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Best seats (and tables) in the house

Queens teacher uses grant to upgrade classroom furniture
New York Teacher

First-graders are happily at work at their colorful new tables.

Miller Photography

First-graders are happily at work at their colorful new tables.

With hands covering their eyes and appeals for “no peeking” and “don’t ruin the surprise,” 1st-graders from PS 62 in Richmond Hill shrieked with glee when they opened their classroom door and found brightly colored tables and chairs instead of their dreary, old, scratched desks.

Teacher Victoria Primiano said the change has lifted spirits, lessened the distraction of keeping books and supplies in the old desks and improved the flow in the classroom.

What once filled the old desks now has a designated space on bookshelves. Students are assigned to a table but not to a seat, and they seem to enjoy the independence that gives them.

“They like having the freedom to change seats,” said Primiano. “Now each table seems more like a community, an open forum.”

Miller Photography

District 27 Representative Marilyn Manley (left) and teacher Victoria Primiano agree: thumbs down for the old and up for the new.

Primiano, who is the chapter leader at PS 62, didn’t wave a magic wand to upgrade and brighten her classroom. She made the magic happen by applying for new furniture — 10 tables and 30 chairs — through the DonorsChoose website.

She credits her principal, Angela O’Dowd, with encouraging teachers to look for outside resources to supplement diminished school funding.

The icing on the cake for the 1st-graders is that the class also has a new rainbow-striped rug to sit on for story time.