A Field Of Waving Hands

by Richard

Where did all that enthusiasm go, dudes? Where did it go?

For those of who aren’t following this bit of blog religiously, a little update is in order. As part of the growing up and getting out initiative, I’ve gone out and gotten a new job outside the home.

I’m currently a Title I Tutor at a local elementary school. I’ve previously talked about what a great school it is, full of dedicated teachers who are giving these lucky kids a fantastic education.

What really struck me this last week, though, was the kids themselves. For the most part, whenever a teacher asks a question she’s answered by a forest of upraised hands, most of them waggling back and forth like a hyperactive dog’s tail after he’s just discovered coffee-dog biscuits.

Seriously, dudes, these kids really, really, really want the teacher to call on them. Heck, even kids who don’t know the answer to the question are raising their hands, sincerely hoping they will miraculously find the answer once the teacher calls their name.

Is it that these little dudes and dudettes want the teacher to validate them? Because, to the young, the teachers and other authority figures are important, nearly as important as pleasing those same figures?

Or is it that the kids want to be seen as smart? After all, this is an elementary school, well before those times when being seen as the smartest kid in the room is a detriment. Do they actually want to be seen as knowing the answers? Do they care?

I’m not sure. All I do know is that they do want to be called on. They do want to answer the question. No matter what the question was.

There’s certainly no shortage of persistence in those rooms. If the teacher calls on one kid, the hands go down slowly and reluctantly, simply biding their time until the next question is asked and the hand can shoot up once more. And the kid who just answered the last question? Her hand is back up there with all the rest.

That, dudes, is enthusiasm, no matter the reason behind it. It’s a familiar lament, but if we could only bottle that enthusiasm and sell it to the old and the tired. Anyone older than 17, in other words.

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