Listening rather than talking: Notes from Feb. 2004

§ Listening to conversations, looking for assumptions, possibilities — You can’t advocate all is relative (because that’s not a relative-truth statement) but you can keep an open mind to multiple possible interpretations. Further: it’s not even that you have to be actively looking for things, observations, or even personal directions.

I’m learning you don’t have to be active, only open, receptive to the suggestions that appear in your mind — they’re a little bit subtle, not always obvious, so it helps to be open to them, listening rather than talking. [19 Feb. 2004]

§ Noticing T’s hands: If I had just noticed him and mentally said, “there’s T__,” I wouldn’t have looked closely enough to observe something new and unexpected about him. Saying “there’s T__” is, M said, a kind of prejudging, and to observe freely is an act of nonjudgment. [19 Feb. 2004]

§ A few days ago, when snow just beginning to melt, walking Gracie at night, melted spots looked like hieroglyphs painted on the snow, and walking around the edge of [my neighboring uncle]’s white pines, it didn’t seem there were trees there — there was the snow on left and a complete dark void on right. Walking Gracie this Monday morning, in dark, we tried to stick to high ground — water everywhere, but puddles and streams in low ground. [23 Feb. 2004]

§ Are students fundamentally passive, liking to be shown things, to be told a story (whether students are sitting down or involved in the demo)? Or is student passivity not fundamental but merely contextual or cultural — maybe in this culture, students are passive. The nature of schooling is external — being judged. [24 Feb. 2004]

§ “Controversial views are professionally sexy,” writes Jane Tompkins [here, I think, about college professors, I think]. I’m not sure what is professionally sexy about teaching high school — being a winning coach? [24 Feb. 2004]

§ Not only is there no privacy at school, there’s almost no time in the day to think by yourself. The way high school is set up, it’s relentlessly public and also relentlessly “productive,” or intentional. There’s no downtime for kids or teachers. You’re supposed to be busy all period, all day long, and only 25 minutes for lunch, so that too is a hurry. “Idle hands are the devil’s playground” or whatever the old-fashioned saying is. [26 Feb. 2004]

§ At first, it feels like a relief to be near the completion of the yearbook. But then I think, maybe it will even out my emotions, and my stress if I don’t make a big deal out of this. If getting done isn’t a big deal, then not having it done (earlier in year) won’t be big deals either. [27 Feb. 2004]

§ [One student’s name or another student’s name] or both said [colleague] C.S. said something in her class about me talking too much in our [teacher-education] class, something about when Hagemann starts talking, everyone sits back, puts down their pencil — apparently they’re settling in for my “dissertation.” I’m not saying that’s impossible for me, but I don’t recall doing that during those classes. Only a few times did I speak, and only once did I go on for more than a socially acceptable length, or so I thought. Although it is an interesting question — Mom and others accuse [a certain someone] of not reading signals and going on too long. [My grandpa] says I talk lots, but that’s because I enjoy conversing, not because I trap people who want to leave (I think, anyway). I’m not so blind to signals. “Mind Wide Open” guy on NPR last night said some people (autistic, but not only those) can’t read those people signals, but they can learn to do that. Listening to my comment, maybe this is what C.S. means: I don’t always just spit out my point. But I feel my points are a bit nuanced, require support, not just opinion. And anyway, why worry about what C.S. thinks of me? I didn’t think much of her comments, either, and I didn’t talk about her in my classes.  [27 Feb. 2004]

§ How it makes me nervous to have kids [students] with idle time — as if I’m just taking on the teacher personality attributes. [27 Feb. 2004]

§ Maybe it’s not that I say too much; maybe I’m just too intense? Just too much for some people — lots of these other teachers aren’t as interested in deep conversations as I am, M is, D is, C.L. was, etc. [29 Feb. 2004]

[Entries above from Pocket Page notebook #93, 18 Feb.-29 Feb. 2004]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.