There’s a lot of strategy and folk wisdom that goes into putting together a solid classroom seating chart.
Novice educators often make the mistake of thinking that the process is simple and put together some alphabetical monstrosity that torpedoes any chance at learning. A good teacher building a seating chart is like an iditarod racer selecting a hearty team of dogs for their grueling cross-country journey. They must make choices that maximize their team’s strengths, minimize their weaknesses, and forestall violent, cannibalistic insurrection.
This is the mark of a master teacher – a work of rigid, fearsome, symmetrical beauty. It is impossible to tell whether these children are waiting to receive mathematics instruction or to witness a public execution. The classroom environment is spartan, the pedagogy is severe, and the technology is nonexistant. In other words, educational paradise.
In constructing their seating chart, a good teacher must first know their students. Who are the alpha males? Who’s the queen bee? Who smells like old popcorn all the time? Once assessed, the mixing and matching begins. In a way, it’s like being secretary general of the United Nations. Do you think Israel and Iran are seated next to each other? Do you suppose the Serbs and Croats are allowed to mingle freely? Hardly. A good teacher places obnoxious delinquents like Sudan in the front corner to minimize their distration while chatty butterflies like Italy are seated next to quiet, serious South Korea. Canada is a teacher’s dream – they’re responsible, pleasant, and can help defuse trenchcoat-wearing weirdos like Russia.
Properly placed, the classroom becomes a harmonious, symbiotic whole. Mishandled, the classroom becomes a flaming heap of overturned desks and desecrated bulletin boards. This is the difference between being a highly qualified educator and being a Taco Bell shift manager or combing the bears at the zoo or something else dumb.
Educators of America, you’re welcome.