Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Saving Them from Themselves


Eighth grade English. They were typing out an essay that they'd been working on for a couple days.

To make it easier for me to monitor their computer usage, the teacher had turned all their desks around. (This did help me out a lot.) However, they'd never seen the class configured this way, and it threw them for a loop.

Third period. "We can sit wherever we want, right?"

So, for the third time that day, I explained that their assigned seats were in the same place, only flipped to look at the back wall.

(It was a bit confusing, but the other classes didn't seem to think it merited sitting anywhere.)

When I went to take roll, however, I discovered that a couple students chose other seats. Grrr. But once I assumed they were absent (empty chair where they should have been), they moved back pretty readily.

The teacher was on campus that day, meeting with other teachers (some curriculum thing). So, I had a chance to talk to her after school.

I mentioned the seat movement. She knew exactly who had done it.

"Those three boys are always asking to sit together." She explained that when they sit together, they talk. No work. (And this was an advanced class, so these kiddos are the type that actually do their work.)

They'd tell her, "We promise we'll get work done this time."

And she told them, "You didn't do any work the last time or the time before that."

She said to me, "They should thank me. Seriously. I'm saving them from themselves."

They should thank me, too. Because that class was silent. They all got work done. And clearly they wouldn't have if I had not insisted on assigned seats.

Middle school teachers are very deliberate with seats for a reason. This is why I don't let them sit anywhere.

21 comments:

  1. They just don't handle temptation well. They will thank her in ten years or so.

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  2. Even the good kids like to test boundaries.

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    1. True. And friends are way more interesting than essay writing.

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  3. I guess I would have been confused with the seats being flipped around. Is the front the front or is the front the back?

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  4. Middle school students are at the age of pressing the limits. You handled it well.

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  5. Maybe the teacher ought to change up the room frequently to keep everyone on their toes. :-)

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  6. Yes, saving them from themselves. Guess someone did that for us when we were growing up, from time to time. But not in industrial strength quantities.

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  7. I was an easily distracted youth. To not have had assigned seating would have been both a joy and a detriment.

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    1. Ah yes. At that age some of them can't help themselves.

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  8. We are all creatures of habit - it is sure good to mix things up a bit (not least to improve learning!) I recently did a course an even as adults with free seating we ended up week after week going back to the same seats we'd chosen on day one! It's good for kids to be thrown a wobbly every now and then! Wren x

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    1. I know! I find myself taking the same seat in situations like that, too. I tried to change up my seat, and those around me weren't happy.

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  9. I bet it doesn't take the middle school teachers long at the start of a school year on readjusting their seating charts too.

    betty

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  10. Separating students who talk to each other and not do their work, does help. It's a different matter that they don't like it!

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    1. If they could be trusted to sit next to their friends, they would be allowed to.

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  11. I made a close, quirky high school friend because our mutual teachers all sat us in alphabetical order. :) Sad to say, he vanished after graduation. And I'm not the sort to go tracking him down in case he wants to stay lost. Most of our graduating class may well think *I'm* dead, for all I care. Heh... Nice job keeping these kids apart.

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    1. You haven't Facebook stalked them? I was unable to find my actual friends, but the reunion coordinator found me, so now I get invited to the reunions. Sigh.

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  12. At least they did their work but I could be a talker...when I wanted to be.

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  13. The Barbarians don't have assigned seating in all their classes, but some of the kids get very upset if someone sits in "their" seat. Be easier if they did have assigned seating I think.

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  14. Good they at least settled down once they realized they'd be marked absent.

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