A week and a half ago I made a new seating plan. As we all know, creating a seating plan is a kind of art. I spent a lot of time writing and erasing and re-writing. I must have made 10 different versions. I finally came up with the ultimate plan, or so I thought!
I put "John" in his usual place, somewhere in the back corner, near the door. This is an "ideal" spot for him because he can be very distracting to other students and he often gets up out of his desk. At the beginning of the year I had him in the front, but every time he got up he would push a pen off of some one's desk or say something to distract the others. We did the seating change while he was out of the class doing some catch-up work in the office. When he returned to class, he was VERY upset. He put his head down and started to tear up. I quietly pulled him out of class and this is what he said to me, " I hate being in the back corner. It makes me feel like I am already in trouble, like I was sent to the corner. I can't focus and everyone in the class knows I am there because I always get in trouble."
I felt HORRIBLE. I never considered how it made him feel. He probably has always been put in the back corner his whole life. I feel really bad that I didn't consider giving him a second chance. I never realized the negative association of being "sent to the corner". I immediately told him the truth about how I never considered how he felt about where he was sitting. We talked about it and I moved him to the middle back of the class. He was very receptive to the change and he had a fairly good class. He has been doing fine there since the change.
I learnt a lot form this experience. Sometimes I get caught up on the big picture and forget to think about the small details. Something as small as where someone is sitting can really have an impact on their mood and behaviour. This is something to consider in the future!