31 January 2008

fly on the wall

Yesterday or the day before (who knows?) at about 2:15 p.m. with 45 minutes left in school, a normally patient teacher told her second grade class:

That's it. I have no more answers today. No more. You have used them all up. You have asked so many questions that there are no answers left for today. I will not be answering any more questions today.

The class persisted in asking a flurry of questions (that they knew the answers to--"Where should I put this? What should I do when I finish? Do I have to do my math?") as they had all day, all year, really, but found that this afternoon their teacher, truly, had no more answers.

"I don't know. I don't know. I don't know." That was all she said to them.

One boy, seizing the moment, said, "Then we can do whatever we want!"

"Oh, there will still be consequences," their teacher told them. A few students asked what "consequences" meant, but they asked their classmates and not their teacher. Even the esl students were able to figure consequences out from the context.

And do you know what? The second grade settled down to a productive end of the day. Without asking their teacher any further questions.

The end

(Okay, for those of you who worry:

The next day the teacher discussed with the class, again, the difference between asking genuine questions and asking questions that they really didn't need to ask. They discussed thinking before speaking. Again. They talked about "ask three before me". Again. And the teacher reassured them that she was *happy* to answer questions when they were confused or needed help or just had something they wanted to figure out. She *liked* answering those questions. She simply didn't want to have to say one.more.time. that you may do anything quiet after your journal is finished or that reading logs get turned in to the blue tray. After all, they'd been in second grade for over half the year and the answer hadn't changed. They laughed. And a few minutes later somone asked what to do when they finished their journals. And the teacher smiled and replied, as she had for ninety-some days, "What do you think?" and then validated their correct answer.)

I feel like that teacher (wink) when I'm out of the classroom, too.

How much longer?
What's the hold up?
Which agency?
Which region?
Is it important to adopt two right now?
How old is too old?
Is there a "too old'?

Lord, where do you want me to go and how do you want me to get there?
Which road, which bus, which agency, which children have You planned for me?

Guess what. I don't know.

8 comments:

Nataliya said...

Oh, I hear you. There are so many unanswered questions... But you'll get them answered, I promise! It's very hard to wait, but there is an end in sight, you'll see it very soon!

Rachael said...

Kate, you really should write a children's book. I love your writer's voice.

Annie said...

You are too amazing. I really love your blog; it enriches my day. Truly.

Jackie said...

I loved this post, Kate. I am still chuckling ;)

Mike said...

My sister and brother-in-law just adopted a little girl in China. She's 48; he's 50.

6blessings said...

Questions, questions, questions. I understand your "teacher" pains. I'm sorry it is happening in your adoption world too. I can't wait for the day that I read your little one is yours forever.

Christine said...

Thaks for the laugh. You tell them!

Jenni said...

Hmmm... I wonder if the I Have No Answers line would work with my 6th graders? I may have to try that one.

I hope you get some answers soon.