Sitting the Classroom

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by substitutesftw, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Nov 4, 2010

    Sitting in the Classroom

    This is inspired by a conversation with another sub, and my own experiences and observations.

    This is for the regular teachers, too.

    Just a few questions about sitting in the classroom. Most experts say it's best to "float," or walk around the room and monitor students instead of sitting at the teacher's desk.

    With that in mind...

    -do you sit at the teacher's desk at all? or a kidney table or on another seat in the room?
    -if you do sit, where are you sitting? In front of the room? Near a student's desk? Do you change position? Or do you stay in the teacher's desk?
    -if you do sit, what is the class doing? Are they reading, doing work, taking a test, etc?
    -if students need help, do they get up and come to you where you are sitting, or do you walk to their desk?
    -if students are working on something and appear to have a good handle on it (they understand and aren't asking for help), or they are doing something like silent reading, do you sit?
    -do you walk around and monitor a few minutes after starting a new activity, then sit?
    -do you feel awkward if a staff member suddenly enters the room and you are sitting at the teacher's desk?



    I kept meaning to post this topic because last week, I subbed for a class that did Daily 5. On the notes, the teacher encouraged me to read silently while the kids were doing the same thing. I was like, "Really?" It's good to model the practice for students, but I'm always paranoid about a staff member walking in and seeing me over at the teacher's desk (especially if I'm engrossed in a book!). Do you think it reflects negatively on a sub or regular teacher to be "caught" sitting?


    I think it's impractical to expect a person to stand for seven or eight hours, but I wanted to get some opinions of when and where it's appropriate to sit down in the classroom.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2010

    I don't sit in class, with the singlular exception of study hall. Ever.

    I didn't when I was pregnant. I didn't when I was recovering from surgery.

    I'm almost ALWAYS up at the board.

    My job is all about teaching, not observing.

    I sit during my breaks.
     
  4. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Nov 4, 2010

    ^Good answer. Is that a practice explicitly encouraged at your school, or something you personally prefer to do?

    I don't always like being at the board. I like to be closer to students' desks.

    I often see teachers sitting with their groups during guided reading, and I do as well if it's on the plan. I'll also sit if students are silent reading for awhile, but I tend to wander around classrooms a lot just to see what they have and how things are set up.

    I saw that the one teacher wanted me to grab a book and read and I was like, "But what if the principal comes in?" I'd feel awkward about explaining myself. :lol:
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For me, it's not about the principal. It's about my basic understanding of the job I'm hired to do.
     
  6. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    Nov 4, 2010

    Since I teach K, if I am sitting it is on the floor with the kids, or in a chair during morning meeting. Rarely do I sit at my desk, I am more likely to pull a little chair up to the tables with them. I wear the knees out in my slacks on a regular basis. :)
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    In regards to reading while the kdis are reading: When I taught fifth, I would read for about 5 minutes with the kids during our reader's workshop time. Then, I would pull kids back for conferences, etc.

    Now, as an elementary school teacher, I sit when I need to sit. For example, when I taught kindergarten, I had a chair (or I would sit on the floor) to sit on while my kids sat on a rug in front of me. I would get up when needed, and sit when needed. I also sat during workshop time.

    When I taught fifth, I had an orange chair in front of my overhead. So, I sat while using it. Otherwise, I was standing up by the whiteboard.

    So, in other words, there's a time to sit and a time to stand.

    With my job right now, I sit the whole time. I work with small groups only so we work around the horseshoe table.
     
  8. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    During silent reading, many people advocate the teacher "modeling silent reading" by doing it themselves. I assume that's why the teacher had it in the plans. Also, many teachers have guided reading groups or small group conferences. While standing and rotating around the room is best in most scenarios, I can't see how it would be practical in those two instances. I don't think modeling silent reading or sitting while doing student groups goes against what a teacher is expected to do.

    I think it's just about being aware of what's going on in the classroom. Rotating around is the best method of that, but even if you're stationary, you have to know what's going on elsewhere. In a guided reading lesson, if a few students are sitting with the teacher, the teacher still has to be cognizant of what students are doing in the far corner of the room.
     
  9. azure

    azure Companion

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    As a sub we are often not given the opportunity to teach especially at the high school level. We are sometimes just showing a video or passing out seat work. Elementary is a whole different thing. When there is something to teach I stand. If the kids have seat work, I walk around a few times. If they have questions, I'd rather go to them, so I am closer to them to nip disruptions in the bud. (They seem to always start talking when the teacher is helping someone.)

    I have found that if there are several students who don't want to do their work and prefer to chat, that if I stand in the back of the room, it deters that behavior. They don't know who you're looking at.

    I have never felt nervous about a principal walking in while I'm seated. I'm only uncomfortable if the children are not doing what they're supposed to be doing.
     
  10. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Good one. I'll think I'll try that.

    I've had principals and staff walk in while I'm seated, but not while I had my nose in a book!
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I like to move around the room. I will even walk along the back row behind the whole class sometimes. Only when I've explained the lesson & we're not doing something together as a class, then I may sit down to wait for them to do something on their own or to finish writing until we move on to the next thing.
     
  12. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    If they're taking a test I always just sit. It's annoying and distracting to be taking a test and have someone walking around watching what you're doing.
     
