Noise

For my last post about Overby Sheppard I wanted to talk about what I heard during my time in the school. As I have mentioned before there are no real walls separating the different classrooms. This leads to a very noisy environment for the children to have to learn in. While I was there I could hear most of the other teachers around me. There was one teacher who was male who was closest and loudest to Ms. Ware’s classroom. He seemed to have a different approach to teaching. He yelled a lot. Much more than Ms. Ware. His class might have been more disruptive than Ms. Ware, or it might be because he is a man. I only had one male teacher in elementary school. He was very vocal. I was jealous of the other third grade class. She was a lot more clam, but able to achieve the same level of control in her classroom. The male teacher at Overby Sheppard seemed to be constantly yelling. I do not think that constant yelling is the most productive way to teach a classroom. I do not know if he is white or black; I never saw him. In my mind though he is black. Every other teacher, administrator, and lunch staff was black that I saw. I hope that it is not a bias that I am displaying.

At the end of the langue arts time the children had lunch time. As we walked to the lunch room I was exposed to different sections of the building with different grades. It was a constant bombardment of noise. As quiet as the second level of the library is, where if you sneeze you are summarily shushed, Overby Sheppard is loud. I heard more yelling as I walked by the classrooms. Maybe everyone yells because one started to yell and everybody else had to become louder for their students to hear them.

The loudest part of the building is the lunchroom. When Ms. Wares class went to lunch most of the second grade was already there. All of those children in one smallish room can lead to a deafening noise level. To be heard over the den all the lunch staff yelled. Some could yell so loud that children on the opposite side of the room could hear them. Most of the yelling was to address behavioral issues. Children who were too rambunctious during their lunch time were removed from their table with their classmates and taken to a table where they had to have silent lunch with a lunch staff member sat with them. When the teachers would come back to the lunchroom to collect their students more yelling ensued. The lunch staff is so loud and forceful that as I left the school I could still hear them outside.

During my elementary school days there was not nearly as much yelling as there is at Overby Sheppard. We still had the silent lunch table, but lunch staff could not send us there, only teachers or administrators. Sometimes teachers would yell when they were fed up with us, but there did not yell when they were just teaching.

Overby Sheppard has some fundamental structural issues that need to be addressed if it wishes to attract a more mixed income student body and families for the area. Unfortunately, it is not the worse school structurally. One Richmond school has parts that are condemned. Perhaps if they had a quitter building the teachers would be less annoyed and yell less. It must be a mental drain to work in such a high noise level day after day.

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One thought on “Noise

  1. Your observations regarding the yelling reminds me of Charles Payne’s analysis of bottom-tier schools. What kinds of insights might he offer in terms of how to understand the yelling, both its causes and consequences?

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