I can't hear you, Bert.

I can’t hear you, Bert. (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)

I walk into my classroom about two minutes before class starts. It’s a great hybrid room, with 24 workstations around the outer edges, tables in the middle, and a huge projection screen up front.

As usual, a few students who aren’t in my class are using the computers. Some have obviously just come into the room and are just logging on.

“A class is about to start now,” I say to a group of students. The students start to pack up.

One student in another corner of the room has headphones on, and I can hear his music blasting from across the room. I walk towards him.

“A class is about to start now,” I say.

He does not hear.

I walk over to him.

“A class is about to start now!” I say, louder.

He does not respond.

I stand very close to him, and this time he looks up.

“A class is about to start now!!” I say, even louder.

“What??” he says.

“Number one, your music is rather loud, and number two, a class is about to start now!”

“When is the class going to start?” he says, looking around for a clock.


But of course, by this time he has finally turned down the volume.

“You didn’t have to come at me so hard!” he grumbles, annoyed and offended, and ready to defend his turf.

From his perspective, I came up to him and yelled at him… but of course the only reason I was speaking loudly was because he couldn’t hear me when I talked normally.

Even though I was annoyed, part of me wanted to laugh, since I couldn’t help thinking of Ernie and Bert doing the “You’ve got a banana in our your ear” sketch.

I’m sure that fellow found another lab in the building, and although I prefer to start class without fighting battles first, life goes on. Maybe I’ll just make a mental note to get to class a little earlier next time, so I have time to clear out the room with less fuss.