Let’s start by clearing the air. No, this isn’t an early April Fool’s Joke. We wish it were, though. Teachers in one school district are packing up their things after the new district administrator called for the removal of all teacher desks and chairs.
A thread about the desks being removed made its way to Reddit, sparking outrage in comments.
“Some new district administrator decided that the problems in our district and education is that teachers are lazy and that we shouldn’t be allowed to sit ever on campus,” wrote adventuringhobbit. “The admin is removing teacher desks and chairs.”
No desks and chairs mean teachers are being forced to get creative when it comes to finding a place to lesson plan, grade, conduct conferences, and use their computers.
It’s not the first time admins ditched desks
One teacher commented that an admin tried banning teacher desks at their school years ago.
“I don’t think the admin who did it was being malicious, I think she genuinely thought it was a good idea. She was an idiot,” said archivalia.
The new policy didn’t stop teachers from bringing in their own desks and chairs.
“I hand-trucked [my] desk straight through the main office. I’m a college-educated professional who requires a desk for the HOURS of daily work I am required to do at a computer,” they go on to say. “I’m planning. I’m grading. I’m researching. I’m in IEPs and site meetings. And hell, sometimes I just need to sit down.”
Even with desks, sitting often merits performance dings
Other teachers chimed in to share their experiences with similar policies that prevent educators from sitting at their desks.
One teacher shared about a former admin’s policy that “if the kids are in the room you shouldn’t be sitting.”
“If they walked by and saw you sitting during class you got a nasty email and it was marked against you in your evaluation,” sraydenk shared.
If you can’t sit, lay
Many teachers got creative and shared different ways they would respond to this latest no-desk approach.
“It’s time to literally LIE DOWN on the job! Maybe throw down a nice picnic blanket and a pillow, and teach from a comfy position,” suggested okibousou.
Others suggested boycotting work that would typically be completed at a desk.
“No attendance, no assignments on Google Classroom, no presentations, no worksheets, as those require computers, no documentation for PTCs, etc.,” said soireb. “Don’t do the work if there are no conditions to complete said work.”
Teachers in the thread also raised concerns about ADA compliance and OSHA standards.
“That is illegal,” wrote Ferromagneticfluid. “If you are working for a certain amount of time, you are entitled to both breaks and a place to sit.”
A teacher with Cerebral palsy shared their perspective.
“As a person with a physical disability if anyone ever complained about me sitting… Well, let’s just say they wouldn’t do it a second time,” said elanrach. “I actually stand up and walk around a lot, but there are times I do sit. I absolutely have to. Cerebral palsy makes my muscles weak.”
But what about admin desks?
“I expect this to be happening at the district office as well since professionals don’t sit or need desks when they work,” wrote kinishakenbake.
LozNewman is a teacher who has arthritis in their knees and a clever idea about how to turn the tables (pun very much intended) on admins.
“[I’d] go straight to an admin’s office [and] carefully relocate all their desktop stuff onto the floor and drag that desk and table back to my classroom,” they shared. “In fact, I’ll probably turn it into a class activity and have my students do the dragging. And give them a smidge of extra credit for it.”
This just feels like the punchline to yet another article about the current state of teaching. With teacher burnout at an all-time high and policies like this that seem like they’re ripped from the front page of The Onion, it’s no wonder that 50 percent of educators say they’re considering leaving.