How much time do you spend on your feet while teaching? Do you feel it’s better for a teacher to remain standing for the duration of a lesson? Let’s consider reasons for standing and sitting:
We sit to:
- promote discussion among students and take the focus off of us;
- allow solo work or independent work to be completed without distraction;
- read/ listen to a long passage with the class;
- be next to a student for a private consultation.
We stand to:
- present at the board;
- command and hold attention during an explanation or anecdote;
- monitor group or pair work;
- guide a whole class exercise or activity.
The truth is that I’ve observed good teaching done from a chair and from a lecture stand. Part of the matter lies in one’s teaching style. Even so, I’d argue for an appropriate balance, with the scale tipping slightly in favor of being on your feet…not planted to the ground, but with some movement. After all, teaching takes both the teacher and the student on a journey, one that has more in common with hiking than driving. And while one could compare a teacher’s job to what is done behind the steering wheel, I think having options like cruise control and GPS would take all the fun and art out of teaching.