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Posts Tagged ‘stereotypes’

7 Things a Quiet Student Wishes Their Teacher Knew

August 26, 2014

quiet

A brilliant list courtesy of the extraordinarily talented teenager. Marsha Pinto:

 

1. Being quiet doesn’t make us any less smart

Teachers don’t understand how frustrating it can get reading the comment, ” _____ is a great student but he/she doesn’t participate in class.”

Remember that still waters run deep. I know that some teachers like to base grades on participation, but if you could only hear all the great ideas we have inside our head, you’d learn that we have some great ideas to share. In fact, we are practically masters of brainstorming.

However, it’s difficult for us to master the art of jumping in to a conversation or interrupting. We may not raise our hands as quickly as you want us to or say as much as you wanted us to, but honestly we just like to take our time to process our ideas. Does it even make a difference if we write more than we speak?

2. We are not a problem that you need to solve.

So, we may not have participated on the first day, or the second day or the first three months of school but please don’t keep pestering us about when we’re going to talk. Sometimes there isn’t a reason why we are so quiet, it’s just part of who we are. Many people tend to assume that quiet people are stuck in this quiet prison and need to be rescued so that we can enjoy life. I can assure that this is not always the case. We quiet students are quite content with the way we are… until you start pointing out our faults. We often do not need the “help” you are suggesting, we just need your patience and understanding.

3. The feeling that comes with the hearing the phrase, “Speak up! I can’t hear you.”

It was daunting enough when you caught us off-guard and put us on the spot to answer that question in front of the entire class, so please don’t embarrass us any further. We wish you only knew how much effort we put into taking the initiative to speak up.

If you can’t hear something we said please help us out, come closer and listen carefully to what we are trying to say. Please don’t belittle us in front of a crowd of people because that will do more harm than help.

4. Group projects can get really stressful for us:

Sometimes we’re in a class where we don’t have any friends and other times you assign us to a group of people whom we do not even know. There’s nothing wrong with group work and the benefits are no doubt important for our future, however quiet students are often taken advantage of in group projects. To prevent this from happening, teachers need to assign each person in the group a role, rather than allowing students to assign each other’s role.

5. We are not going to speak when we have nothing to say.

Teachers don’t understand that quiet students believe that it’s not necessary to talk when you have nothing to say. No we are not being rude, it’s just that we believe that there’s no need to force out a couple of words just for the sake of doing so. You have no idea how much time we spend trying to formulate our speech before we actually say it out loud.

We like taking our time to formulate our thoughts rather than rushing to speak. We hope someday you will understand this.

6. We have a personality.

Teachers, we know you don’t see us as the quote and quote ideal student, but if you really came to look beyond our quiet ways you’d come to realize that there’s much more to us than meets the eye. We are writers, dreamers, creators and a lot of other things you may think we never could be. We’d like to love ourselves for who we are and not grow-up to hate ourselves. Do not treat us any differently. We’re normally people who laugh, cry, have crazy obsessions, dislikes and embarrassing moments. Who knows? Maybe we even have more in common with you than you think.

7. Just because we’re quiet, doesn’t’ mean you have to give up on us.

Teachers often assume that it’s not worth talking to or getting to know the quiet students because they don’t have anything to say hence they don’t have potential. However, there are a few teachers, who will take those few extra steps to the back of the classroom to connect with the quiet student rather than judge them from a distance. We quiet students may not say much at first, but trust me we do appreciate you taking the effort.

Teachers and students may not see eye to eye when it comes to most things, but what both sides don’t realize is that they could learn a lot from each other. You may ask yourself, ” What can I learn from someone who hardly speaks?”

Well, you can learn the importance of active listening. A quality slowly going instinct when so many distractions keep us from being in the moment and truly listening to what someone has to say.

Quiet students hope that someday teachers everywhere will be able to appreciate the uniqueness we bring to the classroom and not make assumptions without really getting to know us.

The word “teacher” is a verb, not a noun. Hence this year, I encourage all teachers to break the barriers that separate them and their students and to create an inviting atmosphere where no student should hold back being themselves for fear of rejection. Teachers should aim to bring an accommodating atmosphere to the classroom where both extroverts and introverts can share their ideas and reach their potential without feeling pressurized. Your students might not thank you in- person, or write it in a card or note, but some day they may express their gratitude in an acceptance speech and thank you for giving the wallflower a chance to shine.

 

Click on the link to read Skills That Aren’t Taught But Should Be: #1 People Skills

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student

Click on the link to read This is What I Think of the No Hugging Rule at Schools

Click on the link to read Political Correctness at School

Click on the link to read What Are We Doing to Our Kids?

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Teaching About Gender in the Classroom

January 7, 2012

I have a very traditional approach when it comes to the hot topic of gender. Whilst I don’t like the expectations placed upon boys to take on a ‘masculine’ gender role and girls to follow a predetermined ‘feminine’ gender role, I likewise have a problem with the whole concept of gender neutrality.

Whilst it is not fair to pigeon hole boys and girls and expect them to look, act and think according to what society believes is appropriate for a girl and boy to look and act like, I think it’s also appropriate to point out that on the whole boys and girls are different. They do think and act differently. They do tend to enjoy vastly different hobbies and socialise in different ways. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t be free to express themselves in any way they feel comfortable. It’s just that to me, gender neutrality, in trying to assist the minority of children that don’t subscribe to gender roles (and they are a minority), stifle the majority who fall comfortably within  such parameters.

That’s why instead of teaching about gender per se, I prefer to teach about differences and similarities. I prefer to draw attention to the fact that no matter where we come from, what we believe and how we dress, ultimately we all have similar wants and needs. We all crave respect from our peers, the love and support of our families. We all want to feel good about ourselves and the freedom to express our opinions without being adversely judged because of them.

Having said that, I am very supportive of teacher, Melissa Bollow Tempel, who was passionate enough about this issue to include it in her teaching. In her wonderfully incisive piece, “It’s Okay to be Neither,” Melissa recounts her dealing with a student who was being bullied because of the way she dressed.

Allison was biologically a girl but felt more comfortable wearing Tony Hawk long-sleeved T-shirts, baggy jeans, and black tennis shoes. Her parents were accepting and supportive. Her mother braided her hair in cornrows because Allie thought it made her look like Will Smith’s son, Trey, in the remake of The Karate Kid. She preferred to be called Allie. The first day of school, children who hadn’t been in Allie’s class in kindergarten referred to her as “he.”

I didn’t want to assume I knew how Allie wanted me to respond to the continual gender mistakes, so I made a phone call home and Allie’s mom put me on speakerphone.

“Allie,” she said, “Ms. Melissa is on the phone. She would like to know if you want her to correct your classmates when they say you are a boy, or if you would rather that she just doesn’t say anything.”

Allie was shy on the phone. “Um …

tell them that I am a girl,” she whispered.

The next day when I corrected classmates and told them that Allie was a girl, they asked her a lot of questions that she wasn’t prepared for: “Why do you look like a boy?” “If you’re a girl, why do you always wear boys’ clothes?” Some even told her that she wasn’t supposed to wear boys’ clothes if she was a girl. It became evident that I would have to address gender directly in order to make the classroom environment more comfortable for Allie and to squash the gender stereotypes that my 1st graders had absorbed in their short lives.

I recommend that you read the rest of her fascinating article by following the link above.

(Thank you to reader Margaret for bringing this piece to my attention)


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