Benefits of Having a Seating Chart in the Classroom – And How to Wing it Without One!
Classroom seating charts are a powerful teaching tool when they are used in an effective manner. No teacher can create a seating arrangement for the first day of school that will remain unchanged on the last day of school. You must go into the year expecting to make changes along the way as each child’s personality comes out, friendships are made, and fights erupt.
There are two main benefits of having a seating chart in the classroom at the beginning of a new year:
- It is easier to remember which face goes with which name if all faces are in the same place each day.
- You can seat children with known learning disabilities and behavioral challenges closer to your desk. This makes it easier to remember which students have special needs and allows you to watch those students closely to determine how you can help them.
Once names are memorized and personalities are better understood, the seating arrangement becomes a tool that helps maximize teacher control over the class. A respectful and orderly learning environment is created when this tool is used effectively.
As a substitute teacher, you do not have the personal knowledge that the full-time teacher has collected about each of the students. In elementary schools, you may notice name tags on the desks that indicate the students are well aware of the seating arrangement. In intermediate, middle or high schools, you will have to check the instructions and paperwork provided by the classroom teacher to see if a seating arrangement is in effect.
When you do not find a hint of a seating arrangement and there are no clues within the classroom, immediately create a temporary plan before students arrive. This allows you to take control of the class right from the start. The benefits of this are the same as those listed above for full-time teachers beginning a new school year.
If you have information regarding students with special needs, start by placing those students in seats close to your desk or wherever you will spend most of your time. Arrange the remaining students quickly, and plan to make change to the arrangement throughout your time in the classroom.
Many full-time teachers now use programs like Happy Class to manage their seating charts. You may want to have something like this available for longer substitute assignments.
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