It's almost beome a common law that at the end of any presentation, lecture, or speech to end your prose in the statement, "Do you have any questions?"
I don't know where, when, and how I became trained to react to this question. I think it may be a combo year of 5-6 hour long lectures of nursing school, the 300-person lecture-bowls at UND, or my monotony and hatred of high school. Whenever I hear that question, I have been absolutely trained to responed with an assuring "head-nod".
This "assuring head nod" is almost me saying "No. I don't have any questions. I think we are ready for cessation of this lecture, for you were such an incredible teacher of this subject. Forget *teacher*, You are an expert. Thank you. Now let us go home!!!!!"
But let me know you, my friends, it hasn't always been this way! Oh no. I almost forgot that it hasn't always been that way until........................
My day teaching in a 5th grade classroom.
It my Community Health curriculum, we had to do teaching in the community. We chose to do "Hand-Washing/Infection Control" to 5th graders at a school in my community. Approriate, due to the increasing incidence of flu, pink eye, strept throat, etc going on right now!
The teaching plan was perfect. Down to the minute:
- 11:00-11:02 - Introductions
- 11:02-11:05 - Acquaintence with audience and surveillance of communicable diseases they've experienced
- 11:05-11:10 Explaining the different communicable diseases.....
- ......You get the point. It was organized, "Type A", and to the "tee".
I almost lost my mind at 11:06, when the kids were still talking about "I had pink eye reallllly bad one time.....and My mom gave me wash clothes...and then...and then..."
I could go on and list everything in the 30 minute period that made Abby want to scrrrreeeamm in a state of inpatience and insanity -- But I won't go into it.
But I leanred, and was reaqauinted with something about children. They are so curious, enthuastic, and READY TO SHARE THEIR STORY WITH THE WHOLE WOLRD!!! I used to have that enthusiasm, but I think the hellish monotony of high shool and junior high killed that.
Suddenly, I had become basically "The Sanitation GOD, Master, Ultimatum". Any question one ever has regarding hand-washing, germs, and hand-sanitizer -- I had the ultimate knowledge.
I made the awful mistake of asking at the end of my teaching, "Do you have any questions?"
I was expecting the normal *smile, nod* "No way, Ma'am. Thank you! Leave now!"
But this did not occur in such a 5th grade classroom on a Tuesday morning....they had questions. And this is a little glimpse of what it went like:
(Now, if any of you actually know me...you realize how...awkward I am. I actually started inching and backing up into the chalkboard in a state of doom/fear)
- "Um. Sometimes my family goes camping, and they don't have sinks in the bathrooms. Can I not eat then since I can't wash my hands before eating?"
- "What if the person that used a bottle of hand sanitizer before me has dirty, germy hands -- do I get their germs too then?"
- "What if there's no paper towels in the bathroom, and just the blow dryers? Shoul I just leave the water running?
- "ONE TIME I saw a girl rinse her hands in the bathroom, but she didn't use any SOAP!"
- *Red-headed boy, very similar to character off "The Problem Child"* "One time I saw a guy taking a *poo* and he didn't wash his hands!!!! Ahh hahahhah"
- *entire class* "Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!!! He said *poop*"
- "My mom said that fake nails grow fungus. "
- "Does hand sanitizer kill fungus? What about soap and water?"
And the teacher? He just sat in the back of the room on his computer. He must have just been loving every minute of this lack-of-control his class was in, that he was apparently no longer responsible for.
I finally had to interupt and end the questions. I don't even want to know what was going to come next. I am positive if I didn't stop the question war, things like "Where do babies come from?", "What hapens to us when we die?", "Did the chicken or the egg come first? Should animals wash their hands before they eat too??? Chicken coops are dirrrty".
I respect you. You are amazing people. The patience you have, and your ability to love your job (for you always seem to love your job) -- is incredible. You inspire children every day, and your impact is extremely important. Please, don't let them lose their enthusiasm. I wish I was that enthusiastic still about being in class. I don't know how you make it through your day without dropping on the floor, kicking your legs, flailing your arms, and crying. You are amazing.
I am glad I did not choose a major of "Education", and did nursing instead.