Usually in an interview when someone does not want to say something, or wants to avoid answering a specific question, they’ll respond with a simple “no comment.”
When working with students who aren’t up to answering a question, we aren’t often lucky enough to get a “no comment.” We are often left with silence, or in the case of an empathetic teacher, the ability to “pass” to a friend.
Some kids are just quiet. And that’s ok.
They are introspective in their own way. While they may not comment on what’s going on, they may still be deeply reflective of what’s going on.
I was one of those kids. In High School, I had an English teacher who asked me a question every day, and every day, she got the same response. It became a running gag throughout the year.
Teacher: “Rich, are you willing to answer a question today?”
Me: “Not today.”
I wasn’t necessarily embarrassed to share or concerned what others might think of my answers. I just preferred to remain thoughtfully quiet to myself.
Let’s keep this in mind as we work with students this year.
No comment doesn’t necessarily mean no critical thought. It simply means no comment.