“Quiet game, everybody!” The speaker is one of the more vocal guys in the class, the one who usually riles up the others, but they have work to do today. The quiet game was his favorite strategy to get himself to focus. “Five minutes. One, two, three, go.”
And the room silenced.
The absolute silence only lasted for a few seconds, but the spirit of the game continued, with comments kept to quiet murmuring mostly on topic with their work. They’re all seniors, this class full of students taking college writing. They meet in my room, but I’m not teaching the class. My predecessor still teaches it, giving them their assignments online and occasionally coming in to meet with them in person. On a regular day, third period is a glorified study hall for them (and me). It’s a chance for them to meet together and focus on the work for this class, but they’re free to work on whatever they want. If they have a more pressing assignment in another class, they work on that instead and save the college writing work for another time. And there are days when they don’t have much to do at all, so they tend to converse and browse the internet instead. I’m pretty “hands off” with this group. I don’t even have a syllabus for the class, much less access to their individual assignments. If they choose to focus on the course work, good for them. If they choose to do something else, that’s up to their discretion.