The Best (and Worst) Place to Sit in the Classroom

Although there are no seats in the classroom from which students cannot earn a decent grade, their are a few choice spots where students with the highest scores typically gravitate toward.


—————————-FRONT OF CLASSROOM——————————-

Above is a diagram of a typical classroom. Actually it’s my classroom. There are 6 rows of desks, 5 desks deep. Sometimes the desks are grouped in pairs, depending on whether there is an activity or a solo assessment. The diagram is simplistic, but all classrooms — even ones with clusters of desks or tables — fall into one of these three areas.

The Red Zone (Good)

If the teacher is right-handed like me, the red zone is often where the lowest performing students will often choose to sit, almost self-segregating from the other students. (If the teacher is a lefty, switch the yellow and red.) I think the reason some students choose a seat in the red zone is precisely because they know they are not in a direct line of sight of the teacher. In fact, the teacher’s back will often be to these students when writing notes and doing examples at the board.

Think twice about sitting here if you want to improve your grades. You adopt the habits of the people you spend the most time with. (Rachel’s Challenge #3: Choose positive influences!)

The Yellow Zone (Better)

The yellow zone is for loading and unloading only… lame humor attempt, sorry. The students here can be a mix of performance levels. Students in the yellow zone are within eye shot of the instructor, but they are farther away from the board, so there can be a tendency to drift into reverie. Although this is not the best place to sit, it is better than the red zone.

Be cautious about choosing a seat in the yellow zone even though many high performing students sit here.

The Green Zone (Best)

The green zone is often referred to as the “T” zone. This is where the highest performing students tend to sit. Theses seats not only provide an unobstructed view of what’s happening at the front of the classroom, but they promote attentiveness. Whether the teacher is a righty (like me) or a lefty, the students in the green zone are in plane view. The likelihood of students zoning out in these seats is low.

This is the most desirable real estate in the classroom if you are looking for tactics to help improve your performance. Remember, if you want to be a good student, the you have to do good student stuff!

The morale of the story…

Some teachers have assigned seats, and you may not get to select your seat, and this advice may be moot. However, more and more teachers, in keeping with physiological component of Glasser’s choice theory, allow students to select their own seats.

Be mindful, however, as sitting in these locations is not an on-off switch. That is, just because you choose a green zone seat does not instantly improve your performance. Remember, we’re not in the microwave game, we do crock pots. Even if a student obtains one of these coveted spots, she still has to do some heavy lifting, and be patient. Remember… learning is a verb. It’s something you do, not something that happens to you. But seat choice can help tip the odds in your favor.

Where do you sit?