Note: Names have been changed for privacy reasons
“Circle up,” my teacher, Ms. Brown, says. It’s the usual routine- getting 26 desks to form a perfect circle in the windowless cell that I call my English classroom. The 26 of us grumble about having to move our lazy butts into formation, but we do it nonetheless, because, well, that’s just what honor students do—they do things that they don’t want to do simply to please adults (it’s kind of like taking the honors class to please their parents).
Ms. Brown asks a prompt question to get the gears in our small heads turning, and I raise my hand quickly, but someone beats me to do it, and he is called on.
It’s okay, I think to myself, I’ll just keep raising my hand and then I’ll share my idea.
5 minutes pass, the Ms. Brown hasn’t called on me yet. I jot my idea down on a sheet of paper because I have the memory capacity of a goldfish and pray that she will call on me.
10 minutes pass, and my arm is crying, begging me to put it down, because blood is no longer circulating to my fingers.
“Jonny, what do you think about this?” Ms. Brown asks a boy who sits in the corner. He shrugs nonchalantly, says something to get her to accept that he doesn’t know the answer, and goes back to sleep.
The same girl who has been picked on about four times now raises her hand.
“Nina, you may talk.”
Alright, so at this point, it has been 15 minutes and I think that everyone in this class has said my ideas, which I am writing on my paper, but then I have to cross them off. Please pick on me!
Finally, after 20 minutes have passed, I hear my name.
“Sarah, anything to add?”
“No, sorry,” I say simply and call it a day. My arm is dead and I give up. All of my comments have been said in some shape, way or form by the girl who gets called on at least 4 times a day.
After class, I ask Ms. Brown how I can boost my participation in her class. Her answer?
Raise your hand.
And I take that. Because I’m an honor student, and I do stuff because it makes you happy, Ms. Brown.
Just one request. Please call on me next time.