Flexible seating for the win

Helen Weiss

Sitting on tan, maroon, gray or blue chairs all day gets to be quite boring, especially with the material that we are being taught. The desks can be small and cramped, oftentimes leading to backs hurting, specifically mine. In some classes, however, the seating arrangements have changed; teachers could let students walk around the room, sit on the floor, and some teachers even have bean bags. Most of my teachers do this, with the arrangement going by the lovely name of flexible seating. I like the flexible seating; I cannot stay still for long periods of time and one or two of my teachers letting me pace helps out a lot. Flexible seating should be available in every classroom.
When it comes to seating arrangements now, we are often shoved into rows of other students that we don’t necessarily know. While this is a great way to get to know new people, it’s not always what every student wants or needs to flourish in this type of classroom setting. I am often distracted by new people around me because I am trying to figure out what is going on with them and if they are a possible new friend. While making friends is important, so are grades. In Spanish I, Señora Smith allows her students to move freely when it comes time to do a worksheet or book work, but she has us stay in assigned seats while learning the lesson.
Another classroom that allows students to move freely is Magistra Oster’s room. While spending three years in the classroom, I had a specific desk that was mine. I sat in the far left corner next to the windows. I would lie or sit on the floor to translate stories with my vocabulary near me. I could spin in a circle and get everything done in a timely manner. When there was a substitute who would force me into a desk, I wouldn’t translate as well and often got distracted by a classmate by going on rants about pasta and which is the best (it’s conchiglie). Being able to sit on the floor or move around the back of the room, or even just stand up usually made me focus a bit more on the task at hand.
While I truly love the idea and the use of flexible seating, I do acknowledge that there are some downsides to it. With COVID-19 still raging on, health and quarantining come into play and are a bit of a worry.
When we were in sixth-going-on-seventh grade, we started deciding what our future careers were going to be, by picking band, FACs, art, woodworking, or another extracurricular I’m forgetting. If we’re allowed to choose our futures as little babies, why can’t we choose where to sit as near-adults? We should be able to decide where we can sit, whether it be on the floor, in a chair, on a bean bag, or even stand. If it’s not distracting, then what’s the big deal?