Lately, in my classes (the ones where I learn, not the ones where I teach) I have taken on a certain role. My role is SPOKESPERSON FOR SHY PEOPLE. Specifically, all of the shy children of the world. All of them.
I wish I could say that there is some grand reason that I have taken on this role, but the reason is really quite simple. I am very quiet. At least in class I am, for those of you who were at the recent wedding and might think I am loud. Wine is loud. Dawn is not generally loud.
Anyway, to get back to the point. I am entirely uncomfortable with this role. It typically plays out that we do a group activity (for example, pretending to be presidential candidates and debating) where I don't see the need to contribute to the conversation as there are at least 15 other people that are more than happy to speak. Then when it is over they all look at me with pleading eyes as though they just know that I have something really spectacular to add. They do this because they are very kind people who only want to make sure I am included. I look at all of their caring faces and begging eyes and my ears get red and I begin sweating, just down my spine, and they look at me and my ears and sweaty spine and they say, "well, can you at least tell us how we can connect with students like you?"
I answer reluctantly, usually with something like, "If you are going to be doing group discussion, why not give them time to prepare a statement and let them run it by you first," or "start with small groups so they have some feedback on their ideas already." My classmates nod their heads like I have just said something really clever. They take notes. Notes! The truth is, I don't know what to tell them. I was mortified when teachers gave me extra attention in school. I know that I am telling these people things that would absolutely have made no difference to 13 year old Dawn, and therefore probably won't work for any other shy pre-teen.
If I have learned anything from this experience, it is how odd my teachers must have found me. My classmates certainly do.