Being a Leader in School (And Everything Else): Why Students Don’t Raise Their Hands In Class Anymore

Happy New Year!  Sorry for these frequent stops in content, but I was out for practically the whole month of December. Won’t happen for a while! And Merry Christmas, hope that you all survived or are reading in one piece…

handraising children

I observe lots of little things every day. I often pick up on little things that other people say as well. I then blow them out of proportion on this blog, hoping to provide a new view.

Expecting a but? A “that’s all going to change”?

Nope. I’m denying you that satisfaction. I will probably continue to over-exaggerate things and attempt to change your views until my dying day, which I predict will be sometime in the future, whether it be tomorrow or February 29, 2124 (hey, I’m not a psychic.) So welcome to the little oasis of regularity and routine in my ever expanding world of chaos and disorder.

So it should be no surprise when I complain (rant, discuss, argue, etc.) that kids these days just don’t want to raise their hands or something. I mean, when I asked several acquaintances of mine about the experience in the classroom, I often hear that students do one of these seven things. And I have observed these things also.


1. Students whip out their cell phones or music devices when the teacher tells them to read a book or do homework from another class after they have finished their work.

2. Students don’t want to raise their hands when the instructor asks a question, no matter how simple the question is.

3. Students don’t communicate with their partners or their groups when asked to work in a group or even solve a problem or answer a question as a group.

4. Students often ask, “How would I use this later on? I’m going to be a ____ , not a  _____ .” or “Do I really need to learn this?”

5. Students don’t read their books to study, even when the teacher asks them to read at home.

6. Students just don’t read. Period. And by reading, I mean books with real substance, and not picture books, comic books, anime, fan fiction, books involving dragons, or cheesy books about girls or guys going through break ups.  Dictionaries and student planners don’t count either. (Maybe I should do a post on this? Now THAT’s a great idea…)

7. Students click their pens, throw notes across the room, or pull faces at their friends or not-so-great friends when the teacher isn’t looking or when the instructor bores them.

There are actually more things than this, but, for the sake of shortness, I’ll just stop here. In fact, let’s focus in on the second item on the list…

2. Students don’t want to raise their hands when the instructor asks a question, no matter how simple the question is.

raising hand awkward

Why don’t students raise their hands? Is it because they’re afraid of getting the answer wrong? Is it because they don’t want to seem like a show-off in front of their classmates? Do the students like their instructor? Or is it because they truly didn’t pay attention to the teacher’s question? These are some of the common arguments that students use in order to explain their lack of participation.

I will carefully and, at the same time, brutally counter the above arguments. One by one, because massacring all of them together would be bloody, brutal, and no fun. And at the same time I would really want to tell students everywhere that you don’t have to think this way, that school should be fun, and that school really helps you get a good job later if you take advantage of it correctly. Think of this as a (bad, but acceptable) how-to guide to getting through school, students. Yes, I’m talking to you too.

No, I’m not an author, philosopher, lawyer, faculty member or teacher from any school, dropout (college or high school), or serial killer or mass murderer. Calm down.

Although I’m flattered if you thought that I was a philosopher or author.

Argument 1: I’m Afraid of Getting the Answer Wrong.

I’ll give you ten bucks if you answered this and your social science teacher let it slide.

Relax. You don’t have to worry about making a fool of yourself in front of the whole class. The whole purpose of school is to learn, and it is scientifically proven that you learn better and can recall mistakes quicker than what you get right the first time. Trust me, I’ve heard this advice from another mentor of mine. Let’s call him Master Mentor II.

So just raise your hand if you have a tiny hunch on an answer. Who knows, it may be right. And, if it isn’t, then so what? At least you’re learning, even as your classmates laugh at you endlessly. You can laugh at them later when they don’t recall anything  on their SATs, Matura, university exit exams, etc.

And, in the strong words of Master Mentor II, “The purpose and job of a teacher is, well, to teach. It’s OK if you get the answer wrong, because if everyone got the answer right, then teachers wouldn’t have a purpose in life. Teachers would be more than happy to help you.”

