Mary Kuhner wrote:
We always have some experienced students at the beginners' classes. Last night we ended up with a first kyu, a fourth kyu, and two first-week newbies. By accident of arrival order that was the way we sat down, so we were sorted by rank.
I actually felt quite uncomfortable with this; the newcomers seemed to read it as "us" versus "them" and were noticably uneasy about approaching the seniors to train. Since the reason we have beginners' classes is to train the beginners, not to train the senior students, this is the last thing we want. The senior students made sure to break up the seating order after the first technique and not let it get like that again.
We only line up in grade order for the starting rei and the ending rei. During class you sit were you land when jumping back into line. We explain this to everyone when they start, helps get over any us vs. them issues.