If you’ve ever taught an excited group of young children, you will understand the dilemma. Your lesson plan is moving along nicely, however, interruptions from the raised hands of kids with comments and questions are coming frequently. Should you tell the kids, “No more hands until I finish up here”—thereby dampening their enthusiasm—or face the need to save part of the lesson until the next time?
That was my situation with first graders and the wellness curriculum one day. I can’t remember the topic, but I do remember the pressure I felt as I approached the designated class end time. I finally explained, “You have been great participants! Now I will ask that you NOT raise your hands until I finish.”
All was quiet as I continued, but in a matter of seconds Brian thrust his hand in the air and waved it back and forth. His red hair and freckled face bobbed up and down as he rose partway in his desk. I tried my best to ignore him as I felt my impatience grow and I thought, “Didn’t he hear what I just said? Why can’t he control himself?”
I continued the lesson and ignored Brian. My irritation mounted as his hand waving and bobbing became more pronounced. Finally, in subdued tone I asked, “Brian—what is it that you have to say?”
Brian lowered his hand, sat back down, and said, “Nurse Flemr, I just have to tell you how beautiful you look today in that yellow sweater.”
40 years later, though rarely worn, the sweater is a sweet reminder of the lesson I learned.