4 Ideas for Innovative Teacher Stations
- September 5, 2022
- Anthony Bowie
Author: Dr. Christina Counts
For decades, teachers have sat in the front of the classroom behind a bulky, stationary desk. While this approach works for many educators, these teacher stations have always left something to be desired.
At MiEN, we’ve created the THX Double Pedestal Teacher Station, a traditional-style desk with storage that solves many of the problems that teacher stations have had in the past. This desk offers two mobile storage pedestals that can be shifted for ample legroom and comes in an adjustable height version to support proper ergonomics. While many teachers love this traditional approach to a teacher station, a front-of-classroom teacher desk isn’t the only option for creating a teacher station in a learning space.
It’s crucial for teachers to have their own space to stay organized, focus when they need to, and be comfortable, but these spaces don’t need to be plain and old-fashioned. Instead, consider leveling up your teaching station with an innovative approach and modern furniture pieces.
Traditional teacher desks can be cumbersome and take up a lot of space. While these desks offer the benefits of more built-in storage and a large workspace, some learning spaces may be more conducive to a teacher station with a smaller footprint. There are a few different approaches you can take to design a smaller teacher station, but the most obvious is to use a smaller desk, such as the ELV8 Hudson Sit-2-Stand Teacher Station. This teacher desk still offers a spacious work surface, but its curved shape provides versatility and allows it to fit in smaller spaces. Additionally, when compacting a teacher station into a smaller space, it’s still critical to provide ample storage space, which can be accomplished by utilizing vertical space and choosing storage solutions that are taller rather than wider.
With modern learning tools––and much of your grading and other work being done on a personal device––you may find that you no longer need all the workspace offered by a traditional desk. Instead, consider a mobile teacher station, like the 2G2BT Presentation Station with HMU Side Table. Teachers like to teach anywhere, and this station with its detachable side table can help to support teachers with a more flexible teaching style. An even smaller mobile option, like the MST Mobile Storage Tower, can be useful for teachers who travel around the school throughout the day, or who share a classroom with another educator. Mobile teaching stations make it possible to always keep personal belongings and teaching materials close by for easy access.
For many classrooms, a stationary teacher station is the best option, but if your school is more innovative and focused on active learning, you may benefit from ditching the desk all together. Although we don’t recommend completely removing teacher storage and presentation hubs from your learning space, mobile storage towers and presentation stations can easily be moved to any of the diverse learning zones around the room, allowing teachers to have the same flexibility and choice in their work station throughout the day as students do in active learning spaces. Additionally, this approach requires students and teachers to share the entire learning space, which reflects the open-concept offices students may work in in the future. This environment and culture offers a unique experience to students and teachers alike, creating stronger student-teacher relationships and helping students build a wider set of social emotional skills associated with sharing and maintaining a learning space.
A new idea that some schools have begun to experiment with is removing teacher stations from the classroom and setting up shared teacher planning rooms. This option is particularly useful for schools with a small space, especially if teachers share classrooms or travel between classrooms throughout the day. A teacher planning room offers a central hub where teachers can relax and focus and keeps shared learning spaces from becoming crowded or cluttered. With this approach, teachers still need personal storage space to keep their materials and devices, but mobile towers can meet this need, or you can add storage within the planning room for each teacher to use.
After so many years of teaching from the same old desks, innovative teacher stations can offer a refreshed approach to teaching. Not only can these new teaching areas improve teacher satisfaction and help educators feel more connected, but they can also support active learning methodologies and increase student achievement. Try one of these teacher station options to help guide your school to become a more active and modern learning environment!
Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Education for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces into modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space. She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!