This Spring Break, I decided to move my office around to make a more friendly, safer space for conversations. Originally, the large brown wooden desk divided the room in half. I would be sitting on one side, while those students, parents and staff that came into my office were on the other side. It felt very much like what Daniel Pink said in his talk at the #ASCD14 conference: unbalanced levels of power. My big black chair was higher than the smaller purple-grey chairs; the desk dividing that power; and my computer pinged throughout conversations that often tempted me to check the emails. I moved the desk against a wall, which now forces me to swivel my chair to talk to those in the office; facing away from the computer screens.
I placed a nice rug in the center to focus the conversations and have a plant near the window to brighten up the room. I still have a mirror on the far wall, that distracts some in the office, but I am hoping the more cozy the space, the more focused the conversations will be.
It is amazing how a little change in the room makes a huge difference in the feel of the space. I haven’t yet had anyone in my office, but next week will be the testing phase. Some teachers still want candy in my office, but I find that it gets eaten quickly, even when no one comes in…..