I was bored in class a lot, so I can identify with this story. The teachers, in their earnest desire to get their point across, were repetitive and dull. I developed a strategy of only paying attention to every third sentence, which was all you needed to get the entirety of their message. I had a hard time unlearning this habit in college.
For the other two sentences, I was busy with other enterprises. In 6th grade, I doodled a catalog of horses and stable items, which somehow went viral. My classmates would borrow it for class, make out detailed order forms for ponies, saddles, and bridles, and pass it back with hand-drawn paper money. I was rich, but it was all paper.
In 7th grade I banded together with a few friends to start an underground newsletter, where we cataloged the fascinating goings-on in our classroom in journalistic style, including political cartoons. A teacher once confiscated a copy and threatened to send it to the principal with us. This necessitated carefully slipping some particularly incriminating cartoon sheets out of the stack before dutifully carrying it all down to the office.
In 8th grade we created superhero alter-egos for ourselves and drew an extensive cartoon strip where we battled the forces of evil in the education system — mean teachers and corrupt principals, all led by the evil Ed, wielding his weapon of choice: a Board.
In 9th grade we moved on to “buzz stories.” Everyone got to write one or two sentences to advance a story, and then it was passed on to the next person. The stories were long, rambly, contradictory, and utterly tedious if you weren’t in the writing group.
In 10th grade we discovered epistolary novels, and decided to write one, passing our letters back and forth in class. But we could never agree on or conclude a plot, so they all died.
And so on. Basically, my point is, a large number of students were able to spare plenty of brain power during class and still make straight As on their report cards.
And how did teachers react? Mostly with dirty looks, outright demands that we stop, confiscations, threats, penalties, lectures about derech eretz… pretty much anything but address the actual issue: boredom.
That’s what’s nice about this story from Kaylie. That a teacher acknowledged that it might be her responsibility to provide stimulation and prevent distraction. It could have been better — like if she actually did something about it. But still.
My teachers often taught to the middle-lower half of the class. As a result, I was frequently bored in class. I didn’t exactly hide my boredom from the teachers.
In ninth grade, my principal taught us navi. She was an interesting teacher, but had a habit of repeating things over and over. I had a hard time paying attention in her class.
One day, she told me she wanted to speak to me after class. She was my principal, so I was a little nervous about what she’d tell me. I was pleasantly surprised at what she said.
She told me she had noticed that I was often bored in class. She said she was going to try to think of a solution, perhaps to give me additional work during class.
Nothing ever came of it, but I appreciated the fact that she noticed and cared enough to try to do something about it.
Story submitted by Kaylie.