So on this day, I was standing before my 7th grade class, a marker in hand and a wide smile on my face. Pointing to the board, I explained our daily routine while waiting for the kids to take out their notebooks and fill in their journal entry for the day. But my approach was met with a mournful look. So I decided to try a bit of drama; flailing my hands and reading out the prompt in a loud voice. A more painful silence. I took one quick glance at my students, eye to eye and they all seemed to be saying one thing: WE ARE NOT ENTERTAINED. I tried a few jokes and I managed to squeeze out the driest laughter ever from a few of them. I felt that was manageable and went on with my class. But few minutes after, I paused and looked at them, asking for like the hundredth time: Guys, is everything alright? Did someone die? Why you all looking like we’re in a funeral? Reluctant responses of ‘Nothing’ here and there and even longer faces. I knew I had to do something and so I wiped the board clean and wrote in the biggest font ever, WHY IS EVERYONE SO SAD? They wouldn’t speak up, and I told them I wouldn’t continue with the class if they didn’t talk to me. One by one, the students shared what was bothering them: parents, family, school, other teachers, classmates and ME. 🤣

They were all tired because something happened that day in school that reminded them of how ‘inadequate’ everyone thinks they are and how ‘overworked’ they feel. I gave them over forty minutes of my class, listening, advising and listening some more. At the end, I asked everyone to take a deep breath because they talked for so long, it felt like they were going to lose their voice and a girl was almost crying. They took a deep breath and then gave me individual hugs and a group hug. They said I should be like their full time therapist and maybe start our own Dr Phil Show in the class with cushions where they can stretch while talking about their problems. I was relieved seeing their spirits return and when the kids turned the table by asking me if I had anything I wanted to share with them too, I wasn’t ready. 😂

But yeah, the kids said it was their best English class ever and even though we learnt nothing about literary devices, essays and grammar, I think it was my best class ever too. Because more important than academics or anything else, is a child’s healthy state of mind and body. Nothing can work without those. Moral of the story: listen to your students’ words and silence.

Sign Up for Free!

Our subscribers receieve free resources that we don’t publicly share.
Sign Up
By entering your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here