Monday, August 26, 2013

Quiet Resistance

"Stop. She's going to write us up."

"I don't care."

Okay, that got my attention. Quiet classroom, which is why I heard the exchange. The teacher insisted that they needed to work silently, so I was enforcing that. I knew it was time to go over and investigate.

The student who didn't care had a blank paper and attitude rolling off him. The boy hadn't been loud or blatantly defiant, so I walked up to him and asked him if he needed help with the assignment. Of course not, but eventually, he made a pretense of doing some work.

For the most part the class was silent as instructed. But this boy and his neighbor couldn't just sit quietly. Eventually, they resumed a whispered conversation. Again, I made it clear I was watching them.

The boy looked at me. Waiting.

"Are you bored?" I asked.

Noncommittal response.

"Will you take the roll sheet to the office for me?"

Several students in his immediate vicinity asked him if he was in trouble. Was I kicking him out? I mean, I suppose I could have, but that just seemed like overkill to me. I thought getting him out of the room for a bit might help his attitude.

It didn't.

But, he didn't do anything (except continue a whispered conversation) that I felt the need to "punish" him for. He even managed to finish the assignment. He noticed my attention on him, however.

"Why do you keep looking at me?"

"Because you keep looking at me," I replied.

It was true. If he hadn't been looking up, he wouldn't have noticed my attention.

Ah well. Since the room was mostly silent, I consider that period a win.


  1. When my best friend and I were in class together, we got nothing done. At least you got the room to be quiet!

  2. A mostly silent room of high school students is definitely a win.

  3. Silence is so hard when you're in high school. Actually, I still have trouble with it now.

    1. Yes, it can be. But that's the instruction I was given, so...


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