Choosing a Seat in Class

Ever since I first got an IEP at age five, I have had accommodations for preferential seating. I frequently would sit in the front row of the classroom, sometimes alone, and for the majority of my classes, this was a good arrangement. This accommodation followed me all through school, and even was added to my Disability Services file (more on those here). When I got to high school and eventually college, I found that sitting in the very front wasn't always the best seat available. Here are some of the ways I figure out where the best place to st is located in a classroom.

Nearby outlets

I tend to bring a lot of electronics with me to class, so I try to sit near outlets in case I have to charge something, or require a device that needs to be plugged in. I try not to sit in areas where the outlet is in a common walking path, such as the front of the classroom, since I don't want anyone to trip and fall, or unplug the device by mistake.

Where is the teacher?

In one of my college classes, the teacher never wrote on the board, and instead expected us to watch them move around and lecture. I sat right near their desk in the back of the room, which was the most common area they were in, and found this worked well.

Overhead lights

Tinted glasses and screens combined with fluorescent lighting can create a lot of glare. Try to avoid sitting directly in the middle of lights if possible. This is especially important for students with photosensitivity, who may react adversely if the lights flicker. If photosensitivity is a concern, students may also wish to avoid window seats.  Read more about photosensitivity in the classroom here.

Larger desk

If a larger desk is needed, such as when working with a CCTV, make sure it can fit into the preferential seating area. One of my professors had me sit at their desk during the lectures, so I was in the very front of the room and could still see everything that was going on, as well as balance technology. Another teacher in my high school would replace 2-3 desks with a large table they would borrow for the class period.

Reserving these seats

It is easy in high school to have these seats reserved, since assigned seating is so common. Once I found a desk I liked, the teacher would write my name largely on the seating chart, so that when it came time to move seats again, I wouldn't lose my place. Reserving college seating may require more thought. Some professors put a "reserved" sign on the desk when they walk in. Another professor had an informal seating chart and had my seat colored in black, meaning no one else could be there. I never really had a problem with students taking my seat, as most want to go unnoticed by the professor.

With these tips, it should be easy to find the perfect seat for the school year!

 

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