Seating Management for NIT Teachers

Being a NIT (Non-Instructional Time / Non-Contact) teacher can be hard work. On one hand you usually get to plan only a few units because you get to teach it over and over again with anywhere from 2-5 classes who are the same grade. Yes, there are some advantages to being a NIT teacher (as I was in my first year after graduating) but there are some downsides, too. The biggest is behaviour.

The odd thing about students and their behaviour choices is that you will get students who behave well for their classroom teacher and are a monster for you. Then there are the students who behave with you but are a monster for their classroom teacher. Is there any pattern? Not really - I found it random.

So what do you do when faced with students (especially in junior primary) who may hit, bite, spit, pinch, do somersaults, scream, run-around the classroom, not to mention not do as they are told? The best thing I did was create a seating arrangement system. This way I could minimise interactions with certain students and it made relief teachers smile as they knew where they should all sit. Now you are probably wondering how to manage several classes from one system which everyone can see. This is what I came up with.

You will need
* several pieces of A2 cardboard (I chose black as it made the names stand out more)
* different coloured paper for each class

First I typed up the numbers 1-30 onto a small rectangle template. I chose to print onto bright yellow as it really stood out!

These numbers were then glued in place down the left-side of each piece of cardboard.

Next I chose 6 different colours - each colour would represent a certain class/room number. I printed and glued blank rectangles along the top.

I did this a total of 5 times so that the chart could cater for up to 30 students.

The cardboard was then sent off to be laminated (in gloss). When it came back I cut out prickly Velcro and placed where the number and class room would intersect (in the middle). You could just run a piece of Velcro straight from top to bottom which would be a lot quicker.

Next, and this was the worst step, I typed the names for each student onto the same rectangle templates and printed onto specific colours that would match their room number at the top. Each one was laminated and then had fluffy Velcro attached. Any students who left I did keep their card and just put a white sticker over it to put any new student's name on.

These then had several pieces of large strips of Velcro attached to the back and were placed up high on a board that could only be reached by standing on a chair using a ladder. This way no student could move their name to suit.

I used drawers similar to this
but mine had fixed handle.
This would work, too.
Each seat space had a mini-drawer also numbered; I got mine from Bunnings for about A$8 each. It had a set of coloured pencils, an eraser, a lead pencil, scissors, and a sharpener (rulers didn't fit so had to be placed in another container - all numbered with markers). Each piece in the draw was labelled with a marker with the box number. These drawers were placed out at the beginning of the day and put away in the stand at the end of the day - by whichever class I had.

What I liked about this method was that if a student made a mess of their box, or there was missing pieces, they would know who sat their last. Peer pressure meant I lost very few items of stationary that year!

As a side note the tables were set up in rows of 3 horizontal in the class - which worked ever so well considering that meant 6 kids per row and each seating display had 6 kids. This was to help minimise behaviour as well and have all students facing the front to see the board.

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