Desks …


I’ve mentioned many times how important school was in my family. I had a conversation with a friend today and we were talking about workspaces and the inconsistencies that are coming to light now that so many people are working from home instead of school.

When you think about it, schools typically have it mostly right in providing workspaces for students and teachers. Recently, I ran across this meme on school desks.

I can remember a few of them over the years. Schools have tried to provide the best. I think that the choices have pretty much narrowed in on a table with a detached chair. When you have chairs of varying heights at your disposal, you can accommodate students in their growth and development.

Unlike my friends, my brother and I were never allowed to do our homework at the kitchen table. As long as I can remember, I had my grandmother’s old desk and chair in my bedroom. It went to university with me. University was probably the one place in my life where I was never able to sit comfortably. Yes, some of the rooms in the Mathematics Building had tables and chairs but those big lecture halls with the half desk that you’d pull up and flip over were never good for the old back. It was there that I got an appreciation for left handed writers who had to look for those special seats where the half desk thing (is there a correct term for that?) was on the other side.

Eventually, my old desk just didn’t fit the need anymore and I think we either sold or donated it to an antique dealer. I got my first computer desk – some assembly required. Grrr. Putting it together got us off to a love/hate relationship. Then, I bought my first computer – a TSR-80 Model III all in one. Wonderful computer but it sure didn’t fit the mold of a typical computer desk. But, I made it work by taking off the top level that would have been perfect for an external monitor.

Over the years, computers came and went and eventually fit nicely into a desk with a pull out keyboard drawer. My wonderful wife got me a more solid desk with a couple drawers at one point and it still works today. Yes, some assembly was required for it.

At school, we had a typical teacher desk. Nothing spectacular but functional with one of those high back plastic chairs that seemed to have a lot of writing on it. That was just for the classroom; we also had a department work area where another desk was there for actual work when someone else was in my classroom.

As I think about great desks over the years, I’m struck by how I need one today when I want to do some serious work. (like blogging or coding) I do have one of those lap things that I can place a laptop on while watching television but it’s not the same. Placement becomes important so that the screen doesn’t block out the television! For concentrated work, I do have to go to my desk where everything is at the right height.

I wonder, in these days of working at home, how many teachers and students have a dedicated area for doing their work. A regular desk where works in progress can be left; suitable for pen/paper work, suitable for computer use, etc. Or, does a kitchen table have to suffice? I know that I would struggle if I had to pack up and then unpack because my “desk” needed to be used for something else. I envision productivity going down the drain.

Will one of the outcomes of all of this be a renewed look at home workspaces and their importance? How are you making out? Do you have a dedicated space for work?

Thoughts about chairs are bound to come up in another post. I definitely have an opinion or two about them.

OTR Links 04/18/2020


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