LC: In my class, we do the desk fairy. So, she sometimes comes if your desk is really clean and she leaves you a treat. The, so what I do is not, I don’t do it regularly. I probably should do it more than I do. Um, but my students are in first grade, so they have some responsibility for their belongings. Um, they know that they need to, you know, keep their desk neat. They know if they don’t have a pencil that they can always get another one. But if you got one this morning, you really should be able to keep up with it for the day. Um, things like that. And our school specifically requires them to be ready, respectful, and responsible. That is our like mantra or whatever every day. And so one way that I teach responsibility is that you have to keep your desk clean. And so a few times a year, I probably should do it like monthly, but you get busy, you forget. But a few times a year I will go through, especially like maybe right before a day when we’re gonna be gone for a week or more. And I don’t want ants and things. Um, I will tell them to clean their desk out, like on a Friday or whatever. And then I go through after school. And if it’s clean enough to my standards where I feel like they can find everything, stuff’s not falling out of their desks, they don’t have trash in it. Then I give them a little treat. Sometimes it’s like this year it’s been little Smarties, you know? Um, they get that on a note that says that the desk fairy visited them. Um, and so it’s really fun to do it. Like the first time you do it, it’s really fun to have, like, almost everybody get one. Cause then they know what’s at stake. But then like as the year goes on, I might walk around the room and only, you know, six kids really have neat desks. And so they come in that morning and like those six kids are super pumped that the desk fairy visited them. But the other kids they’re like, Hmm. And some kids really don’t care and they’re like, my desk is gonna be a mess all the time. And then other kids they will actually clean their desk that day and hope the fairy will come right back and leave them something. So it’s just kind of a way to teach them to keep their space neat and just reward those that all always have their stuff together.
Me: Where did you get the idea for the desk fairy from?
LC: I think it originally, I think maybe I heard it from a, a colleague or a friend or I saw it like on Pinterest or something. Um, or Teachers Pay Teachers. The, the little note that I stick on it is from Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s like, it was a free resource that somebody posted. I know that it’s something that I had growing up. I think a couple of my teachers did it over the years.
Background: LC has taught first grade in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia for seven years. She graduated from the same school district that she now works in. Teachers Pay Teachers is an educational resource sharing website.
Context: This story was told to me over a phone call. Analysis: This immediately reminded me of another classroom tradition I collected, the leprechaun that visits on St. Patrick’s Day. However, I found it interesting that the Desk Fairy doesn’t have a specific time associated with her arrival. L said that the fairy often comes before a break, or when the classroom is getting particularly messy, but the continuation of the fairy tradition is ultimately up to the teacher.