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Can I get a little quiet?

favicon I like quiet.

Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert. At home, I enjoy going many hours without any sound: no music, no TV, no nothing. Quiet soothes me and makes me feel at peace.

Then why am I teacher?

That’s a good question. There’s very little quiet at school. Hallways are loud, classrooms are loud, students are loud, everything is loud.

Noise is hard to escape, even during my prep periods. There’s no space to hide. Teachers at our school have to share classrooms. I love my room partner, but when she’s teaching, I wear heavy-duty ear muffs. There I am on the right! The ear muffs reduce sound (by about 30 decibels) but unfortunately don’t eliminate it.

Noise is hard to escape, even during silent classroom activities. Today, during our timed writing, it was impossible to drown out the noise of the middle school’s PE classes. (We share a building with another school.) Shutting all the windows wouldn’t have made things silent; it would’ve just led to more stuffiness in the classroom. Maybe I need to supply my students with ear plugs?

If I seem like a quiet freak, maybe I am. I know that I crave calm more when I feel irritated or stressed. With the end of the semester coming quickly, perhaps my quest for quiet comes from heightened anxiety or a decreased sense of effectiveness.

But I also know that quiet is good for students. On days where there is a calm flow, students are more engaged. There’s more time and space to think deeply. Scattered and jittery feelings disappear, and all that’s left is students’ learning.

There are different ways to learn, of course, and sometimes, it’s good to be loud. But reading and writing usually like a more tranquil space. The problem is, I’m pretty certain that it’s nearly impossible to achieve quiet in my classroom for any prolonged period.

Do you think quiet is important? If so, how do you find it? favicon

8 comments

  1. Silb

    I value quiet, although I am a person that can tolerate a lot of noise. In fact, I’m a loud person who often creates noise. At the same time, when I have serious work to do- reading challenging texts for example- it is in absolute silence. I do believe it is possible to have quieter classrooms, even if they can’t be silent due to sharing space. I’m hoping that finals week will give us the opportunity to create the calm flow that you and our whole community needs.

    • Mark Isero

      Thank you, Silb. I made a connection at today’s assembly about the importance of receiving information — about being still and calm in order to listen deeply.

  2. Lois

    I so agree with Silberman! I don’t even like music on unless we are socializing. I can only think clearly when it’s quiet. My kids listened to music while doing homework and it made me crazy. I Gave up the nagging because they always did well ( albeit maybe not their best )

    Try ” Super 31 earplugs “. They shut out all noise! I get them on amazon! I’m a noisy person too. But only like the noise I create. I think sharing a classroom is awful. Every teacher needs their space. I only had to do it one period, one year while mentoring and couldn’t get anything done. Try the ear plugs; it’s great when you realize what the problem is, and trust me, it’s not your teaching

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