Firstly, I was reminded of how I learn best. I’m quiet. I like to ‘soak up’ what is going on around me, and in the early stages of learning, I get distracted by noise, either my own or others. I process best with space to think things through.
Of course, we don’t all learn in the same way. There was a small group of students in the class who were talkers. When learning the complex movements of the various forms, they wanted/needed to talk about and discuss each of the intricate steps. It worked for them. I found it frustrating and the chatter hindered my concentration.
No class would be complete without the class clown; that person that openly needs to be seen, to be acknowledged. Our teacher did a good job of fulfilling that need, but being the critic that I am, it seemed to be at the detriment of others in the class. I love a good laugh, but not when I’m trying to go into a meditative state.
There is no question that our jobs as teachers are difficult. How can we possibly hope to cater for the needs of every student in our class? How can we possibly give everyone what he or she wants or needs at any one time? I’ve pondered this question a lot in recent years and I’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t. No show. Not a hope.
What we can do is throughout the course of the day is work to ensure balance. Becoming conscious of our practice is the first step. We can keep a mental track of our interactions with our students to make sure it isn’t just the ‘squeaky wheels that are getting the oil’. It is the art of the great teacher to help every child to feel valued, whether he or she gets it right the first time or not, whether he or she likes to chat about their learning or not.
But please, whatever you do, please, please, please remember the quiet ones.