Sports, the new movies in theaters, who’s now dating who, what rules are currently hated, what happened in P.E. yesterday, what’s happening this summer, what happened on Family Guy last night, how much work is hated but that paycheck is the best thing ever, what teacher is having a bad day, who’s failing what, what’s fashionable, and who’s not.
Now picture that, all – day- long.
That’s my classroom. Those are things that my students are constantly talking about. To be fair there are hundreds more, but the list tends to get redundant after a while. Most of these things, while possibly entertaining are quite inane.
What’s fascinating though is how much my students are able to talk about each of them. I spend more time in my day asking for silence, or at least quiet, than any other activity. They are always talking.
What surprises me is how fast that can change. All it takes is a shift to a topic they aren’t particularly interested in and, provided the class is quiet to begin with, nobody will be talking.
What’s most surprising, and frustrating to me as the teacher, is what topics I lose them on. Almost anything serious can guarantee a lack of participation. This is especially true with anything spiritual or even just religious. Pick any one of the topics listed at the beginning and they’ll talk for hours. Mention redemption or trying to live like Christ and you get maybe three sentences before you can hear the crickets chirping.
This bugs me, it really does. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. It took me forever to figure out why this was the case. I figured it out last week. It’s not complicated. They stop talking about the subject I want to discuss as a class for the same reason I stop talking when they are discussing most of the above topics.
They don’t care.
It’s that simple. They talk about things that matter to them. If it doesn’t matter to them, they not only don’t have an opinion, but they don’t care to form one.
This shouldn’t be surprising. This is how life works.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:21
We talk about what we care about. What we treasure our heart is set on. Maybe I shouldn’t be worried about them not participating and instead make an effort to care about what they care about and help them understand why the things that I see as important matter to me. Maybe then they’ll start to care; or maybe I will.
I think both would be healthy.