Sunday, September 5, 2010

There's "no such thing as stupid questions"

The other day in class, one of my classmates asked a question.
Let me give you a little bit of background on the classmate in question: this person is VERY socially awkward. They often ask questions in class that are irrelevant, misguided, and/or simply inane. It's like what might happen if you gave a monkey big words to play with. Needless to say, there are many people in class who are less than fond of this person. Some have actually fantasized about putting this person in a cardboard box and mailing him somewhere very far away.

I may or may not have been one of those people.

However, the other day this person asked a question of the professor, and true to form, it was obnoxious and not useful in terms of discovering practical information that had not already been discussed. It led to a sort of back and forth between the teacher and this person, which got the class-flow sidetracked and somewhat off-topic.

And then the professor said, "And now, I'm going to take your annoying comment and make it relevant..."

The immediate reaction was one of awkward laughter, slightly shocked 'did-he-really-just-say-that' looks between students, and (at least for myself) a sort of satisfaction that this person had FINALLY been called out for their irritating behavior.

However, later on, I was discussing the event with my dear friend M, who was sitting much closer to the person, and she told me that right after that, this person muttered under their breath, "I hate you."

I have seen versions of the above exchange several times over in my classes: the annoying kid in freshman english, the annoying kid in band, the annoying kid in pre-calculus, the annoying kid in algebra II... I'm sure we've all seen it somewhere, where the REALLY SUPER-OBNOXIOUS kid that makes you want to throw things gets shut down by a teacher.

However, I've been thinking ever since this latest event, because the day before, in one of my education classes the professor was discussing metaphors for schools, particularly the metaphor that a school is a factory, and particularly the part of the metaphor where sub-standard products (students) tend to get "thrown out."

As a teacher-to-be, I don't know what I will do in those situations. I know there are going to be times when I want to call a student out for being irritating, and distracting from the learning environment for other students... But I don't think that the best way to go about those situations is the way that I have seen from various teachers through the years. Some of the people I've seen do this are people who I consider to be excellent teachers, so if they can't think of a good way to go about those situations... what the hell am I going to do?


In the Vienna airport on the way back from my trip to Austria, I am fairly certain that I saw the Vienna Boy's Choir.

I like D's boyfriend a lot, and I'm glad they're together. They match well.

If a recipe calls for instant rice, make sure you get instant rice at the grocery store, and not regular rice. Because it won't work as well.

1 comment:

Nicholas said...

you are going to do what this teacher did, just in a softer way. makeing people/students like this feel useful helps from what I have seen. That being said, if they do it on puropse, take them aside a have a one-on-one meeting to dissucess the issue.