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August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
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Going In Circles

Schmutter-091412-Succos

We think, “Is this how these people drive?” And the answer is: No. But it is how they drive when they’re looking down and reading something and holding five things at once.

My advice? If the guy in front of you is going slowly, step out of the line for a second, let the kid behind you poke him in the back, and then merge back in behind them. Or hire a traffic cop. Or use a horn.

Some shuls use shofars.

Dear Mordechai,

I’m starting school this week. Should I sit in front or in the back of the class?

Nervous

Dear Nervous,

I’m actually a teacher, so this question is slightly different for me. I don’t know you, but I assume, statistically, that you’re a student. Statistics show that teachers are still severely outnumbered at these schools, though we’re trying to work to fix that.

If you’re a student, there are benefits no matter where you sit, which is great, because half the time there’s assigned seating anyway, which is the teacher’s way of not admitting that he doesn’t know anyone’s name. If you sit in the front, you can see the board better. If you sit in the back, the teacher will never ask you to do anything, such as make copies or pass things back to the kids who don’t care. If you sit in back, the teacher won’t see if you’re eating, but if you sit in front, the teacher won’t see you if you’re eating either, because he’s going to be busy trying to see if the kids in the back are eating.

You also want to decide if you want to sit closer to the door or the window. If you’re near the door, you get to recess first. If you sit near the window, you can stare out the window all day while the teacher yells at the kids near the door for sneaking out every time he turns around to write on the board. Also, you get to see those kids get to recess first. You also might be able to get to recess first yourself, unless your classroom is on the third floor.

Not that seats are permanent anyway. While I’m writing, the kids are doing hakafos behind me, and then I turn around and everyone’s sitting like an angel, but I can swear that each kid is on the opposite side of the classroom than when they started.

And therein lies the problem, as a teacher. If you stand in front of the class, you can write on the board, but you can’t see the kids while you’re doing so. If you stand in the back, you can see the kids, but you can’t reach the board. I’m looking for somewhere I can buy a really long piece of chalk. Or, once we’re using board markers anyway, we should replace all the boards with mirrors, so we can see the kids as we write.

Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Raise your hand, and I’ll see you in the mirror. Or text me on my way home.

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