Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Whistle While You Work

Every year in my classroom, there is a whistler or two.  I'll hear them during work time, whistling.  While they get their snow gear on they will be whistling a happy tune as they hop around on one foot trying to get it into their snow pants.   They whistle while they are getting their mail from their little mailbox, or stacking their chair at the end of the day.  One time last year I heard one little boy whistling 'Auld Lang Syne'.  In May. In the bathroom.   Now there's a happy kid for you.

As a teacher, whistling is something you can't really allow.  This is because, inevitably, it will annoy everyone around them.  Some are annoyed because they can't think.  Some are annoyed because they want peace and quiet.  Some are annoyed because the person is trying to annoy them by whistling. Some are annoyed because they are unable to whistle, therefore, they are not going to allow someone else to do it.

Within mere seconds of a whistler beginning their tune, someone will be tattling.

"Mrs. Jeppson!  [insert whistler's name] is whistling!"  This is always said with great disdain.  How dare them!
It's usually followed up by me saying, with a loud sigh, "Can whoever is whistling please stop.  It's bothering others who are trying to ________".   That normally quiets them.  At this point in the year, I don't even have to say anything.  Inevitably, one of the students will take care of it by repeating above phrase to the classroom.  They have even learned to place my loud sigh at just the right spot.  It's a polite group of students this year so they always stop and we carry on.

Usually the whistlers like to perform during IDR (independent daily reading)  for more impact.  A quiet room.  The teacher away for a few minutes with a para peeking in sporadically. Perfect for the whistler.  He/she is able to annoy, but the chances of getting caught are remote since there isn't an adult in the room.   Even our wonderful paras can't detect just which one of the twenty-two innocent little faces, strategically hidden behind their Magic Tree House books is actually whistling.  No doubt, though someone will rat him/her out.

This year I'll have to admit I have more hummers than whistlers.  Often during the day you can hear someone humming.  Especially if there is any coloring going on.  For some unexplained reason, humming seems to be accepted more in the classroom population than whistling.   I'm not quite sure why that is.

Every time I hear someone whistling I think of the song "Whistle While You Work".  Not to worry, I have no intention of posting the link to that song.  It's incredibly annoying.  And there's lots of whistling in it.  Bleh!  So I googled jobs that include whistling and here are the jobs they mentioned:

Traffic Cop 
Train Engineer

Add to the list "teacher with kids outside for recess when they need to get them back in the building".

Fascinated, suddenly, by whistling, I looked up "whistle while you work" and I found an interesting article about how whistling relieves stress and is a good thing to do while working or extending yourself mentally.  It's really worth a quick read, particularly the section on "paralysis by analysis".  Simply put, we can paralyze our self when we over analyze and try to control every single thing we do.   I've seen that first hand with students when they take a test.  Often, the best students don't perform as well as they should because they become "frozen" mentally as they try to over think and analyze every question and answer.

Read Article

Do you know how many idioms include the word whistle? Me neither, but there are quite a few.

My personal favorites are:  blow the whistle on, clean as a whistle, bells and whistles, just whistle, not whistling Dixie, and wet one's whistle.

Now I'm definitely not a whistler.  Never was and never will be.   I annoy myself if I whistle.  But, I don't know.  After reading this article, maybe there is something to this whole thing.  

As a teacher, my job sure has its share of stress and mental strain. I think the next time one of my little darlings starts to whistle, I'll join in.   And we can whistle while we work.

At least until we get asked politely to stop.

1 comment:

  1. I too have a whistler or two and I am not really sure that the ones who want the whistling stopped are really distracted by the noise, or annoyed because they themselves are unable to whistle. My dad taught me to whistle through my fingers on my seventh birthday, when he took me to my first pro baseball game - the Tigers vs. the Indians. Whistling loudly through ones fingers has been most beneficial...especially when recess is over and the kids need to line up! However, my mother ALWAYS said, "Please DON'T do is SO UNLADYLIKE!" Of course, this is different from whistling while one works (concentrates, colors, writes, etc.). It is much more celebratory...louder...obnoxious. Guess Mother was right - unladylike!