Making seating charts is definitely in my Top 3 least favorite parts of my job. In my good classes it isn’t a huge deal (what’s the worst that could happen with a bad chart?) but changing the assigned seats in Period 3 takes hours. And even the best seating chart eventually wears out, so I’m constantly making new ones.
I have to find all the friends who talk and separate them across the room. Then I have to also separate all the enemies who fight. I have to put the kids who can’t see well or who really need supervision up in the front (but if you put all the problem kids up there, they just talk to eachother). Sometimes I put all the good/smart kids together so they’ll be rewarded and push eachother to work well, but then the low kids and the talkers get concentrated together. Other times I scatter them all, which means the good kids can separate the bad kids but then are miserable acting as a buffer between people who annoy them, and no one works well. Whenever I think it’s done, I realize that two chatters are actually diagonal from one another… or a flirty girl is next to a popular boy… or the kid who gets teased is in front of the boy who kicks chairs… or a kid who never works without supervision is in the back corner…etc. And then I make a change to fix that problem, and I cause a whole new problem. It’s exhausting, but disaster ensues if I don’t think everything through and it’s worth the effort for the behavior I can get from effective assigned seats. It’s like a huge, real-life version of those LSAT logic problems, and there’s little that I dread more.
And don’t even get me started on actually instituting the new chart the next day. Communicating where kids sit and dealing with kids who are horrified by their new seat (which always means I did a good job) takes a good 10 minutes out of class time. Ughhhhhhhhh