I’m so glad I’m not in school anymore and no longer have to be the “buffer student.” Almost every former girl child knows what it’s like to be the “buffer student.” When teachers have “problem kids” in their class, they often seat them next to quiet and well-behaved kids (mostly girls) to attempt to mitigate the problem (or buffer it). Teachers think that well-behaved kids will rub off on the rowdy ones, but usually, it results in well-behaved kids becoming miserable. I always seemed to end up with the same two problem kids; Alex and Luke. I got an assigned seat next to them constantly over years of schooling, and they would do nothing but torture me. I vividly remember having to sit next to them in my Sophomore year Chemistry class and finally realizing that enough was enough. I emailed my Chemistry teacher asking her if I could not sit next to them, and the next day, she rearranged the seating. Good on you, Mrs. Arnold!
Unfortunately, teachers still try to use buffer students to solve problems with problem children. One mom took to Reddit to air out her frustrations about her 9-year-old daughter’s teacher trying to force her to spend her field trip with a problem child when no other students had to do so.