Speak Up

“‘Speak now or forever hold your peace’
There’s the silence, there’s my last chance
I stand up with shaking hands
All eyes on me”

The teacher asks a question. The same 2 or 3 people raise their hands, but she wants to pick someone who refuses to participate. It could be a simple question, but some people aren’t the type of people who like the attention that comes with answering a question. Being wrong, especially when you volunteered, isn’t the best feeling and although it’ll be forgotten in two seconds, it’s kind of embarrassing.


Those shy kids who try to hide when a question is asked could be the smartest ones in the class. They could contribute to the discussion and bring up a point that no one had thought of before. However, when they don’t share their ideas, it goes unnoticed and the class has missed out on an interesting topic. In English, we read tons of books and have weekly discussions.

Teacher Asking Questions

The great thing about literature is there isn’t a wrong answer. If you interpret something a certain way, and someone else sees it another way, it’s okay. As long as you have evidence to support your perspective, you have a valid point. The first time you read something you may not understand what is going on or the significance of certain symbols, but if you heard someone else’s input or what their take on it is it could be extremely beneficial. As hard as it is to believe, your teacher doesn’t know everything; they may not be right all the time. You could notice something that they overlooked, but you wouldn’t have the satisfaction of pointing it out if you don’t raise your hand.

When you get your teacher to really think about something you brought up or when they say, “You know what? I’ve never thought about that” it makes you feel like a pretty darn intelligent person. I used to be one of those kids who sat there during a discussion and didn’t want to answer unless I knew the answer for sure. I don’t like to be wrong and sometimes I have trouble putting my thoughts into words. I used to be forced to answer questions and I’d pretend to be writing when the teacher would be searching for someone to call on.


This year I’ve put the effort into being an active student and trying to raise my hand more often. It’s proved to be really beneficial for me. Listening to a discussion and participating in one are two very different things, as I’ve come to realize. You’re more engaged when you’re putting ideas out there and answering/asking questions. Last week, my English class got into a huge discussion about what the grindstone in “A Tale of Two Cities” represented. Someone had seen the symbol in a different way than my teacher did and we were able to build off of her idea.


The point is, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up sometimes. You aren’t going to be punished or tortured for raising your hand. Who cares if you’re wrong? It helps with your comprehension of books and difficult subjects. It’s intimidating at first, but after a few times, it’s natural. Plus, you don’t have to worry about being a helpless victim of your teacher (they tend to call on those who hide, not those who are constantly engaged). You never know until you try it.

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