Pro/Con: To switch or not to switch

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Illustration by Rachel Carroll, President of National Arts Honors

Pro By Faith Evans

The dreaded, condemning phrase that at least one teacher utters right at the beginning of the school year, right when you let your guard down and carelessly sit at the first desk you see: “Hope you like your seat, ‘cause that’s where you’ll be for the rest of the year.” What is more frustrating than that? By refusing to switch up the seating chart, teachers deprive students and themselves of the benefits that come with a new classroom layout.

New seats means new friends…or enemies. Whether it’s escaping the antagonist, reuniting with sidekicks, or finding new allies, new seats bring a much needed quarterly change of scenery. Teachers will also find those first few days of unacquainted silence a much needed break from the usual rancorous classroom setting.

Seating location can determine who has the wall display advantage. It just doesn’t seem fair that Jim-Bob got to sit next to the world map all year in geography, while all Sally-Mae had was the ‘hang in there’ poster to aide her on the ‘World Countries’ assignment. Changing student seats will better balance those cruel little conveniences so that everyone gets a chance to have the upper hand.

Some say humans are creatures of habit, and changing seats only brings unneeded stress, but going to school everyday, sitting in the same seat everyday, looking at the same posters everyday, and talking to the same people everyday for an entire school year isn’t helping students grow and learn in any way. Students develop socially and become more open to the concept of different when they allow change into their lives.

Dynamic seating charts bring new perspectives. Students will become get to know the teacher, and those around them, with new seats, and classroom discussions will be more open. Pupils will become more familiar with their instructor when they see how they operate in different parts of the classroom with different people, and they will become more comfortable working with those around them when given the opportunity.

Don’t force students to endure one more quarter in a painfully everyday seat. With the start of a new quarter, now is the perfect time for teachers to rearrange the seating chart in a fabulous, new, and exciting way to open up opportunities for students and broaden perspectives for all.

Con By Maddie Baker

Changing seats is a hassle that nobody needs in the already chaotic lives of teenagers. It takes four weeks to work up the courage to start a conversation with the cute boy next to you. Two weeks later, you have a system for taking notes, and you have a strategy on how to study with each other before quizzes and big tests, which helped you to get straight A’s all quarter. Now the unfortunate time has come to move yet again. No more biology buddy that’s got your back if you fall asleep or are absent.

Switching desks disorients a student’s mental schedule and thought process. Taking away the environment someone is used to can negatively affect their performance. It can be stressful for a person to start all over in a new and unfamiliar location. Being placed in a position students aren’t used to can make students uncomfortable and reluctant to participate in class.

It’s confusing for the teachers, too. They have to adapt to the new seating arrangement. Taking attendance and passing back papers becomes a whole new struggle. 10 minutes of class wasted, so you can sit like an awkward newbie on the first day of school.

Changing seats often results in conditions that were worse than the seat one originally had. Your neighbors can go from students who may slightly annoy you to students who refuse to stop talking and ask you for the homework they didn’t do, everyday. Your friends are now across the room from you. Humans are social creatures; they need people near them that can interact with them. You no longer can see the board anymore because the kid in front of you is at least seven feet tall. Even that really cute kid is out of sight.

In the high school movies, you never see the teachers spending time rearranging where the students sit. Even people who produce movies realize that high school is too old to be arranging where students sit. You are, at most, four years away from college. Students should be mature enough to choose their own seats. When you move, you cause people to act out or become insubordinate in protest. It doesn’t truly matter if you sit in the back or in the front when everybody is learning the same material, so rearranging the seating chart of the class is a moot point. Students don’t need to be told where to sit. They are prepping for real life, and keeping a seating chart is not included.