Wired For Sound

  

I love teaching. 
I also love peace and quiet, but those two passions don’t often work well together. Kids are wonderful. Kids are fun. But kids can also be noisy, and messy, because growing and learning is a chaotic, imperfect, fall-on-your-face-and-get-back-up-again adventure. Watching kids as they wrestle through the learning process melts my heart, but sometimes it also hurts my ears.

 

I remember, because I was one of those kids.
My 6th grade teacher, let’s call him Mr. Allen, knew how to make history come alive. He taught us botany, and creative writing. He engaged us with current news headlines, and taught us how to have empathy towards the world around us. He invited us to join him after school shaping bonsai trees, writing letters to local representatives, or learning about the inner workings of a combustion engine. On most days, he was great with kids. 
But sometimes he couldn’t handle the noise.
Sometimes he fumed. Sometimes he snapped. Sometimes, he blew a gasket.

 

As a teacher you understand that your class will have an interesting concoction of introverts and extroverts inhabiting your classroom. You will have the painfully shy, and the incredibly robust. The wallflowers and the wildflowers.

 

I realize my class is filled with those that are quintessentially quiet, and others who are serial socialites. Kids who love to curl in the corner with a pile of books, and kids who like to roam around the room finding someone to talk with. My hidden ones, and my always audible ones.

 

Sometimes the yappers can rub teachers the wrong way. They raise their hands before they know what they want to say. They have an answer, before you finish the question. They live on center stage.

But extroverts are WONDERFUL! They keep a classroom lively. They have a wealth of ideas. They are friendly, kind, and spirited.
And truth be told, I’m a yapper. Except when I leave the classroom. Then I need quiet. Desperately. To recharge.

 

So years ago, I recall being an uber extrovert in Mr. Allen’s classroom. He doled out the warnings, the scoldings, and more than enough of those delightful penmanship opportunities to write “I will not interrupt the class” one hundred times on the chalkboard. But I was wired to be moving. I was wired to be talking. I was wired to get on Mr. Allen’s nerves.
One particular day, this little angelic sixth grader was goofing around at the drinking fountain, and all of a sudden I heard his booming voice behind me. Let’s just say his response to my antics crossed any lines of professionalism or ethical behavior. But those were the days when teachers carried such high respect, that they were not often questioned. When I told my mother that Mr. Allen had picked me up and threatened to toss me over the 2nd floor railing, she mumbled something about me probably deserving it. She probably thought I embellished my story a little. 
His reaction didn’t make me a quieter student, but it did leave a reminder to cherish all personalities, even when they come with a set of wiring much different than my own.
Some of my students are wired for sound. They need an endless supply of opportunities for discussion. For attention. For affirmation. Some of my students are wired in a quieter way. They sit still, listen attentively, and embrace the quiet moments to reflect, explore and imagine. And both sounds are wonderful to my ears.
  

I’m participating in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge.  This is Day 3.

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8 thoughts on “Wired For Sound

  1. I read your post this morning and thought of it often during the day, especially when I found myself getting frustrated with my students who are “wired for sound.” I am the quiet type, so some days, particularly those days I have been up since 4:00, I don’t have the patience I need to deal with the excess noise. Your students are blessed to have such an accepting and understanding teacher!

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  2. This post is so relate-able, and for me, perfectly timed. Your post is a great reminder to enjoy and appreciate the diversity in our classrooms… even if some of the diversity is “wired to get on your nerves.” I love that line.

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  3. Every year I realize this more and more. I mean I knew this when I started but every year I learn more and more about different personalities of kids and how we need to provide opportunities for each of them.

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  4. “serial socialites” this made me laugh, but this post is so true. I’ve always appreciated those wired for sound as they keep the classroom moving along. 😉 Whether we are ready for it or not. Great post!

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  5. I am loving how you interweave your classroom reflections with memories as a student. School is a fascinating place to watch personalities. I too, will reach out and chat all day, but at the end of the day after I’ve chatted with the Mr.; I’m done. And my weekends? Quiet, please. 🙂

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    • My weekend long runs are my sanctuary! Give me the open roads, or the hilly forests. I can think, reflect, and “write” in my mind. Best wishes to you, Mr. And all your littles!

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  6. I’m wired
    with electrodes of
    conversation,
    snapping electrons
    that cause the sparks,
    a veritable Jacob’s Ladder
    of jumping, dancing energy,
    until I notice I am the only one talking
    so
    I
    slow
    down
    enough
    to breathe in the stillness
    of the moment.

    — Kevin, lifting a phrase to build a poem as comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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