Now, if your teacher laughs at you, along with your classmates, then you’ve probably got a bad teacher. Unless if, of course, they’re only joking, and if everything is lighthearted. Tell your teacher that you don’t like joking around if you don’t want him or her to laugh at you; they’ll be happy to oblige if they’re a decent teacher.

Argument 2: I Don’t Want to be a Teacher’s Pet or a Kiss-Up

I actually thought that this argument had died out long ago. Still, I’m hearing things about that one girl who always gets perfect marks on her reports or that one guy who is the teacher’s favorite.

Shameful. Really? I mean, come on, school is a competition. You want to seem smart and be smart so employers in the future would want to pick you. But you also have got to balance the smarts with the fun. To be the one person who gets good grades and is in many extracurricular activities and clubs yet is still pretty nice, funny, etc. is what you should aim for.

And, as Master Mentor II states, “Teaching others helps to reinforce the idea in your mind, so that it will be easier to recall and conceptually understand later on.” So don’t mind the one person who seems like he or she is rubbing it in your face by offering you math help. Take advantage of it, and accept the help, because it’s benefiting you and your teacher. And ignore the true know-it-all snobs as well. They’ll just be an annoyance that’ll probably disappear later on and hopefully not reappear as your next door neighbor(s).

Argument 3: My Teacher is Boring/I Hate How My Teacher Teaches

There are some teachers that you will face that teach… in an unorthodox manner. If so, just give it time and be patient. The teacher may act that way in order to see who the real troublemakers are. Just keep your guard up.

Just know that you should probably just put up with it. Later, you’re going to have to put up with some people that you really don’t want to work with.

You truly know that your teacher is bad when they laugh at you and mean it, or they don’t teach anything. Teachers that everyone likes because of their being “chill” and not teaching much are horrible teachers. Sure, they’re gentle to you and all, but do you really learn?

If you really want to change your teacher, there is always someone called a guidance counselor or principle that you can talk to. They won’t ignore your problems; it’s their job to be involved, after all.

Argument 4: I Wasn’t Paying Attention

If this is true for all students who don’t raise their hands, then there would be so many of whom you would probably not want to be your brain surgeon. There are, however, some who truly don’t pay attention. In that case, it’s their fault and not the teacher’s. Unless if the teacher doesn’t actively try to get their attention back.

For those students who actually do pay attention and were caught not paying attention that one day that they don’t feel well, it’s not your fault, either. But your being caught should provide an example of what’s to happen if someone were to be caught snoozing or spacing out.

goodteacherSo, the bottom line is this: just raise your hands.

Even if none of your friends are doing it, just do it yourself. You can be the leader in creating a great learning environment for everyone. And don’t worry about playing the nerd in the whole scheme of things- at least you’ll (hopefully) end up in a great job. Or in a job like video game designer or comic shop owner.

But you’ve got to be a leader in learning. A leader in innovation and creating something new in the world by learning as much as possible about the world around you. And this learning can only mature efficiently in school.

All of this talk about leadership reminds me of able leaders in the past who have led their own revolutions or journeys for a better vision and a better world. Let’s just pick someone random…

How about Jason? Not me. The guy with the Golden Fleece and Argonauts.

So glad that I have the same name as this guy…

When no one else stands to lead or to attempt to revolutionize the world, then you eventually will. There has to be a leader in something, because due to our uniqueness some are more better suited for a task than others. We need leaders to guide our way. Teachers to put us on the right path. People to step in the cave first despite there being something unpleasant in the back of it.

If there are no leaders, life can’t progress. I mean, sure, revolutions can happen by majority uprising, but their has to be some kind of spark behind it. Some kind of rallying force to push everyone forward.

So start raising your hand in class or start participating. It may feel dorky at first, but trust me, it will benefit you in the long run. Soon, everyone will do it.

It happens. Happened to me, although the people that I went to school with and practically grew up with probably don’t know it until they look at some other schools.

But it happens…


2 responses to “Being a Leader in School (And Everything Else): Why Students Don’t Raise Their Hands In Class Anymore

  1. Pingback: “Just a Book” vs. Literature: People Don’t Read As Much as they Used To | Oh how... UNcharming...·

  2. Pingback: Looking Back: Updates and Memories | Oh how... UNcharming...·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s