Flexible Seating Ideas to Make the Alternative Work for Your Classroom

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Updated | 7 min read


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  • Josephine Golcher

    I was a high school science teacher for nearly 40 years both in the US (California) and the UK. The science lab was flexible in the way students were encouraged to move around. Nuffield Science (UK) was light years in front of the US high school curriculum until the introduction of NGSS. However my comments are directed towards US elementary classrooms as a substitute teacher not as the regular classroom teacher. I substitute throughout our district which is high achieving and consists of 7 K-5 and 3 middle schools. So usually I am assigned to a new classroom that I have never seen before. And may never see again. Remember I don’t know anyone. So usually they begin to move around subtly and silently. Names are an important part of their persona, they quickly realize that it is hard for me to discipline any particular person. Elementary teachers usually leave me a list of helpful and less helpful students. But remember I have no idea of who they are, physically. So please leave a seating chart on the days that you will be absent. With some notes to go on it. Discuss in advance expectations with your students. This would be a tremendous help on the days that I am called in at the last moment. Also please remember that substitute teachers are not there for the money (really?), we are usually highly qualified and we do it for love of teaching. My district is wonderful and the teachers fantastic.

    • Kristian

      Hi Josephine, Some great feedback for teachers here. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Padma Sekar

    There is definitely a lot of options in my classroom and school as far as flexible seating but this year I'm planning to introduce more and reduce tables in the classroom. It definitely helps children feel at home and with clear expectations students can achieve more.

    • Kristian

      Hi Padma, Thank you for your lovely comment. I am so glad you are enjoying our resources.

    • Royce (Teach Starter)

      Hey Padma, thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion on this blog. It is great to hear teachers exercise different ideas in their classroom.

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