Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Sayings: Teacher Location

Is it possible that the location of the teacher in the classroom could be an indicator as to whether the activity really matters? 

Read on to find out what I think.

Proximity. It's very possibly the first thing every teacher learned in their classroom management course in college, and there's a good reason why. It works. Whether with first graders or adult drivers and police cars, proximity is an easy and effective management strategy.

This is one of the reasons why I never sit at my desk when the children are in the room. I acknowledge that the secondary world is a bit different. My cousin Laurie can sit at her desk while her AP seniors spend the class period independently writing timed essays, but I can't think of a time when using the teacher desk as a stopping place is appropriate in the elementary classroom. In fact, I would venture to say that if an elementary teacher is sitting at his/her desk, the children are not doing something worthwhile. If the activity matters, then the teacher will:

want to observe students
ask questions
take notes
check on understanding
prevent possible behavior issues
show students they're invested in every part of the day

None of this can happen without proximity and constant movement. And if the teacher doesn't need to do any of the above things and can sit at a desk instead, then the children obviously shouldn't be doing what they're doing either.

Is it possible that the location of the teacher in the classroom could be an indicator as to whether the activity really matters?

I say yes.

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  1. This is so true! I have sat through so many meetings where the admins are asking-how do you know they have learned it if you don't do some sort of formal assessment? Easy-I watch them. I can observe right away who gets it and who need more instruction. You can't do that from behind your desk. :)

    1. Miss Trayers, nope you definitely can't. There's just too much to do and see in the day. Unless the children are out of the room, I can't imagine sitting at my desk.

  2. Yes!! You are completely right and I am not sure I have worded it that way. But I have never found that I can be behind a desk. There are always learning moments that need to occur. Thanks for putting it this way!

    1. Em, I hadn't thought of it this way until recently, but it kind of made sense to me. :)

  3. Yes! When I did my student teaching many years ago, the building principal in that school expected his teachers to be up and mobile around the room, not behind their desk. It was a great thing to learn right from the start.

    1. Lori, you had a very smart building principal!

  4. I completely agree with you! I try hard not to sit at my "desk," AKA group table, unless my kids are there.


    1. Crystal, yep we teachers should be burning a lot of calories!