Adequate seating and workspaces are two of the most basic classroom essentials. When you walk into a learning environment where no more table space is provided and the floor is your only seat, it is almost an immediate distraction from class work.
I had my first encounter with that situation early last week in one of my classes.
Some students were lucky enough to get a seat at the table, some just got a seat, and the unlucky few got the floor.
My initial reaction was that this poor professor is going to have to keep the attention of not only the students at the table, but also the five students scattered around the room.
Once the professor started to speak, my focus went to the students on the floor writing notes with the floor as their surface.
According to the Keene State College Division of Continuing Education webpage, undergraduates from New Hampshire are paying $380 per credit while out-of-state students pay $420 per credit.
Students are spending between $1,520 for in-state tuition and $1,680 for out-of-state for this particular four-credit class, and for every four-credit class where students are housed in classrooms with inadequate seating.
With prices like these, there should be enough money for an appropriate number of chairs and tables for each student.
Students forced to sit on the floor have a large problem maintaing eye contact with the professor and other students. This makes both lectures and class discussions almost impossible for even the most skilled professors.
I have been very proud of the students in my class who have been in that particular situation and have been forced to sit on the floor. They still manage to be attentive and alert despite the obvious limitations of sitting on the floor.
There are things that a student can overlook in a classroom that aren’t perfect: poor lighting, small classroom, etc. However, not enough workspace or chairs are both concepts that cannot be overlooked.
Going back to the students who were taking notes on the floor, hunched over making the shape of a shell with their back. This student is paying the same tuition as the student who is sitting comfortably at a table with a chair, yet they are forced to hurt their back and have a lesser learning environment because the classroom did not have enough chairs for the students in the class.
The issue of inadequate seating is one I have been made aware of on the Keene State College campus since I was a freshman. Since I had never really experienced it firsthand, I dismissed it as a rumor. It was not until my junior year that I experienced it firsthand.
This is an issue on campus that needs to be addressed. The amount of money students are paying on a yearly basis should be enough to allow for enough seats for every student scheduled to be in the classroom. I would not think it is asking too much to have a seat in a chair at a table during class time.
Alexandra Wessel can be contacted at