Teacher’s Tendency to Natter is a No

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I haven’t given a straight answer since 1987. It’s not that I’m indecisive, it’s that I like to examine all possible angles before giving a definitive response. This is probably an exercise that should be done in my head, but my stream of consciousness has been found leaking out of my mouth on more than one occasion.

I natter. The nattering may have purpose and a logical flow, but a natterer is a natterer is a natterer, and no love is lost on natterers. More importantly, it’s a terrible habit to exhibit in front of students, some of whom maybe have struggled mightily just to compose a question for me to natter off a response to.

I haven’t given a straight answer since 1987. It’s not that I’m indecisive, it’s that I like to examine all possible angles before giving a definitive response. This is probably an exercise that should be done in my head, but my stream of consciousness has been found leaking out of my mouth on more than one occasion.

I natter. The nattering may have purpose and a logical flow, but a natterer is a natterer is a natterer, and no love is lost on natterers. More importantly, it’s a terrible habit to exhibit in front of students, some of whom maybe have struggled mightily just to compose a question for me to natter off a response to.

Today, during a discussion on body language and culture, one of my students asked me how much personal space I like to have. What followed was a minute and a half long tirade where I considered different situations, who I might be with, what sort of mood I may be in, and God knows what else. After a minute and a half of this I realized that the time for me to stop talking had come and gone about a minute ago. At the very least, I should have paused at various points in the tirade to ask comprehension questions and ask for the student’s opinion. I know better. The ball was dropped.

My tendency to natter is just one of several habits that I need to monitor in my efforts to not be a terrible teacher. It’s a struggle not to regularly interrupt students to make comments about their shiny new watch or inquire what kind of cell phone plan they’re using. If the clock ticks too loudly, I turn the air conditioner up to drown it out. I’ve been working on putting kibosh on my incessant fidgeting. I could list countless other manifestations of My Crazy that I leave at the classroom door everyday so that I can lead an effective lesson, but I won’t. Another thought on the matter might exhaust me and I have at least one more episode of Entourage that I want to get through before the night is done. I know that it’s a terrible show, but it sure is pretty.



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