Monday, May 9, 2016

Is Assigned Seating a thing of the past?

Give them choice! Let them be free! Remove the shackles of traditional school and allow them to fly and forge their own path as they enter the room and ponder where to sit!  I mean, right? We should let our students sit where they want, every day, right? When we let the students choose where to sit, it's our way of respecting them, of treating them like an adult, of valuing their wishes. In our 21st century classroom, we can't possibly assign seats any longer right? It's so old fashion! It's micromanaging. It's...actually what we should do. So assigning seats a thing of the past? I would argue most definitely no.

Our goal is for our classroom to be a safe place where our students feel comfortable and feel safe. Sure, when we let the students pick where they want to sit, a large majority of them will think, "yeah! This teacher is cool!" and they will love it. They will get to sit by their friends, they will feel like they aren't being oppressed, and they will get excited. But what about the students who won't feel like that? For some students, the moment they hear "pick your own seats," they are filled with anxiety and dread because they don't know who to sit by, they don't have any friends, and they are nervous that they will once again be singled out as unpopular and laughed at. For me, I didn't want even one kid feeling anxious or nervous in my classroom. When students get to pick their seats, at least one student will feel anxious. No doubt. When they do NOT get to pick their seats, sure, some will complain, but nobody will feel anxious about where to go. They will all know where to sit and for those anxious kids, they will feel better and feel safer because that is their seat. They are supposed to sit there.

Assigned seats give each kid a place in the room. It allows them to enter, know exactly where to go and begin to focus on learning from the start, rather than 30 minutes into class when/if the anxiety and/or embarrassment has worn off because nobody wanted to sit by them. Assigned seats allow you to mix up the interaction between your students so they are introduced to new kids and possibly new friendships. It allows you to give your students the opportunity to learn to get along with people they either don't know or don't like which is totally a life skill.

So, be the "cool" teacher and assign seats---kids will be thankful that you did.  

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