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.