Last week I was meandering through classrooms at the school where I work, observing and enjoying the view from the frontlines. In one particular classroom, a teacher was giving a math lesson. She asked a question, and called on a student who eagerly raised his hand.
He spouted out the wrong answer.
The teacher urged him to rethink his answer and rework his math.
Other than his pencil scribbling on his paper, the room was silent.
We waited. And waited. And waited.
I wanted SO badly to help him, give him a hint, call out the answer.
But we waited.
He got it.
And the teacher moved on to the next problem, and the class went about the rest of their day as usual.
But I was so affected, by something so minor.
Because the teacher had given this child some wait-time, let him think through the process, given him as much space as he needed, he was able to find success. Even moreso, the teacher had obviously conditioned her students to this type of practice, as not one student huffed or puffed in frustration at how long it took the little boy to answer, nor did anyone call out the answer.
They waited, too.
Giving students - children - this window of wait-time, this opportunity to take their time to think, explore, try, fail, try again, succeed... is imperative. And sometimes we're all so consumed with moving on, getting to the next question, checking things off the list - we fail to allow for the awkward silence, the minutes when a child's brain is ticking, connecting, figuring things out. But, as both educators and parents, it's SO important to do that... let them figure it out without always doing the figuring out for them.
So, remember, when you’re tempted to jump in, and help, and hold their hand, and give them the answer...
Just wait for it.