Philip said that one day, he kept his hand raised for most of a class, but she did not call on him.Whoa! A student who keeps his hand up for the entire class when he isn't getting called on.
In a statement she composed before the interview, [Elizabeth] Snyder wrote, “I did not call on Philip in this class nor did I call on anyone else, simply because I had a detailed presentation planned for the class and I wanted to be finished in the prescribed time.Philip, you should know, is a 10th grader and he is taking a history course in a college. I don't think the teacher should have stopped the lecture. What I'd do in this situation — and I've taught for 26 years — is glance at the student and say like "I need you to hold your question." Because that raised hand is distracting for everyone.
“He misinterpreted this and assumed it had something to do with his stuttering; I interpreted his hand up for 75 minutes as someone unfamiliar with a college lecture format and frankly a little rude,” she said. “In hindsight, I should have stopped my lecture and called on Philip because he had become so fixated on making a statement that it didn’t seem to matter to him that he was interrupting my presentation.”
The student — even if he worries that he's being treated unfairly — has an obligation to learn classroom etiquette. And how was he able to inspire the NYT to write about him, making him the face of stutterers' rights? Does he know someone at the NYT or was it because he's made himself a presence on YouTube, and the Times is keen on stories with a new media angle?
Now, the NYT did try to get a comment from the teacher before it ran the initial article, but how can a teacher discuss an individual student with the press? She was put in an impossible situation.
Ms. Snyder has taught history for 37 years, first in middle school and for the last decade at the county college, and students give her generally positive marks. In May, the college’s Educational Opportunity Fund named her educator of the year, for her work with financially and academically challenged students.Oh, but stutterers' rights... it's a cool new issue that we can all talk about now. Who cares if a fusty old school teacher is sacrificed?
“I’ve been an advocate for kids my entire life,” she said. “But people’s rush to judgment on this, it feels like it’s pretty much destroyed my life.”