It always amazes me what happens when I give my students a new seating chart. The other day I reworked all of my classes’ seating charts for several reasons. I’ll admit, I have used the automatic seating chart generator before just to shake things up, but not this time. I actually spent quite a bit of time planning these changes and strategically placing each student. Needless to say, most students did not appreciate my hard work. I always enjoy the quiet that eventually falls over the classes after a new seating assignment, as the students sulk, or try to figure out their new neighbors and surroundings. That is of course, if I can survive the complaining that immediately ensues as they enter the room and see the dreaded seating chart shining brightly on the projector. Reactions to the new seating assignments this week ranged from quiet pouting to all out fits and begging to move. Of course, there are always those few students who go with the flow and seemed unbothered by the changes, but they are the few. The looks of agony and annoyance I got were down right comical. Come on guys, I thought to myself, it’s just a seat in a 1 hour class. We are talking about less than 5 hours of your life a week. It’s not that big of deal!
As I pondered their reactions, I thought to myself, don’t I react in a similar way when my seating chart gets changed? Well, metaphorically speaking that is. How many times have I had to change and gone kicking and screaming with my eyes rolling and my feet stamping? More times than I would like to admit. In the 5 years I have taught at my current school, I have inhabited 3 different classrooms on three different hallways in 3 different grades. Each time I was not happy about the move. I was comfortable in my current “seat” and didn’t know why I was being forced to relocate for what seemed like no good reason. My frustration with my student’s reactions waned a bit as I pondered this thought.
What about the times God has asked me to move to a new “seat”? Did I go willingly or did I have a major attitude about it? I thought about the times I had to adjust my plans to follow His plans. If anyone knows about moving seats it’s me. My husband and I sold our house, quit our jobs, and packed up our 3 year old daughter almost 8 years ago to move across the country and attend Bible college. We left all of our family, our church, our stability, and ventured to a place where we only knew one other family in the entire state. After graduating from Bible college, we packed up our now 5 year old daughter and our tiny apartment to move across the country again to a town we had never heard of where we only knew one family. These times I went willingly and excitedly to follow God’s plan. Still, each time I fretted over the small things at times and had to move out of my comfort zone to make friends with my new group I had been “assigned.” I have no doubt that at times my face looked similar to my students’ as I checked out my new surroundings and warily ventured into the new territory.
I knew that God saw the big picture and had a plan. He knew the people that I needed to be near to help and those who needed to be close to me to help me. He hadn’t chosen these assignments with a random selection program. He had thought about it and strategically placed us each time. Just as I had with my students. I had placed students who were strong in my subject at tables with those who need help or guidance. My hopes were that they could learn from each other, and in turn they would all become stronger. I saw the big picture and was trying to help each student thus making the whole class stronger.
Then it occurs to me that is exactly what my administration does when they move the teachers around each year. They aren’t motivated by a secret need to torture us as my students think I am. They are hoping to find the right combinations of teachers that can learn from each other and in turn make the school stronger. Of course, that is what God does each time He leads me to a new assignment whether it be a whole new state or just someone new I need to talk with and be a friend to. He sees the big picture and though the assignments may not make sense to me or others around me, he has a master plan in mind the whole time.
Once again, I have learned a lesson from my students. As I continue to try to make everything go exactly like I want it and get frustrated when everything isn’t perfect, I realize that I myself am frustrating and not always easy to work with. One more thing to add to my list of things I need to improve about myself. Have a better attitude when asked to change locations. Don’t give the teacher a hard time by whining and complaining. Instead, try to see the big picture and go with the flow. Be flexible and look for ways to help rather then hinder.