Classroom organization isn’t just about where to put all the manipulatives that come crashing out of the cupboards when you open them. Or how to organize a classroom library so students can actually find an interesting book on their own reading level.
It can be simple.
Figuring out what to put on your teacher desk – a place where you probably spend many, many hours sifting through piles of paper – is an important piece of an organized classroom.
When I was sent to a classroom to observe for my very first education college course eons ago, I had an amazing cooperating teacher that I learned so many valuable lessons from as I was starting my career in education.
I pretty much thought she was the bees knees (and she was).
One vivid day in my memory, I was observing the class as usual (it was my first basic teacher ed level course so I wasn’t there to teach necessarily, but rather just watch) and by this point, I had been in her classroom over 10 times over the course of the semester and knew how she ran most everything. And the students all knew me well too.
Well this particular day, she wasn’t feeling so hot so after picking the students up from PE, she asked if I would mind giving the spelling test while she took a minute in the teacher’s lounge.
She explained that the spelling test papers were on her desk.
I had seen the spelling test given several times and had even helped grade them in previous weeks, so I knew what the assessment paper looked like.
I walked the students back to class and went to grab the stack of blank tests.
Ummmmm – she had piles and piles of paper stacks!
I panicked for a hot minute as this was the first time I had solely been in charge of this classroom and I was already blowing it!
Needless to say after moving around a few stacks here and there, I found them buried under 3 other things and successfully carried out the task.
But I learned a very important-to-me lesson that day: I never wanted a guest in my classroom to feel like they couldn’t take over if needed because of my organizational style.
And even my teacher desk was an important part of feeling empowered in my profession.
What Should a Teacher Have on Their Desk?
A few must-have ideas of items a teacher might want include:
- large desk calendar
- writing and grading utensils
- paper or binder clips
- name plate (depending on the grade level maybe?)
- sticky notes
- Anything else you use on a daily basis multiple times through the day that you will be grabbing a lot
How Do I Organize My Teacher Desk?
After you have compiled everything you want to place on top of your teacher desk, you’ll probably need something to place your loose items in, such as paper clips or writing utensils.
Personally, I love using a cup as my writing utensils supplies holder. It can be plastic or glass. A cup or even an old coffee mug.
The best part is that I can personalize it with my name, grade level, monogram, or nothing at all if that fits better.
You could make several and hot glue them together on a lazy susan to make a turntable too! Be as creative you like.
One of the best parts of having something handmade is that you can have it match your classroom theme decorations and change it up as often as you like.
Now that you have your desk accessories set up, don’t forget the small touches that really make it sparkle!
Use fabric scraps to cover the lampshade.
Or use scrapbook paper to create a welcoming desk decoration.
A welcome pennant banner also adds a nice touch!
Want all the files to make the banner, cup label, and decor fans already done for you?
Check out the Organized Educator Packs ready to print and display right away in a ton of different themes!
Click HERE to see what sets are available now.
Want some more tips on how to utilize all the spaces around and inside your desk effectively? Sign up for a free on-demand workshop: The Anatomy of a Teacher Desk. It includes a FREE teacher desk checklist!
What other easy ideas do you have for decorating your teacher desk? We would love to hear in the comments below!