Monday, March 8, 2010

Kindergarten Field Trip, c. 1961
(I'm in the 2nd row)

syn·er·gy (sĭn'ər-jē) syn-ergos, συνεργός

The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect

is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

Little boys weren't made to sit still.

While in elementary school, I was convinced that my desk was devised by someone evil, intent on breaking my will. Last week I decided to 'take a day off'. So, I drove down to Andrew Jackson State Park, in Lancaster, SC., birthplace of Andrew Jackson. There I discovered a peaceful trail. I also stepped inside a one-room school replica. The effect was profound. I walked to the back of the room and sat at a desk. I pondered the differences between this room and my childhood classrooms. Then I considered three changes in education I have witnessed;

the end to segregation

the end to prayer in school

and, the evolution of the evil school desk. In this one-room school there were desks, gathered from different time periods, the oldest being a table and bench from the 1700s. I sat there and wondered about the students who called this table 'home'.

Cyanotype Print
First Patented School Desk
U.S. Patent #400,738
Anna Breadin
April 2, 1889

"A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher."
Matthew 10:24
The Message

I teach art. While teaching at Westminster Academy I built tables for the art room- simple, sturdy, 2x4 constructed tables. They were large enough for four students, and, they could be pushed together to form one large workspace. When I began at Trinity Prep in Charlotte I decided to build the same. A bonus I had not considered was provided by one of the parents, Brian Crutchfield, - dry erase board tops, on which the students could draw with markers.
Brilliant! Thank you Brian! He also built several counter tops, providing even more surface area to move paint and ink and glue and... stuff. Here is the napkin specs (available free to the first person who asks, just email me and I will send it to you. My email address is and one of the tables. Here are a few desks I found online, proving that school furniture has evolved.

And, the teacher's desk in the one-room school.

Maybe my art table will be found among the images one day.

No comments:

Post a Comment