Posted in Edublogs, General

The Places I Work

prompt-2This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and edtech enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Hello Reader!

Thanks for stopping by. Today’s post is about my work space. The task was laid out as follows:

This week, we want to take a closer look at where we spend the majority of our work days. Our classrooms, our offices, cubes, home offices, coffee shops, or anywhere else where we “get work done”.

Write a post that discusses your classroom or place of work. Some topics you may wish to address include:

  • The physical space – how you approach layout of furniture, technology, etc.
  • The aesthetics – share a photo and/or discuss decorating your space
  • Staying organized – how you do (or don’t) keep organized
  • Tips, tricks, or advice related to the above
  • Anything else you wish to share!

We want just a little window into your daily work life.

I could probably fill this post with various photos of the work spaces I have had. I am not sure any exist of my first classroom. I was teaching 2nd grade at the time at a school that had been built in the 1950s. I was in a room that was primarily brick walls, except for its interior walls that were those accordion wall thingies from back when they did some kind of communal teaching. (Which I actually remember from my own 3rd grade experience at another school in the 80s.) In the center of the building were communal learning spaces that were accessible from the back of the classroom (there was no door and the accordon wall did not close all the way). These spaces were clearly no longer used for any useful purpose other than exposed and cluttered storage. It was a sad sight. In my classroom there were a few high narrow windows on the exterior wall and that was it. I did my best with that space, but it was a challenge.  When I think back on that room I wonder if the teachers there now have made better use of those center spaces…they would be perfect to make over for more innovative learning spaces. I would love to go back and see. After that classroom I became a “roving” teacher. I had a 4/5 combo class, 4 rolling cabinets, and no classroom of my  own. It was my district’s solution to a multi-track year round school calendar. I moved another teacher’s room every 6 or 8 weeks when they went “off track.” It was quite the experience.

My second classroom was a portable at another school in the same district. I was teaching 5th grade now. I got to experience the joy of a portable (no sarcasm intended!) and my own space. I really did enjoy it. Every wall in a portable is a bulletin board! My only complaint about portables is the floor and heavy footed students. 😉

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Outside one of my classrooms at my last school.
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A lovely day on the playground.
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One of the school computer labs.

Then I transferred to my last school where I had a few rooms based on grade level assignment.  The school was only a year old when I arrived and I was thrilled. All my previous schools had been old…and I don’t mean just schools I taught at. ALL my schools had been old…from K to college. It seems they suddenly got fancy new makeovers once I had long been through. So it was a real treat to work at a new facility. I had several rooms with nice built in cabinets and shelves and SOLID floors! Oh the little things in life. In my last year at this school I ended up in a portable again, which I didn’t mind. I enjoyed the lack of the built ins because it allowed me freedom to place furniture where I liked. It was a brand new portable to the school (one pulled from another site where it wasn’t needed and brought over so it wasn’t a NEW portable, just new to the school.) I got all new furniture which was nice, but the district was slow in getting it to the school and it didn’t arrive until just a few days before the school year. It was a mad race to beat the clock in getting it ready. I worked a few VERY late nights, but in the end it was good enough to go the first day of school. I loved it.

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Inside my new portable the night before the first day of school.

I was encouraged to apply for my current position as an Instructional Coach by my principal and ultimately by the director of the department I work in. I really didn’t want to leave mid-year but that is the way it happened. I had to pack up right before winter break 2015. I came over to the district office only to find they had no place for me and the 2 others they had hired for the department. So I was roving again, but in a much smaller way. I had my own devices and hotspot so I could do work anywhere (I have long been that way). Myself and my two colleagues spent several weeks huddled around our new director’s table in his office before they finally got us a small room of our own off site at the adult school. I was there for a fair amount of time before real estate (cubicles) opened up at the district office and we were summoned back, where I claimed a spot for myself, and I have been there ever since. It has been an experience scaling down from an entire classroom to myself (and 30+ students) to sharing a cubicle with one other person. All my classroom stuff lives in a storage unit now. I can’t let it go just yet because…you never know! I do wish I had at least an office with a door than a part of a cubicle…oh and a window would be nice.

Moving into a temporary space at the adult school.
Another angle of the adult school space.
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My new space at the district office.
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My desk at the district office.

At home I have an office which I am always changing. Because I am prone to WAY TOO MUCH screen time, I removed any actual desk and put in my treadmill (which I turned into a treadmill desk with a wood shelf and some clamps) along with a bike desk. So if I am going to be on the computer for hours at a time doing coursework for my doctorate or gaming or otherwise entertaining myself, then I am going to be moving!

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My office right after I moved my desk out and my equipment in.
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My desks: treadmill desk & bike desk!
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The view from my bike desk.

I also make pretty much anywhere a work space if I need it to be. I never go on a trip without my laptop or my Windows tablet. Even now, I made a work space at the dealership while waiting for my husband’s car to have it’s battery replaced!

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Me using the “customer business” table as my work space.
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It even has a window!

So this post turned more into “The History and Eccentricity of Mrs. Ruiz’s Work Spaces” than addressing much about the prompt blogging points, but I suppose that is alright. I am sure some of you can identify with me.

Author:

Wife, mother, K-8 National Board Certified Teacher, doctoral student and dog lover. Passionate about educational technology, academic innovation, and redesigning the American educational system.

5 thoughts on “The Places I Work

  1. I loved reading about your spaces! Your treadmill and bike stations are amazing. I changed to a standing desk last year and noticed a huge decrease in back pain. A treadmill would be even better.

    1. Hi Sheila! I am really glad I made my home office a more active space. I have a standing desk at work and for whatever reason I don’t really use it and I thought I would. Perhaps each time my Apple Watch tells me to stand I need to engage the standing desk. As for my treadmill desk I love losing track of time and having the treadmill stop on me when it reaches its max at 100 minutes. I usually take a brief break and then start it up again. I am not running at my treadmill desk but I am usually at a casual or moderate walking pace. I’ve done it this way for a while now and I have no complaints. The bike desk was a new addition a few months ago and I am really enjoying it. Got it at Staples after I happened to notice it shoved in a corner of the store. 🙂

  2. Great post. Very interesting reading about the work space transitions you’ve made over the years. I’m envious of your wonderful wall monitors in your home office! -Kai

    1. Thanks Kai! I was always a one monitor kind of gal, but fell in love with multiple monitors after I left the classroom. My home monitors are 27″ and I would have gotten larger if they hadn’t been beyond what I was willing to spend. I had to up the display from 100% to 150% to account for the distance and things are easy to see from the treadmill or the bike. The wall mounts they are on turn so I usually just have to angle them a lil left or a lil right depending on where I am at. 🙂

  3. Wow, you have experienced a wide variety of spaces! I love the concept of a treadmill desk, although I haven’t tried one. I wonder if I would feel nauseous, as I am prone to motion sickness. I’m also impressed by the double monitors. I remember visiting an office a few years back, where the user had several monitors, and thinking how useful that setup would be for me. I haven’t achieved it yet, but it’s a good reminder as I work on my laptop too much!

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