ESL | Desk Warming

DESK warming. It’s like Marmite. You either love it, or you hate it. Personally, I am all about desk warming! It gives you time and brain space in peace and quiet with no distractions bar what the internet can provide (and then you’re entirely on your own with your self-control!)

AS I enter my fourth year of desk warming, I’ve found a few things that work for me and make my desk warming time really enjoyable! I should add, before we get into the list, that I am not in a shared office. My desk is in the English classroom. I’m perfectly content with this, but I’m aware that what works for me may not work for those of you in shared offices! So, in no particular order, let’s get stuck in!

Tip 1: Know where your snacks are!

Desk warming hours in Korea can feel long, especially during school vacation, and they can be excruciatingly cold in winter. I mean really cold. Like you’d be warmer outside than you are inside the school. This is why knowing where your next hot drink is coming from is pretty crucial. The shared office I am most often in has a sink and kettle etc, but it’s no fun traversing the corridors in the cold and I was lucky enough that when I arrived at my current school, my CT (co-teacher) at the time sourced me a kettle. What a babe! The kettle set-up has grown over the years so that I have my own wee tea station for myself or any visitors to my classroom.

Where the morning coffee magic happens!

The drip coffee paraphernalia was passed on to me when a friend left Korea, and it’s been awesome having this to wind myself into the day. It takes a wee bit of time, the routine is very soothing and allows for a wee bit of calm before the storm that is lessons.

Tip 2: Keep that desk tidy!

Ok, I will confess straight up that this is not the easiest of things. My desk routinely gets way out of hand, but there is nothing more satisfying and more conducive to good work than a tidy, well organised desk. When my desk is tidy I am ready to take on anything. Whilst I write this, my desk is 50/50 as I’m jumping back and forth between two projects depending on my access to the computer. It’s the beginning of Semester 2 and while I am usually in my second school on a Wednesday, today is their opening ceremony and there are no English classes, so I’m hanging in my number one school!

So how best to keep a desk tidy? Storage. Storage. Storage. Whether it’s a wee set of draws for stamps, post-its and erasers, or a paper tray for all those worksheets you’re trialing, storage is key. Find it anywhere you can and I promise things will be a lot easier and more comfortable!


Tip 3: Keep your colleagues happy!

This one depends entirely on your school set up and how closely you work with people be that on projects or physical proximity. I may be removed from my co-workers for the most part, but I do make the effort to go and see them down in their shared office. When I bake, I will bring it into school for all the teachers to share, if they ask for something, it’s done in a heartbeat. This is something that I don’t find difficult as I really like my co-workers.

With that being said, I know I am lucky and that you don’t always find yourself working with people you vibe with. In such cases it’s easiest for your own survival to keep your head down, let stuff happen and just. keep. smiling. Easier said than done, but worth it. If in doubt, take Elsa’s advice on this one: “Let it go.

Tip 4: Find a focus!

Some of you may already have a focus. You may be studying for a second degree, a Masters or even a PhD. You may be a keen photographer or a writer. Whatever it is, if you have a hobby or a studying for anything, desk warming provides great organised time for you to work on what it is you want to do.

Not all of us hit the ground running, however. I know that I did. I went from job where I was busy, busy, busy to a job where I have a text book and how much I contribute depends on the CT of the moment. Initially I didn’t know quite what to do with myself and I had no blogging direction.

I was inspired both by my co-workers encouragement of my supplementary materials and camp ideas and by seeing friends taking their blogging to a whole new level, in particular Wee Gypsy Girl.

Wee Gypsy Girl Screen Cap

I’ve mentioned Nicole before on this blog and I will shamelessly plug her again. If travelling is your thing, I encourage you to check out her blog. I’m totally biased, of course, but she really is an excellent and insightful writer. Watching her blog grow during her last year in Korea inspired me to dive in and give it a go, and find an avenue for me to do what I love, crafting and creating.

The bottom line is, if you don’t know what to do with your time yet, don’t worry about it. The right thing will find you when it’s meant too, but there’s no harm on trying things out while you’re waiting for it to find you!

Tip 5: Keep a calendar on your desk!

Perhaps it seems obvious, but I never used to keep a physical calendar on my desk, I never really stuck with a physical calendar at all. Now I have three. I have a monthly calendar resting against my printer, a weekly calendar on my mouse-pad thing (one of my favorite purchases in the world) and a bullet journal. It helps me keep pace of where I am in the month, where classes are, where blogs are and there’s no electricity required. I’m always going to be an analog girl at heart (says the girl with a pile of letters beside her about to be taken to the post office!)

This mouse-pad though! So useful and keeps everything neat and tidy!

Tip 6: Put things that make you happy in your eyeline!

Lastly, but by no means unimportant, is this little gem. Having a photo, a jar of hand cream (the wee cream bear peaking out of the mint green pot in the photo above) or a pikachu shaped fan (his head comes off!) can brighten up your day, and your mood, when you need it most. It’s always the little things!

So these are my top tips for desk warming. What do you to to keep yourself occupied during desk warming hours? Any tips that I’ve missed? Comment below!

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