When I get to the horrible little classroom I was given for my literature classes, the desks are always in rows. The professor who uses the classroom just before me teaches in a traditional lecture style. His students take notes while he stands at the blackboard and talks. As soon as he leaves, my students go in and rearrange the room, shoving extra desks out of the way and pulling most of the desks into a circle. Because the afternoon class in the room is taught by a professor who also likes to put her students in a circle, we leave the room arranged that way.
One morning, I came in to the room to find a note on the blackboard: "Reading/dancing classes: Please have the courtesy to put the desks back into their proper positions when you are done with class. Thank you."
I read it and shrugged. I tend to ignore those kind of messages. I was busy looking for something in my backpack as my students came in, but they looked at the blackboard and began talking to each other about the message.
"Does he really think this is a dance class?"
"Dude, he's being sarcastic."
"The words please have the courtesy are kind of a snark, aren't they?"
"Yeah, like he's saying we aren't being courteous now."
Every time a new student walked in, she would look at the board and make some kind of comment like, "Dancing classes? We don't have dance classes here," and the discussion would start up again.
"Why are rows the proper position?"
"Yeah, why should rows be the default?"
"Maybe a circle should be the default."
"Most of the classes that meet in this room use the circle format."
"I think he's the only one that uses rows."
"Maybe we should leave a note saying Statistics/medieval studies class: Please have the courtesy to put the desks back in the circle formation when you are done with class. Thank you."
I pulled out the book I'd been looking for and looked up at my students.
"Gee, you have to analyze everything," I teased them. They laughed.
"I wonder who we learned THAT from," said Flannel Shirt.
When we went yesterday on a class field trip to the Nature Center at Lake Named After Animal Who Builds Dams, we were pleased to find a bunch of benches built into a semi-circle rather than straight rows.