Sit right here: a commentary on assigned seating in high school

Sit right here: a commentary on assigned seating in high school

Ashlyn Hoffmann, Staff Writer

Students have had assigned seating since elementary school; at the time this was believed to be beneficial. Young students got the chance to meet new people and experience sitting in all different types of spots around the classroom. By assigning seats, teachers were able to keep their classrooms as organized as possible and prevent distractions and fighting within their rooms. Six years later, I still have assigned seating in most of my classes.

Many teachers feel that by allowing students to sit with their friends, the students become a distraction to themselves and the class. This claim is unfair as it assumes that students are as immature as they were a decade ago, which in most cases is untrue. If there happens to be a group of students who are disruptive in the classroom, the teacher can separate them, not the entire class. 

In elementary school and even middle school, I think assigned seating has a purpose. Now that we are in high school and only a few years away from adulthood, it feels unnecessary that we are not allowed to choose where we sit. I find that classes where I get to sit with and work with my friends are so much more enjoyable; I naturally excel in them more than the ones without friends due to the attitude I have going in.

Aside from interactions with friends, high school students also benefit from being able to fulfill their own needs to help them learn most efficiently. Nobody knows where a student would learn better than themselves. When a student walks into their classroom on the first day of school, they already know where they would want to sit. Students who know they have poorer eyesight would want to sit near the front, whereas students who prefer the quiet would want to sit in the back. If a student has a lot of questions on assignments, they’ll want to sit near the teacher; whereas if a student likes to look outside to gather thoughts, they’ll sit near the window. If a student is always cold they will sit near the heater and so on.

To me, it seems as if teachers who assign seats feel that this lack of choice keeps the classroom in order and the students focused on learning. What they fail to recognize is these are not just children who would rather be out on a playground. These students are a couple years away from living out on their own; people who have been adjusting to the learning environment for 10 to 13 years and know what they need to learn the most effectively. When teachers take this opportunity away from their students, they are stripping them of their full learning potential.