually empty cup of pencils. Just another piece of furniture.
However, two years ago, things changed. I got a new desk. And not just any old piece of furniture resurrected from a boiler room deep in the bowels of the school. Nope. My desk was handmade by my dad. We went dumpster diving in the brimming disposal bins next to recently built houses one sticky summer day in South Carolina for pieces of "good enough" wood. A few days, a lot of wood shavings and a couple of coats of paint later, I had a pretty nice desk (thanks, Dad).
Today, the desk sits in the corner of my seventh grade classroom. I'd like to tell you that I keep it perfectly organized, but the reality is that it's cluttered. I try to keep it clean, but I'm me. I'm a bit messy, and my desk is a reflection of me. Each item that sits on its surface tells a story. If you look carefully enough, you can read my desk horoscope:
A crocheted bee from my husband: I'm sentimental.
A framed picture of my very first group of Book Battle students: I'll never forget.
A large cup of iced tea: I'm tired.
A cat-shaped pouch brimming with my favorite colorful pens: I'm a writer.
An ever-growing stack of books: I'm determined.
Various stacks of Post-It notes, some with scrawled fragments of reminders: I'm a work in progress.
A button that exclaims "That was easy!" when you hit it: I'm silly.
My desk is more than just a flat surface with four legs. It's a landing spot, a personality kaleidoscope, a chaotic oasis in my classroom. And, should I change classrooms again, this is one piece of furniture I won't be leaving behind.