Friday, December 7, 2012

The Sound of Silence

It's rather an eerie feeling, almost, to walk into a classroom at the end of the day when the students are gone.  Today, for some reason, I was particularly struck by the complete and utter silence of my classroom.  The talking and laughing that had been there just minutes before was entirely gone.  Eerie, I tell you.   To add to this feeling, my hallway teacher friends had been in a meeting today and their subs had left with the kids. Silence.  

I took a moment to look at the vacant desks and the filled walls of my classroom. I see them every day, but my room is like a second home to me; sometimes I don't stop and really look.  I glanced at the desks.  Each desk tells a story of the student that occupies it.  A desk with crumpled papers shoved inside.  A desk with each item stacked neatly.  A desk bursting with colored pencils and markers.  A desk with, not one, but two name tags.  A desk with a pack of antibacterial wipes. A desk with the smallest pencil I've ever seen sitting on top.  A desk with so many things teetering that the slightest movement would dump it all onto the floor.   I smiled.  

Suddenly, I didn't want to be there any more.  It was too quiet for me.  I grabbed my coat and bag and headed for the door.

Once in my car I started for home.   On the radio was "Call Me Maybe", which if I hear one more time, I think I'm going to lose it, so I switched the channel.  On came Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence".  Really?   Am I in some freaky sort of time warp fourth dimension?  I abhor Simon & Garfunkel, which oddly is one of my husband's favorite groups.  [side note]  I took him to their concert years ago when we were dating and held on until "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" began.  What an utterly ridiculous song. If you don't believe me, listen to that one again.   After almost two excrutiating hours of two men and guitars, I told my husband I couldn't take it and I'd wait for him in the lobby.  He stayed for every single minute of every single encore (they played 6).   So my first reaction when I heard their song on the radio was to change the station.   But I didn't.  Don't ask me how, but I knew and sang every word to the song.  I instantly felt buoyed and saddened by the music at the same time.  

When I got home I googled the song and found it was written by Paul Simon in 1964 in the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.  I read all the lyrics for the first time and found it very moving.  I dare say I even liked the song.  And even felt a bit differently about Simon & Garfunkel.  Now I certainly won't be attending another one of their concerts, but today did change my perspective a bit.

I know when Monday morning arrives, the students will once again fill my classroom with talking and laughter (and sometimes arguing) because that's what a classroom is. 

A classroom is alive with noise and empty with silence.

Listen to Sound of Silence


  1. Aww... I LOVE Simon and Garfunkel! They got me through my college years! Sounds of Silence is a good song - The lyrics "echo the sounds of silence" held me captive when I was a late teen. I remember thinking "that is really deep"!
    You are right - a silent classroom is eery. It is filled with the spirits of those who walked before...but a quiet classroom is magical - and not possible, it seems, on Friday afternoons!
    Love reading your pertinent blogs!

  2. will try to be positive when the noise is ever present around me...someday too my home will be quiet and I might not like it!