Daily Journey Journal #49: classroom cacophany

The school where I work is on the second and fifth floors of a five story building that has not aged the years well. From the outside it appears washed out, unused. Indeed, some of the floors inside seem abandoned, except for the stray men I see wandering out from behind locked doors every few weeks.

Our classrooms are small, quaint even, though lacking in the other, non-size related qualities that make a space quaint. The walls are all graffitied by pencils and pens, the floors stained and dirty, the wallpaper faded. Despite their lackluster appearance, these rooms are spaces for incredible energy and excitement, joy and learning, creativity and inspiration. The sounds from within say it all.

In the background, the air conditioner hums a steady, grey noise. Outside the window traffic honks by, muffled slightly. Layers of voices tumble over the top. Mine is high, light, non-commanding even when it tries to be. My voice calls out questions.

What do they do?

Eight voices rise to answer, climbing over one another to reach my ears first.

They smile!

What does he do?

He dresses his dog!

What do you see?

I see a starfish!

The growing excitement casts an almost undetectable buzz atop the hum of the air conditioner. The sound of the traffic has all but vanished into the excitement. My voice becomes higher as it strains to be heard. I call out another question.

What do you see?

I see an OCTOPUS!

Eight voices are straining now, attempting to overpower one another. The students have left their chairs, climbed onto the big, wide table where we work. Books, pencils, papers are scattered below their feet as they gather closer and closer.

What is she?


Their voices are screaming now, piling one on top of the other until it is impossible for me to hear any specific word. Their eyes are bright, focused on the book and my face, ready for the next question. Their small fingers plug their own ears and their vocal cords prepare for another shattering answer to come forth into the small space of our classroom.

What is she?

Shshsheshe issisisis aaa wwizzizaarrdrddd!!!

The answer explodes around the room. My ears ring. Their ears ring. We are laughing, smiling, engulfed in our little world of simple sentences, silly pictures and their eagerness to prove to me how much they have learned. These are the sounds of my classroom on most days, the noise level just a bit too high, laughter at frequent intervals and words bouncing between the walls and around the humming air con. Some days the students are screaming ‘teacher!’ at an ea-splitting decibel, other days it’s sentences from their books or new vocabulary words. But, if I have learned anything these last nine months it’s that a loud classroom is a happy one.



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