Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Silent Battle


Advanced English language development and 9th grade English. (Non-native speakers.) We're on end of year countdown, so this teacher has his classes reading.

For two hours.

Personally, I'd love this. Sit and read for two hours? A book of my own choosing (within certain boundaries)? But 9th graders...

They whined. "This book is boring." They fidgeted. But somehow they got quiet and stayed there. (They did get a break in the middle.)

Bernardo. Reading The Outsiders. Well, sort of.

My job: watch the class and make sure no one disturbed the silence. Yes, I was doing other things as well, but I'd stop and scan the room frequently. Noting all the heads buried in their books. Hopefully engrossed by the stories.

Bernardo looked back at me. Not in the "I feel eyes on me so I look up" sort of way. No. His head was up when I looked his way. He looked right at me.

So, I watched. And waited.

Most students know that this is when they go back to reading, or at least making a pretense of reading. Not Bernardo. He continued to stare back at me. And then he turned it into a game, giving me funny or flirty looks.

I mouthed, "Read".

Then five minutes later we'd do it all over again. Deep sigh.

(Silent reading assignments--way more stressful than they ought to be.)

Ah well. This teacher is not the type to put up with this sort of thing, so Bernardo likely had an interesting day the next day.

Funnily enough, several students who started out the day whining about their books told me that they were getting good when I called time. So, at least some of them were on task.

22 comments:

  1. I think it’s a good practice to “force” reading. It sounds like some of them actually discovered how engrossing a book can be and perhaps they will continue to explore this thing called reading.

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  2. I too would love the opportunity to have 2 hours to read, but then again there are those teens that would comply, no matter what you make them do or how you try to enforce it.

    betty

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    1. Yep. Some will always comply. Some will always complain. Never fails.

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  3. At least most of them were reading and found out they enjoyed their book. I would've enjoyed two hours with nothing to do but read.

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  4. What I wouldn't give for two hours of silent time to do nothing but read! Lol. But of course, they don't appreciate it at that age. Bernardo sounds like a funny kid—I'm sure his teacher wasn't too pleased the next day. :)

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    1. If only he would have let the story transport him away...

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  5. I always had trouble sitting for a long periods of time in class. I was just frigidity. Reading didn't come to me til later in years either. Just did not like it. Glasses did too, that helped a bit on getting through some pages. All I can sy is... you have patience.

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    1. Well, they did get a break an hour in. Fidgety is understandable. And I wasn't too concerned so long as they were reading.

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  6. He sounds like a real joker. If it was me, I would've started laughing then, being the adult, I would've pulled on my serious face (while still laughing inside) and mouth "Read." I don't think I'd do good as a sub.

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  7. Man I would've loved 2 hours of reading time in school.

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  8. I always wondered why teachers had us watch movies so often in school. I was in psychology one year and our teacher was brand new--she had us constantly watching movies. One I remember was Sybill (with Sally Field). That was a disturbing movie! I think if I were a teacher, I'd have them watch movies as often as possible, too!

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    1. There are days when I pray that the teacher left a movie...

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  9. I'd probably be okay with two hours of reading, too, but I can imagine those kids being really bored. I guess they started to enjoy it in spite of everything, though.

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  10. You're tasked with a hard job -- encouraging kids to be readers. I hope you succeed, but it doesn't always sound likely.

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    1. It would have worked better if they did it more often. As it was, they had done the same thing with him the previous day, so they were familiar with the idea.

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  11. That's a great story! I can't completely picture it :) And dang, I wish someone would "force" me to read for 2 hours!

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  12. Two hours of 'forced' reading! I'd be up for that! I do hope they enjoyed their books though, reading is so important and I think if you don't enjoy it as a kid you don't really get into it as an adult...

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    1. There was this one girl who wasn't too sure of her book. When time was up, she wanted to keep going. So, there was that.

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  13. I would love two hours to do nothing but read, but kids forced to do anything will balk at the prospect. But as a teacher that's your job, keeping them on the assignment. I'm glad some of them liked their books at the end of class.

    I won't even comment on Bernardo. I hope he got his surprise the next day.

    Sunni
    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yeah, it doesn't matter what the assignment is, someone will hate it. Never fails.

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