Sunday, February 22, 2009
Every time I move the seats I step back and survey the room with a little bit of excitement. My head is filled with visions of how this new arrangement will transform my classroom, transform the students, making them engaged and well behaved and respectful. I picture groups working together, without throwing things, or jumping out of their seats, or hitting one another. I picture hands raised, and cards and toys away. I picture learning. I imagine questions being answered correctly, and myself, teaching, my voice at an even decibel, not raising my voice to be heard, or standing in silence, arms crossed, face annoyed, waiting for them to be quiet.
It’s a sign of pathetic class management – looking for a bandaid like this. Seating charts are, after all, just seating charts, and don’t really turn students into robots. If two kids want to fight, they will do it no matter where you seat them – and half the time I don’t have the energy to get into an endless, fruitless power struggle with a student over sitting the correct seat.
But it is a good sign, I think, that I can make changes that give me that hope, not matter how misguided it may be. It’s good to be able to hope. It’s good to be able to hold onto the thought that there are still things that it is within my control to improve. That I can make changes that will make things better. Seating charts and desk arrangements are not the solution – but they symbolize that I haven’t entirely given up hope.