Imagine your most recent staff meeting. A long hour (or more) after a long day. Data and statistics and dates to remember flying at your exhausted brain which is drifting off to the papers waiting to be graded on your desk or the chocolate waiting at home.
Now imagine a student. Imagine the student who raises their hand in class with so much intensity you are sure they will fall out of their seat. ‘Quiet hands’ is simply impossible for this student as they wiggle, squirm, and “silently” declare “Oh, I know this!”
Now imagine this… today, during my staff meeting, that student was me.
I honestly don’t know what came over me, whether it was exhaustion or stress (or both). I certainly didn’t plan it. But as my principal asked a question about the data we were looking at my hand suddenly shot up in the air, I literally kicked the co-worker next to me, and I “silently” declared “Oh, I know this!” Thankfully everyone, including me, burst into laughter that felt like a much needed release. Data, after all, is not easily digested at 4pm. Banter about whether the student without the quiet hand should be called on ensued but I was finally allowed to answer.
The incident got me thinking a bit about how I react to the ‘little things’ in my classroom. Do I recognize the moments when laughter is needed more than information, structure and procedure? Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are important and we educate in an age when time is precious and there is a lot to cover. But perhaps taking a moment to laugh with my students, to treasure their enthusiasm over their ‘quiet hands,’ is equally important? Sometimes I know I can let those little things become big things in a negative way, focusing too much on the distraction and loss of instruction.
But tomorrow I have decided that I will find time to incorporate laughter and positive spirit in my classroom and to relish the enthusiastic hand.