Who Sits Next to Who?

It is often believed that in any setting, seating arrangement plays one of the key roles in determining the “success”. For example, in the office, where you are seated often determines the productivity and efficiency of your work. If you were seated with someone who is chatty, then you probably should be someone who sets boundary clearly so that the very assertive person will not disturb your flow. If you were seated with someone who is a little cagey, then perhaps you need to be more independent.

In July, I was assigned to be the class teacher for my 26 lovely students with various personalities. In school, teachers are not only the tutors of academic knowledge but more fundamentally, teachers should cultivate social skills in the students, especially for the young learners. We as adults often find ourselves in a disagreement with one another and we will usually attribute the factors to different backgrounds and experiences. Ideally, we will analyze our differences and try to talk sense to one another but we forgot that kids, too, will face conflicts with one another. It’s not always because they are impetuous or careless, but they too, have the ability to think, and so, having different opinions is a normal phenomenon. Besides, monkeys see, monkeys do. Through various exposure we give to our kids, we influence our kids, by molding and shaping their mindset of seeing the world, and inevitably, they think and talk like us.

As a class teacher, I see different kids with different attitudes and problems will not solve themselves by simply changing their seating arrangement regularly. If somebody is not in good terms with another person, I think the opportunity of learning arises. They get to learn to see that not everybody is the same, and we shouldn’t all be the same. We have different perspectives and different ways of dealing with problems and that makes us interesting. How do we set our personal opinions towards anything aside and simply focus on the task at hand? How do we train ourselves to be responsible for our own learning before we judge others? How can we adapt ourselves to our environment or to the people around us? Those are the questions that we should ask, instead of asking, who is sitting next to who. Because that is not going to change anything. If you have the wrong attitude, whoever is sitting next to you is going to complain about the same thing. The true power of seating arrangement is not to make you like the person sitting next to you and thereby makes your life more comfortable, but to make you become more aware of your own priority and responsibility.

All in all, the ability to adapt to any environment is a skill set we must all try to attain. Don’t give away the power of control to that environment or seating arrangement set for you, but harness that power to learn in all kinds of management and become a better you.