That is a loaded question. After all, between my office desk and my two classrooms, I have many, many desk drawers. One drawer is a unique drawer from the rest. So to ask what is in “my” desk drawer is perhaps a metaphor for something bigger?
Desks, after all, represent a work space. A desktop is typically the space where urgent, immediate work is done. Drawers are places to store work that is finished or unfinished and supplies with which to complete the work that needs to be done.
My drawers also serve as graveyards for out-of-date technology such as old VGA cables and keyboards that are no longer functional. I also have two drawers with file folders filled with “useful” information that I have not accessed for years. When do those drawers empty themselves?
My favorite desk drawer is the “junk” drawer. That top drawer that contains a myriad of tools of the teaching trade. From breath mints to staples to writing implements, the world of a teacher is contained therein.
I also have some extra money that serves as a reserve in case I really need a couple of bucks some day. I have a spoon, just in case. Old photos of me and former students are stacked and buried somewhere in the back. The deck of cards of American Authors comes in handy now and then for putting students in random groups. Trays attempt to keep the drawer somewhat organized but they fail miserably.
What is in my desk drawer and why is it important? What do desk drawers have to do with being a reflective teacher? I suppose that understanding what I keep and what I throw away says something about me as a person and as a professional. What do I prioritize by putting it in the “junk” drawer that is closest to my workspace? What do I negate by relegating it to a file folder buried in the bottom drawers?
The best thing to have in any teacher’s desk drawer is some type of candy. A random reward for students goes a long way into convincing them that what you are teaching is somehow wonderful and righteous. That’s just my little tip.