“You got a new chair.”

First of all, thanks for the additions to the seventh grade statements-of-the-obvious canon. The “Do we have to?” AFTER the “Yes you do”  is a personal pet peeve.

But I realized yesterday that I sort of mis-titled that previous post. I was two letters off. I think today’s title is closer to the truth. I also realized that this “you-got-new-glasses” thing (my boy bought me  some fine new yaller reading specs at the dollar store the other day, and yes, I was wearing them for the first time, and yes, I was told that I had new glasses) is another manifestation of the “asking-a-question-you-just-answered” phenomenon. It’s a fine line, but the YGNG is a little different because it seems they are trying to demonstrate some knowledge. Maybe it makes them feel “empowered.” Maybe it’s like when my wife lived in Hawaii, and her family would go on a regular car trip that went past the Dole factory, and she and her sisters always vied to be the one to get to say,

“First to see the giant pineapple!”

“First to see Mr. Coward’s new chair!”

On the other hand, the AAAQ (“asking an answered question”) syndrome is more a sign of the true obliviousness of the junior high student. It doesn’t matter how carefully (or how many times, for that matter) you go over something or explain something or even just say something; you will have to answer several questions that ask you for information you just gave not 30 seconds before. Orally and in a handout. And written on the board.

“When is this due?”


In fact, my teaching style has sort of evolved to fit this environment. Nowadays I mostly just ask and answer questions.

Another point I forgot to make the other day about the YGNG ones: Have you noticed that even when they are making a statement of the obvious, it still comes out almost as a question?

“Mr. Coward got new glasses?”

(me)”No way! Really?”

It’s like they need validation of their own senses. Yesssss. I was right. He wasn’t wearing those yesterday.

I guess it’s because they so rarely use their senses to actually, you know, notice stuff.

It usually takes them a month and a half to notice the wooden flying frog (a gift from a former student years ago) hanging from my ceiling. It’s the only thing hanging from the ceiling. I accidentally put one wing on backwards. It’s been backwards for 10 years.

“When did you get that?”

“About 10 years ago.”

“Nuh uh.”

Believe it or not it takes many of them a couple of weeks to notice my bike sitting in the corner. I don’t drive. It’s there every day. But one poor soul was a bit more oblivious than the middle school median.

(2 weeks in) “That’s your bike?”

“Umm… yeah.”

“You ride your bike to school?”

“Only every day. Wait, I think…”

I saw you. Riding your bike.”