How to create the perfect teacher desk

Does your desk look like a dream workspace or a dumping ground? Check out Grainne Hallahan’s tips to making the most of your table

teacher desk

If you’re lucky enough to have your own classroom, you also have the burden of keeping your work desk in order.

Naturally neat and organised teachers can look away now (you already have a superpower the rest of us crave). 


Quick read: 10 features of a flexible classroom

Quick listen: The truth about mental health in schools

Want to know more? How learning to drive made me a better teacher


For all the rest of us, here are five easy ways to get your desk to be outstanding in all areas.

Simplify your filing

It may seem like a good idea to have a folder for everything, but in reality all you’re doing is taking up desk space, and risking some kind of terrible folder-domino situation. 

Instead, get a simple “to deal with” and “dealt with” paper tray, and everything else gets stored elsewhere. 

And don’t be sentimental, the recycling bin should be used liberally. And take (GDPR compliant) photos of anything you think you might need to look at again to avoid “keep it just in case” syndrome.

Put cutlery dividers in your draw

Even if you have drawers that struggle to be heaved open due to all the rubbish you’ve crammed inside, you are not beyond salvation. What you need is a draw divider.

A simple cutlery one will do, or you can fashion your own from cardboard.

Use it to make space for pens, remotes, staples...all the boring stuff that you don’t care about until you really need to find it in a panic.

If you like it then you shoulda put your name on it

Queen Bey knows that the secret to happiness is marking your territory. 

Just like we tell the children: if it's not labelled, how will anyone know it is yours? (The answer is not “sniff it”.) 

Also, fewer thefts occur from teachers whose stuff is labelled (I speak from bitter experience) so from pens, to mugs, to chairs – stick your name on it if you want to keep it.

Have a snack drawer

This won’t necessarily keep your desk tidy, but it will keep you happy. Fill it with your favourite marking snacks (I highly recommend sesame seed bars).

This forward thinking will always be appreciated when you’re half way through a class set of books and don’t want to break your marking rhythm to satisfy your hunger.

Get a toolbox

If you’re a classroom nomad, you will need a contraption to take what you need when you dash between classrooms.

I’ve seen wheely-trolley bags (the kind your grandma was so fond of) and Jenga-block style towers of tupperware boxes – but by far the superior method for portable desks is the toolbox.

It’s tough, has a nice big handle, and you can store marking, stationery, and text books in there. Winner.

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Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan is Tes recruitment editor and senior content writer at Tes

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