Is it Time to Replace the Idea of Individual Teachers Holed up in Their Classrooms with Something more Collaborative? Here’s my 5 Thoughts…
I spend a lot of time at my desk – not when I am teaching. I am NOT the “teach from the desk” kind of educator. But, during lunch and prep times, I can always be found at my desk – planning, prepping, writing, stressing, etc.
It recently occurred to me that while I am holed up in my room, I am totally disconnected from my colleagues.
What if, instead of working in my classroom, I shared a common workspace with my colleagues?
At first it would be distracting. Even annoying. Eventually, however, so much would change, and in so many positive ways.
1. Think of the all the collaboration opportunities that would be sparked.
2. Think of all the ideas/best practices we could share.
3. Think about all the emotional venting that we could onload or support we could give each other.
4. Think of all the meetings you would no longer need!
5. Think of all the classrooms that would not have teacher desks.
Obviously, a change like this would be significant and tough to organize. You would need to find rooms to convert for the purpose. There would also be much resistance to overcome.
But, it is worth a thought.
Let us know what you think!
8 thoughts on “What if Teachers Shared a Common Workspace?”
Ooh, number 4 sways me towards your side! I still think that sometimes you need a quiet space, though. Sometimes, too much emotional venting is too much. But, since my classroom is miles from anyone else and I’m the only ‘me’ (only drama teacher) at the school, a shared space where I could actually see other adults during the day would be great!
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It would be nice to have a shared space with some private areas to sit in to focus. A comfy corner and a pair of nice headphones.
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We don’t have our own classrooms so we have to use the staff room as our workspace…it’s often distracting when you want to work in quiet but you’ve made me see the positive side to it…although we still have lots of useless meetings. 🙂
Hi, thanks for the response. Wow, the staff room seems too social for a workspace. Loved your comment about meetings! Too many meetings could be replaced by an email.
HI – we are a full IB school, very segregated into primary (up to and including G6) and secondary (up to graduation), and have no common work area. Previously in my HK school we had the common staff area which lead to natural collaboration and a collegiality that seems to be more difficult with the teacher classroom scenario, particularly for secondary. We also had “2 minute stand up meetings” every morning that everyone was expected to attend, which led to less meetings and emails. I would strongly endorse Nos 1 – 4 as being positives!
Paulenne, thanks for taking the time to comment. I love the sound of those 2-minute meetings. Can you tell me more about them – where they happened, how they were organized? Thanks again!!!
My high school was designed this way, as many universities are. Departments had office pods with a common workroom in the middle of a cluster of small offices. The workroom was where departments held meetings, or students could meet with teachers for extra help. To make up for the extra space classrooms were shared by multiple teachers, so instead of sitting alone in your room during prep time the room is used and you sit in your office. It was very effective. The 6th and 7th grade teams had office pods by grade levels, and 8-12 by department.
There was also a common area for students by grade level, with tables and couches. Lockers were arranged around the common areas, sp students had to stop by a few times a day. It was stress relieving for students too to have a space to share, talk about teachers, and discuss work.
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Hi, I enjoyed the same space concept when I was teaching high school. Although working privately (and quietly) has its advantages, I think I am missing out on what my colleagues are up to. Right now, I am hearing about their work via students and that seems weird to me.