Shh!


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I’m back in school now and my teaching skills are rusty. I must get back into practice. Sometimes the class doesn’t want to pay attention to me for some unknown reason. If they merely not paid attention and didn’t talk, I would be okay with that. However, sometimes they continue talking when I’m trying to talk. This occasionally happens to the best of teachers. Yes, even me! But I know how to regain control of the class.

I have many tricks in my repertoire to silence the class. Sometimes I say, “¡Atención!” and that’s enough to quiet the class. Sometimes, I have to raise my voice and say, “¡Silencio!” Surprisingly, sometimes the class continues talking. So, I threaten to write the names of the students talking on the blackboard. My sons told me that some grade school teachers use this threat effectively. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would work at the university level, but I did try it once and the entire class immediately stopped talking. I was like totally amazed. If that doesn’t work, I yell, “¡Cállate!”

However, I’ll tell you my absolute favorite tactic. Raising my voice and saying, “Don’t make me snap my fingers in a z-formation.” I then snap my fingers in a z-formation. (Please note: You must say, “Don’t make me snap my fingers in a z-formation” in English.) Amazingly, the entire class stops talking instantly.

Once in a blue moon, none of the above strategies work. So what do I do? I very quietly say, “Shh.” That has never failed me! Yet.

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.

One thought on “Shh!

  1. You are too funny! I was making a presentation this morning, a group on my audience started talking and all of the sudden I remember your warning about snaping your fingers in Z formation LOL, I had to step out of the room, give them a break, go for some water and then continue. I did not give them a warning or snap my fingers, I just started laughing and could not stop…but it did work! they came back and did not talk after that LOL. I think they thought I was crazy and rather not to mess with me LOL

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