Boredom is Counter-Revolutionary

The hardest days are the ones where my learners are happily, busily independent.

They putter with fractions and percents. Read social history with furrowed brows. Pause, pen poised, looking for a better way to write a line, express an idea. Sometimes they peer up at the map or double-check an equation with the calculator or page through the Oxford to check their spelling.

Meanwhile, I try to do the hardest thing of all - keep quiet. This is not something I'm good at.

"Does anyone need any help?"

Heads shake.

"Is everyone doing okay?"

Somebody glares.

"Fine. Okay."

("What's he doing?" a newer learner whispers. "Ignore him," replies another. "He's just bored.")

"Well... let me know if you need help."


"Okay. I'll go check my messages."

But I don't. I write this post, thinking after this I'll do some math on the whiteboard, or read some more about the Canadian involvement in the collapse of Yugoslavia. Or maybe I'll work some more on the high-interest low-level history piece I'm writing about pre-confederation New Brunswick. Or maybe I'll draft an agenda for the next P.D. day. Or do something else entirely.

But I'll stop being bored, because you know and I know that...


Wendell said...

Google Blogger's embedded commenting system stopped working sometime around Nov. 4-5. Guess it's still out. I got an email from a friend, letting me know, so I'm back to the full page form for awhile.

balletgirl said...

Hi. All I wanted to say is that i SO WISH that my students were this independent - and I wish that i ever got HALF a chance to get bored!.....there is always SO much to do.

I can only assume that, in general, your students are somewhat more advanced than mine. I realise I have already spoken about this recently. Some of my students are just as likely to sit and stare at the wall, or over the shoulder of the person next to them - or, as recently noted by one of my tutors: down the top of the female student sitting opposite......rather than put their heads down to DOING anything, unless i am pretty much 'on their case' - which is NOT how I like to have to be. I prefer to think I am there as a RESOURCE/FACILITATOR, rather than as a pushy parent or a nag!

No doubt you will recognise from this comment that, as a group, my students are often lacking in social well as literacy and numeracy.

I really LOVE it when I get the few who DO have initiative, and DO focus, and DO have ideas about what THEY want to do: so much more rewarding.