From the Back of the Classroom

Ever consider what the classroom looks like from different perspectives?

As a student, I often sat at the back of the room. Not right at the back as that was sure to draw attention but next-to-the-back – no one really notices you there.

Except for math. In math class, I sat right at the front next to the teacher’s desk.
From grade 8 until grade 12.

Right. In. The. Front.

It was the best place to sit.

My teacher knew I needed the help. He gave me a safe place to ask questions so no one would really notice.
He knew I needed the help and placed me in a position to succeed. I didn’t always like it but it was what I needed.

Have You Sat at the Back of Your Room?

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As an administrator, I would often sit at the back of a classroom to watch what was happening. Sometimes, I’d purposely wait at the door just to watch. The teachers knew I wasn’t trying to ‘catch’ anyone, I was just observing. My observations usually began with what I had noticed from the back of the room.

As a teacher I often taught from the back and sides of the classroom, moving around the room. Part of the reason was I can’t stand still but the other part was I had spent a lot of time at the back of the classroom while in school and know that students like to have you support them. From the back, you can see things you don’t from the front. And, if you let the students lead the learning, you can see even more. I also purposely seated students who needed more assistance at the back – where I could help them AND see what was going on. Today, with the different technologies and the variety of strategies that are available, teachers don’t need to be at the front of the room.

From the Back of the Classroom

How much time do you spend at the front of the classroom? How could you shift that time?

What does your classroom look like from different places?

Do you have certain areas that are used more than others?

Ever thought of audio recording a lesson – then playing it back as you sit in different places in the room.

What would you hear? Whose voices would stand out? What happens as you switch where you sit?

How do you sound to students in different places in the room?


  1. Reply

    Great post! I’m never still either, and I do prefer to stand at the back or on the sides of my classroom, for many reasons, and you mentioned several in this post. Having a different perspective can change a lot that we do or reaffirm why we do it. Thanks for sharing this!

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