- January 24, 2018 at 8:13 PM #43158
This is a really small kind of question, but when it was happening (again) today and I felt a measure of irritation, it occurred to me that I could ask others what they do. Surely it happens in your classrooms too, especially in grades 1-4. As you are talking, several children hold up their hands to comment. When you give them the floor, they draw a blank and can’t remember what they were going to say or ask. Understandable, it happens to you too. You wait a bit then move on to the next hand. When the second person does the same (not intentionally) and later in the same discussion it happens another time or two . . . it feels silly to feel irritated by this kind of thing, but I do sometimes.
- January 24, 2018 at 9:00 PM #43162
It is easy to feel irritated by these interruptions because that is what they are interruptions to our well-planned, limited-time schedules. However, that doesn’t excuse us our irritations. What do I do about it? Not more than what you’ve mentioned, though for first graders, many times their comment is off-track, down a rabbit trail anyway. Most times I will tell them after a short pause, “If you think of later, you can tell me.” Sometimes if they can’t remember but I know they want some attention (the same as their neighbor that just told a long rambling tale) I tell them they can tell me at recess or lunch when they remember. I’ve had a few students who use the ploy that they can’t remember when they simply want to hold the floor. Then I will tell them, “Let’s let Janie talk. You can tell me later.” That will usually bring the words out in this case.
This year the one that brings a smile to my face is the loquacious child who will have his hand up for a long time. When I finally get to him, I say his name. He replies, “Huh?” and I’ll have to say, “You are raising your hand. What do you want?”
- January 27, 2018 at 2:17 PM #43229
Like Carolyn, I usually tell the student to let me know if he remembers what he wanted to say. But this doesn’t happen much in my classroom, probably because I teach grades 7–12 instead of 1–4.
- January 27, 2018 at 3:46 PM #43237
You hit the nail on the head, Carolyn. My irritation stems from focusing more on presenting all the material I have carefully prepared than on caring for the student.
- February 16, 2018 at 9:44 PM #45582
I continue to benefit from this short discussion on blank looks. It has really helped curb my irritation when I remember where it stems from.
- February 27, 2018 at 9:24 AM #45886
A student whose hand is raised with something to say has very likely stopped listening to what you are explaining. This points to the very essence of “formal” teaching. Lessons are not lessons if they don’t have purpose and focus and move toward a goal. If children can always say whatever pops into their minds, a “class” could presumably become an ongoing mosaic of voiced daydreaming. Training students to follow the lesson while also being free to offer contributing comments is an art that must be practiced. The way you respond to their contributions helps discipline their thinking by pruning the extraneous (not much is made of it) and affirming the significant (by weaving it into the ongoing lesson).
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