Whether at the beach, mall, or classroom I’m noticing an increasing number of people that are HAVING TROUBLE CONTROLLING THE VOLUME OF THEIR VOICE. As a teacher I used to pass this situation off as a mere personality flaw, thinking that some people must be more outgoing than others. So I worked in the classroom to encourage students to have different levels of conversation instead of using playground voices all day. However, today as I sat on the beach relaxing I saw a display that made me wonder.
The sky was blue, the waves lapped repetitively upon the shore and the only sound was an occasional gull laughing into the wind. It was the picture of serenity. A group of parents came to our left and camped out. Even with more than six adults my peace and quiet was undisturbed. Then the kids that the new families brought ran down to the beach and began to build a sand castle. It was a few minutes later that the kids began to “talk” with their parents. Instead of running back up to their parents presence they screamed their request from the shore. The children’s parents, obviously well adept at ignoring their child, didn’t hear the caterwauling coming from the shore. So the kids tried to solve their problem by screaming even louder. At this, the parents responded by yelling back down the beach an answer to the child’s question. It was like an impasse, neither party wanting to get up off the ground and spare us the agony of their air war.
It is a free country and I don’t hold it against them for being noisy. The families with rowdy kids have just as much right to sit on that beach as I do. Yet, I think that in times past people may have had a little more consideration for their neighbors. Maybe it’s just me recovering from being around kids too much? Or maybe, in our age of remote controls and lethargy we are getting too lazy to get up and handle simple tasks such as talking.
If I were perfectly honest I would have to admit that I found the same problem starting to creep into my teaching this past spring. Instead of calmly walking across the room to address a student I would, at times, speak over the heads of my class to answer or talk with a student. This may seem insignificant, but today I saw first-hand the potential outcome of my laziness. As a teacher it falls on my shoulders to model even the simplest of activities, talking. Hopefully this modeling will lead to a calm and peaceful classroom conducive to learning instead of THE CHAOTIC NOISE WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH EVERY WHERE ELSE.
(How are you encouraging students to communicate appropriately in your classroom?)