  13. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    While studying the Daily 5 literature, the sisters are very adamant about not walking around while students are doing their Daily 5 choices. When teaching the students how to do the choices, teachers are to model, model, model. Then while students are practicing teachers should be where they will meet with their small groups (usually the carpet or kidney table), while observing. If you see a student off task, you call the class back together and reteach the choice that they are practicing. I teach three 15 minute mini lessons during my literacy block (which I am at the carpet with my kiddos), one 30 minute lesson for social studies/science (which could be at the carpet, in the lab, or any where else), and one 20 minute math lesson (which we are all over the room depending on the lesson) each day. All other times I am at my kidney table with small groups for reading, writing, word study, and math. While I am working with small groups students are practicing their Daily Literacy or Daily Math concepts. While I am with a small group, my eyes are always roaming the room. I have set it up so I can see all areas at all times.
     
  14. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Nov 5, 2010

    I have a kidney shape table...I don't have a desk. I do sit and work one on one or small group all throughout the day. I also sit while my kids are at free choice centers...mainly because my room was a storage closet and it was not made to hold a class. When you have all those little bodies on the floor and their stuff, I can't walk around...there isn't room. I never "teach" from my desk, but I sometimes give directions from my desk. Since I only have 14 kids, I do a lot of small group or one on one at my desk. It is the most effective way for me to work. I think it depends on the age and the group. I have had classes that I never sat down in...and I have had classes where 50 % of my "real" instruction was with me at a table with the kids. When I taught 2nd, I was up all day long. Also my classroom size plays a part in it. We are so crowded that it is hard to walk around. I have my kids at tables in a "U" shaped setup. This way I can always see them.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think it's bad to sometimes sit in the classroom. I do it in certain situations.

    The first and most common situation where I sit is when students are working on practice activities. Most times the students are given activities that are at and a tiny bit above their ability level (the whole n+1 thing, I guess). I find that when I walk around the room during these activities, some students get really needy and want me to do all their work for them. Usually they ask me to define words that I know they know. I'm not their personal dictionary. If I make myself a little less accessible to them, I find that it causes them to take an extra three seconds and think up the answer on their own (or look it up).

    I'm always available to help my students, of course. I just don't want to be their "go-to". They need to look inward for that and become their own go-tos.

    The other time where you'll find me sitting is during paideias. It would be odd to walk around during a paideia because that's totally out of line with the principles of a paideia.
     
  16. fratermus

    fratermus Companion

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    Nov 6, 2010

    I am usually standing or moving. I will perch on a stool, if available, to relieve my knees from time to time.

    I didn't realize how little I sit until a student yesterday said "I didn't recognize you because you were sitting down." :)
     
  17. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    I think there's a feeling that if you're sitting, you're not working and that if you're standing you must be busy.

    You can be standing and not doing your job just as much as you can be sitting and not doing your job.

    I sit when I need to: guided reading, calendar time, and I sit on top of my desk while working with the doc camera (it's high and I don't have a stool)

    I stand when I need to:monitoring, administering a test...

    But I'm teaching either way.

    The only time I sit and "not work" is when the kids are lining up and they are really loud, I will go sit in front of the computer and pretend to work. I will tell them that they can just waste time, but I'm going to work. But that ususally quiets them down in a jiffy.
     
  18. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    I hardly get to sit when I was subbing elementary except when the instruction asks to/with read to the class when the kids sit in a circle.

    I hardly get to sit when subbing middle and high schools. If I sit, they start pulling stunts. May be these kids want constant attention:)
     
  19. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I do a mix of both. Our school encourages us to read during SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) time. I am usually reading a text book or new book I've purchased for the library. Sometimes I'm partner reading with a low level reader. I sit when I'm at the document camera (it's on a low table) which is a lot. Right now I'm sitting a fair amount because of foot problems. Sometimes that's at my computer/document camera table (or in the rolling chair which may be anywhere in the back of the room), on top of an empty student desk, on the kidney table, on my stool, etc. I feel like I'm teaching just as hard as if I were standing all the time. I've told my principal about my foot issues because I am sitting more than normal. She's fine with it and has always encouraged us to sit during the day. I do walk among the students when they are working. I don't often during testing, because I am usually reading the test to 9 or 10 kids in one corner of the room. That prevents me from being able to monitor the test on the rest of them they way I would want to.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I rarely sit...when I do, it's to confer with a student about their work..I'm up, moving and grooving, all day!
     
  21. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I only have 6 students so I work 1:1 with them sometimes or in groups of 3. I will sit with them at their desks or at our large table. When I'm teaching I'm usually up and moving around. I don't think just the act of "sitting" is as bad as what you're doing when you're sitting.
     
  22. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Like many others said, sitting in & of itself is not the sign of inadequate teaching that some others might make it seem. And personally, I have no qualm of sitting--it just depends on the situation.

    At the same time though I do probably agree, that sitting is something that... while maybe not "frowned upon"... should be addressed to teachers in some way. Because A LOT of teachers take sitting too far, where all their activities center around them sitting. Especially now (e.g. with document readers/projector), they will plant themselves in front of this thing and simply dictate from that one spot in the room all day.
     
  23. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

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    At my school a majority of the teachers sit at their desks and teach, almost all day. The 6th grade teacher never leaves her desk except for lunch and her restroom breaks. Yes I'm serious. If kids have a question, they must come up to her.

    The most fun I had subbing was in her class. I wandered all over that room and I could tell it was such a departure from their regular routine. They loved it and I had all of them engaged.

    When I sub, I wander alot. I do sit if they are taking a test. I also sit in different places when we are reading aloud. I'm not a fan of sitting at the teachers desk. It's just not my style.
     

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