Is it time for lunch? What do we do now? What kind of dog is your favorite? What is your favorite color? How long have you been teaching? How many of the math problems do we need to do? Do you like to teach?
These are the types of questions that I am asked on a daily basis. Some of them are practical – may I use the restroom? Some are driven by the need for consistency that I observe in most students. And a few are asked simply because of a need for attention.
But I interpret questions as my tools for developing patience. We are all practiced at patience on one level or another. It can be learned at the time of childbirth, driving during rush hour and waiting for college acceptance letters.
This is an entirely different level. As classroom role models, we can’t throw tantrums, threaten to strangle or promise a very short tenure in elementary school.
Each day, I have new and potentially more challenging opportunities to achieve mastery. When I explain a lesson and steps to be taken on an assignment for the thirty-fifth time, one student will inevitably ask what she should do. My alternatives are to implode or quickly remind myself that she has a form of learning impairment.
I’m happy to report that I have one additional option. In many cases, students ask questions as a means to become closer to the person imparting wisdom or guidance. If telling my kids that I love teal blue helps them feel trustworthy, engaged or intrigued, it’s a very small price to pay. Shalom.