Posted on September 23, 2010Filed Under Presenting the Book, Seventh Grade Behavior | 5 Comments

You all know the type. They might as well just walk in the door with their hand up. Actually some sort of do. They are the question machines, also known as IHAQ’s (pronounced I Hacks).

“I have a question.”

They have a question about EVERYTHING, many times BEFORE you even start talking. I have a couple of serious IHAQ’s this year. One girl would be a lock to win one of those challenges on Survivor where you have to keep your hand over your head or your bucket of water puts out your fire or something.

I have a question. Actually I have four. Is that ok?

One: Why do they always say, “I have a question”? Of course you have a question; that’s why you raised your hand. And if you have a comment, rather than a question,  you can still just raise your hand, and make your comment. You don’t have to preface it with, “I have a comment.” It’s like those kids who think a conclusion to an essay sounds like this, “…And that’s why I think cheese-making should be an elective in the seventh grade wheel…” Well, duh.

Two: When the hand is up, what is he thinking about? This one I know the answer to. I can guarantee that kid is not listening to you. He’s thinking about the burning question that he just can’t wait until you’re done to ask. And sometimes, he’s not even doing that. He did have a question at one time, but it’s a lot of work to keep remembering what he was  going to ask while Mr. Coward blathers on, so he drifts off a bit, and the hand just stays up.


“Ummm…I was going to ask… Ummm… I forgot.”

“And what was I just talking about?”


A common sight in my room is my put-your-hand-down wave. It’s like pantomiming a couple of whacks on the head.

“I’m still talking. Let me finish. THEN you can ask questions I have already given you the answers to. Right now, all you’re doing is thinking about your question. ”

“Nuh uh.”

Three: What is up with the preemptive question?

“Ok. Today, we’re going to — ‘Samantha,’ what could you possibly have a question about already? I haven’t even started saying anything yet.”

“How many for the warm up?”

“I will  get to that in about 15 seconds, LIKE I ALWAYS DO.”

“I just wanted to make sure.”

Uh huh.

Four: Can we talk about timing? The instructions are on the display, I just explained them again, I have accounted for every possible angle, I even did the obligatory, “Are there any questions?”  Then I say, “I’m setting the timer for 5 minutes…Go!”


“I have a question.”

“Did you not hear, “Are there any questions?”

“But I didn’t have a question then.”


5 Responses to “IHAQ’s”

  1. Sara on September 24th, 2010 5:40 am

    This drives absolutely up a wall. The worst is that mine seem to think that their questions are so important that they should shout them out and interrupt me IN THE MIDDLE OF GIVING THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS.

    It every last shred of self control I have not to lose my mind when they do this.

  2. Mrs. M~ on September 24th, 2010 8:53 am

    OMG, how ironic that you posted this now. I have one of the worst IHAQs I have ever had this year. In my 20 years of teaching, I am not sure I have ever been as annoyed by one of my students as I am by this one. Just like Sara, it is taking all of my self-control not to shove a sock in his mouth. My “put your hand down” pantomime has already gotten a full workout this year.

  3. Heather on September 24th, 2010 11:37 am

    My kids also think it’s totally appropriate to yell out CAN I GO TO THE BATHROOM?, CAN I GO GET WATER I’M THIRSTY?, and CAN I GO TO THE NURSE?

  4. mrC on September 24th, 2010 7:42 pm

    I KNEW it wasn’t only me. I swear, it must a learned behavior that gets rewarded somehow, somewhere. It’s all those people saying there is no such thing as a stupid question. Hello? There actually is such a thing, and it’s more common than the legit kind.

    You also have to remember that in junior high, it’s all about me (me being the kid). Whatever is on that kid’s mind at that exact moment is the only important thing in the world. Even if he can’t remember what it was.

  5. Meg on September 26th, 2010 11:51 pm

    I have a group that took 20 minutes in class asking permission questions that were answered in the instructions. So I have a knew rule: only 1 ‘what if question’ for the WHOLE class the WHOLE period. Drives them crazy, and keeps MY sanity!

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