After spending time with a group of people, do you feel energized and ready for anything or do you want to hide in the corner with a good book?
Depends on the people. Some people invigorate; some people drain. The bigger question is how do people feel after leaving a conversation with me? I teach high school, so that is a lot of talking. I could probably talk all day, literally for hours on end. If I ever get elected to Congress, I will be the go-to filibuster guy. And when I talk, it is about things that are interesting, to me at least. I really don’t talk to hear my own voice, though I don’t dislike my voice. I talk to introduce, entertain, and examine ideas. I talk to surprise, to inform, and to converse. Back to high school. Do kids sleep in my class? For sure. Do I care? That’s a complicated question. I had a teacher in high school, a highly respected, knowledgeable, veteran teacher, who made some very interesting statements on the first day of class. He said, “In this class, you can sleep, read a book, draw a picture, BUT the first time you disrupt someone else, you are out. I’m not going to give you a detention or write you a referral to the office. You will simply leave the class and be on your own in the hallway.” He said it in such a way that I don’t think anyone doubted his word. Once, the whole year, a girl talked to her neighbor, and he said, “Out”. She feebly protested but was out the door in 30 seconds or less. That was the only incident. Straight gangsta.
Nowadays, that is considered bad teaching. I forgot to mention that he lectured from bell to bell, unless it was a dissection day. No small groups, individual assignments, or even class discussion. He took a few questions at the end of class, but you better make sure it wasn’t about something he already said. Lecture, then test at the end of the unit. This class probably prepared me for a college lecture format better than any class I ever took. The information was there. It was on you to pull your head out of your booty and pay attention. It was quite refreshing. Do I teach like this? No, and for a number of reasons.
It doesn’t fit my personality. I like collaboration. When I talk in a vacuum, I start to wonder? Are my students wax sculptures? Is this a joke? Am I even awake right now? Should I have been a lawyer? I like the ebb and flow, the push and pull. Verbal dancing should be an Olympic sport.
It’s not ideal for English. Science, perhaps. But not English. The students need to learn how to use the language. Listening is critical, but so is speaking, reading, and writing.
Many of my students have different motivation than those of the students in my high school science teacher’s class. Most of my students want to graduate. That means they want a sufficient GPA and the necessary score on the standarized tests. Learning is not a necessity in that scenario. When I was in school, in that advanced class, I don’t know if all the students cared about learning, but the vast majority cared about getting into college and so were on top of their grades. The beauty of the system.
Lest I hijack the the prompt any further, back to the extrovert/introvert dilemma. When the school day is done, I am dog tired and enjoy an hour or so of isolation. However, even in my weakened state, if exposed to other human beings, the conversating will continue. If you want me to shut up, you should probably put on a TV show or take me to the movies. However, as soon as the show stops it is on like Donkey Kong. We have so little time on this planet that I find it hard to stop talking. In short, I like being alone but if there are people present and drastic measures are not taken, like headphones, I will probably talk to them. Unless they are annoying and then the true battle for silence begins. Enough.