That perfectly organized teacher desk, complete with an apple, might exist in stock images, but we all know it’s a far cry from reality. In fact, most teachers we know don’t even have a traditional desk.
“I had a desk, but I never sat at it. I mostly used it for storage,” says teacher Jen B. “Once I got rid of it, it opened up so much room.”
So why are so many educators ditching the idea of a traditional desk? More space and better collaboration are the top reasons, but teachers also told us they just aren’t sitting at their desks anymore. You still need a place to grade papers, meet with students, and plan lessons, so we’ve gathered our top teacher desk alternatives. If you’ve been debating giving up your desk, give one of these a try instead!
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Put something on wheels and you’ll instantly gain mobility. This holds true for a desk too. We like this laptop cart on wheels that adjusts in height to allow you to sit or stand. You might have to dock it near a power outlet when it’s time to charge, but this style will also allow you to unplug and move around as needed. Some teachers don’t need much more than this! Teacher Nicole R. says, “I ditched my big desk a long time ago. I have a small desk just for my computer and a desk top file.”
An apron obviously can’t hold your coffee mug and lunch bag, but it can hold a lot of your supplies! Many teachers have opted to forego their desks for a classroom apron.
Teacher and blogger, Hadar, says that since she first put on her teaching apron, she’s been saving time. “I don’t always have to look for things I’d just set down,” she says.
Go with a full torso design or one for your waist. Buy or even make your own. There are so many cute options!
3. Office Cart
Is your desk just a place to collect things? Get rid of it or repurpose it as teacher Sarah D. did. “I put my desk in the closet, and I use it as a shelf,” she says. “I realized I never sat at my desk except between classes and after school, so I just sit at a student’s desk or classroom table instead.”
Intrigued? Try it for a week before moving it out of the classroom. You may not even miss it! But you still need a place to store your items. An office cart like this one (with or without drawers) allows you to a place to put your own supplies, your lunch, your phone, and anything else you need to store for the day.
If you could really use more storage space over leg space, why not try a cube shelving system where you use the top for your desktop?
Just take a 2×4 shelving system and lay it on its side. Stack binders or paper in an open square, or keep them a little less cluttered with fabric storage bins filled with yours or student supplies. The top is then free for papers or anything you might need a desktop for. (There’s even this desk design that incorporates cubes!)
5. Narrow Desk
Not all teachers can embrace the concept of no desk. “I have a desk and couldn’t work without it,” says teacher Lisa E. “It’s my home base for before and after school.”
We understand that it can be difficult to get rid of your desk completely, but that doesn’t mean you need a big, bulky one that takes up a lot of classroom. We like the simple design of this desk, and it even folds if you need to push it to the side entirely! If you’re a teacher who doesn’t like all that clutter, a narrow might just be the thing you need. If you’re thinking, Great, but where do I put all my stuff? then maybe it’s time to invest in a rolling storage cart like above!
Study after study touts the benefits of using a standing desk: better posture, reduced risk of cancer and more! If you’re able to go all-in and buy a new desk, we like this version that allows you to raise or lower as needed.
If you need to make your current setup work or you have less money to spend, try a desktop conversion option. These just sit on your current desk and elevate everything to a standing position.
Kidney table, kidney table, kidney table. The majority of teachers told us this is their top choice of teacher desk alternatives.
“I got rid of my desk 25 years ago and have never regretted it,” Betty N. says. “I use a kidney table and love it because you can spread out while planning.”
There are several options for this type of table with varying colors and even an option for wheels! The nice thing is that they have a good amount of surface area, but don’t take up a lot of space. Be careful of too much clutter though. Try to make it a goal to start with an empty surface every day, and you’ll definitely maximize your productivity.
Do you have other teacher desk alternatives? Head over to our WeAreTeachers Facebook Deals page to share your faves!
Also, check out flexible seating on a budget.