“Miss Nadine, yesterday at school we had a tornado drill.”
“Miss Nadine, my tooth is loose.”
“Miss Nadine, I have a rat named Stella.”
“Miss Nadine, my dog died last year.”
In the context of small children, these statements may seem normal, expected even. However, it continues to baffle me that my students insist on bringing these things up in the middle of class. We’ve just started plies. A student raises her hand. I point to her and say “yes, Susie? She proceeds to tell me about her sister’s new shoes. WHY? Why do I need to know this? Of course, being the concerned, interested, involved teacher that I am, I want to know. But, now? Do I need to know this now?
Unfortunately, this puts me in a pickle. When Susie raises her hand, is it not the teacher’s responsibility to satisfy her inquiring mind? Does Susie not deserve my attention? But, what if Susie’s mind is not inquiring?
I came up with a solution. When Susie raises her hand, I simply ask her, “is this a question about Dance class miss Susie?” This way, class time is devoted to dance related conversation and not on the equally important, but unrelated declarations.
But here is the problem. Susie lies. After I ask my carefully crafted question, Susie solemnly nods her head and begins to speak.
“Miss Nadine, I had pizza for lunch!”