The day started in an empty classroom. Alarm bells not ringing because of the earlier disengagement, the chairs and desks stacked tidily in the corner.

As I began to place the desks around the room, I began to realise the sheer number of cuts and toggles that made up this jigsaw.

  • taller desks had to go together.
  • position of desks had to allow for students to face the whiteboard.
  • students who didn’t get on with other students couldn’t be placed near each other.
  • mischief makers needed to be facing teachers desk and near the end of a desk group.
  • students who struggle academically and socially need to have some stronger students for support.
  • talkers from last term needed to not be near each other, but also needed to have some friends so they are not completely dispondent.
  • students who like to lean on chairs could not sit in a location that allowed them to do this.
  • reward students who can work well to sit in groups that they will enjoy working in.
  • a mix of girls only groups, boys only, and balancing the mixed groups so that there’s not one girl or boy within that ‘mixed’ group.
  • allowing enough room between deskgroups to maneuvor through during the course of teaching.

All these pieces (and probably more) needed to be identified and used to put together the jigsaw. Even then, I don’t think one could ever get the perfect set up for a class. There are so many variables, so many relationships, that it would be too good to be true to get all of these pieces to interlock together.
Our jigsaw is one where every piece is the same and can all fit together. However, the final picture is on the other side of the jigsaw.