Is anyone listening?

I might as well have been speaking Russian the last few days in my Enlish-speaking classroom. It feels like no one is hearing what I’m saying or following directions accurately. What is so hard about answering questions 3-6 when that is what the instructions say to do? Verbal or written, it doesn’t seem to matter. Is it me or is it my students who are off? Did having a week off mess up our rhythm or melt our brains? Does a weather change really affect their attention spans? Who knows the answers to the mysteries of the universe? Better yet, who will share them with me? Maybe this is why some people take a vow of silence or have selective mutism. If no one’s going to listen, why talk?

The reality is that I too don’t listen sometimes. It even happened today with a kindergartener. I guess I was expecting one answer and he said something else. I started responding to what I thought he said and then I stopped myself and I apologized to him.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening like I should have been. Please tell me what you said again.”

Maybe that’s all I want from others. An apology. Remind me that you think what I’m saying is important or worth listening to. That it matters. That you value it.

Or rather, do I need to decide first if what I’m saying is worthy enough to be said?

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2 thoughts on “Is anyone listening?

  1. Susan Maclay says:

    I know exactly what you’re talking about! It seems to me that kids have the hardest time paying attention in the spring. It’s almost as if they are burned out after 3/4 of an intense school year. You did the perfect thing: model what you want. Give them a week, with a lot of reviewing routines and expectations, and hopefully they’ll snap out of it!

  2. Ugh. The weather and the end of the school year “nearing” are turning my 5th graders into awful listeners! Hang in there.

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