When I started teaching, I was advised to give great consideration to my seating chart. I would use it, I was told, to keep order in my classroom. The power of the seating chart was considerable, I was assured, and I needed to use it effectively.
What rubbish! With the exception of the occasional cluster of boys or girls who needed to be split up and knew it the moment they sat down together, the seating chart is little more than a support for the teacher to learn names and take attendance.
For many years I didn’t even have a seating chart – students sat wherever they wanted. Then I was advised that substitute teachers find them handy, and I started making them. Rather, I let the students make them. Wherever kids seated themselves on the third day was where they tended to stay for the rest of the semester. On the third day I passed around a template, kids printed their names, and we were done.
Once in a while I needed to find a new seat for someone, but not often. It’s not the seating chart that maintains order. It’s the dynamic of the relationship among the teacher and students.
I’m participating in Kelly Hines’ Blogging Challenge. This is Day Seven, “Share a classroom management tip.”