We do a lot of hard work quietly.
We've heard the Lorde quote "your silence will not protect you" often. Yet, what does silence represent sometimes? You've learned that silence may mean we are processing information, that we are considering all the options and alternatives. Silence does not always mean contempt or riding the fence.
Thinking is hard work especially as it is connected to un/learning! When your students sit quietly in class after you've asked a question and you give them time to think, that is ok. It doesn't mean all of them are not paying attention, some of them are thinking; doing that hard work. It's important to let folks know that silence is not something to be afraid of or think must always be filled.
Sure folks like to say a lively classroom discussion is important. But, when you are with 35 students who are taking their first college course, who could be 16, 17 years old; there's a lot that can be going on for them. It's the same for parents, providers, peer educators, educators and others you train or provide workshops to at various times.
There is often more than one "right" answer. Folks in the US are taught that there is often only one right answer, especially in a US school setting. However, reminding folks that there is more than one right answer for the questions you may be asking (i.e. 'what benefits may people enjoy by upholding a gender binary" or "how do begin to heal from the sexual shame we hold onto?").
When you were a student, you did not speak often, but when you did you had profound things to share. Folks really listened when you chose to speak to them. Oftentimes they were so struck by what you said and shared they didn't know how to respond but to say that they were thankful your comment was shared and it made them think. Silence doesn't always mean something negative. Silence is powerful, and it is important to keep in mind how you choose to use silence.
It's important to use silence in a strategic way. It is important to view silence as a tool many folks use to cope, heal, build, un/learn, focus, and transform.
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Read all the lessons so far:
Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 9.