Change Your Seating Arrangement, Change Your Life

Seating Arrangement

If you’re like me, you’re the type of person who year after year has gotten “the class.” The one with the “difficult” kids who seem to give you a run for your money every day. If you’re like me, you also then roll your eyes at 99% of suggestions from training, articles, and even sometimes other teachers. You might even be rolling your eyes right now thinking I’m not going to be able to tell you anything that will apply to you. But if you’re like me, you also want to keep reading just in case I might be on to something here.

One of the biggest struggles for me as a teacher has always been trying to find a way to fit 35 desks in my room and still have a great classroom environment. Every year I have the same battle; I need to have my reading corner, my small group table, my carpet, my desk, plenty of storage for all my materials, and fit enough desks for 35 tiny humans in my room? Commence eye rolling. I’m told I need to have the kids be able to sit in groups so they can work cooperatively but we don’t want them talking too much. You need to have all of these required sections of your room but make sure you can move around it easily! Since this was an annual struggle for me, I pretty much just found one way to arrange my room that fit and stuck with it. The problem is that what works for one group might not work the next year. Nevertheless, I stuck to my seating arrangement absolutely convinced that NO other way would work in my room.

This year, I decided to step out on a limb and try something new. I dutifully went on Pinterest and looked at suggestions for seating arrangements. After a few minutes, I found myself scrolling through going “No. Nope. Won’t work in here! Too many kids! Nah they won’t be able to handle that.” Excuse after excuse came pouring out of my mouth until I thought “Why am I being so negative?” and gave one a try. I picked out an arrangement that I thought might fit my room and set my desks that way. The next day my students came in and OH. MY. GOD! The set-up was PERFECT! It seemed like way less than 30 kids in my room because of how the seats were arranged. The small groups allowed students to talk but were separated enough that I could keep apart who needed to be separate.

I was elated that I found a set-up that allowed my classroom to run so smoothly, but underneath my feeling was a bit different. I felt so annoyed with myself. I almost missed out on this amazing seating arrangement because I had convinced myself that nobody else had my kids or my classroom so none of their ideas would work. As I thought back, I realized how many times I had seen something and immediately written it off without even trying because “that won’t work for my class.”

It’s true, we as teachers often have no idea the day to day struggles other teachers go through. Each classroom and each group of students presents its own challenges and it’s often difficult to see how a suggestion or strategy from one teacher could be applied to your students. Not every suggestion will work. Not every suggestion will be perfect. You may need to take an idea somebody else presented and tweak it to fit the needs of your students. But speaking from experience, please give it a try. If you’re like me, a lot of times when people give you a suggestion your first reaction is to start mentally listing all the reasons it won’t work for you. So, speaking as the new me who just recently decided to change, I implore you, next time someone offers you a suggestion, keep those eyes from rolling back and your brain from making your list of what could go wrong and just give it a try. Who knows, you might just end up with the PERFECT seating arrangement! 🙂

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