Hands held high

On the first day of second grade my daughter said to me: “I liked my teacher, but she asked me to stop raising my hand so much.” Now my curiosity was piqued. “What were you saying to your teacher when you raised your hand Beth?” “Well, one time I told her I liked her shoes.” It was like the fog cleared from the shore and I could see for miles. The image of Beth raising her hand to point out every whim of her imagination, and a frustrated little teacher, crystalized in my mind. (Beth’s new teacher is the shortest full grown, non-dwarf, human being I’ve ever seen.)

Later that day we received a message from her teacher (Cheryl had sent Beth to school with a note for the teacher, including our email address so she could communicate directly with us). Beth’s teacher informed us that Beth was a sweet little girl, but that we needed to reinforce that it was not O.K. to raise her hand to discuss topics unrelated to the lesson. She said that she had tried to deal with the problem by ignoring Beth and her raised hand.

Another image came to mind… I saw another soul fall victim to Beth’s determination.

Indeed, Beth’s teacher reported that her attempt at behavior modification by way of response control was a complete failure, thereby prompting her plea to us via email. Beth sat there with her hand raised for a good twenty minutes. The other students were apparently so awed by this display of iron will and determination, that the silent act of holding her hand aloft was more distracting to the class than simply calling on her and allowing her to ask her unrelated question.

I pity the poor lass.