in high school offers some opportunity to kid around with the students. One year I decided I would challenge the observation qualities of my students. Blue was my favorite color and most of my clothes were blue. So I decided I would wear blue every day to see if the students noticed it. This I did until Christmas
. Not one student had mentioned it, so I teased them telling them that they were not good observers of peoples' characteristics. They laughed and laughed. They had all noticed it, talked about it among themselves, but never even thought of saying anything about it to me.
Many teachers adopt some kind of wardrobe characteristic. One teacher specialized in shoes. She must have had at least fifty pairs and she wore a different pair every day. I think every time she felt down she went out and bought another pair of shoes to cheer her up. Another teacher wore elaborate costume jewelry. She had some beauts and could match any kind of outfit with something special. I liked blue, so I just kept on wearing blue through the years.
One year I had a class that I thought was unnecessarily boring. It was a "B" section consisting of college-bound students. They were nice kids, never causing any discipline problems, but they were dull. I could never get any kind of a discussion going. I would ask a question. One student would raise his hand and give me an answer. Then they would wait for the next question. They would do anything they had to do to assure their "B" but nothing more.
One day I blew up. "What's the matter with you? " I asked. "You just sit there and never get excited about anything. Questions which I ask in my other classes often stimulate interesting and exciting discussions but you just sit there. I realize we are meeting right after lunch and you are probably sleepy, but I feel we are just wasting time being together."
The bell rang and the students quietly filed out, not even excited about being chastised. I was disgruntled, but there was nothing more I could say.
The next day when the class convened I realized immediately that something was going on. There was a feeling in the air which I could not identify. We worked our way through the hour with the usual conventional behavior, but I knew there was something different under the surface. This lasted until the bell rang and the students filed quietly out again. Except for one student. He trailed slowly by my desk just waiting for me to ask. "What was going on in here today?" I queried.
He answered, of course. He simply said, "We all wore blue today."