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A teacher's silence


November 2019


"What is silence for you?"

High school teacher Lore sits quietly for a while and raises her finger to the ceiling: "This" she says decisively. We're alone in her living room, with no background noise at all. Silence rolls out of the near kitchen as well. Even if the train tracks are nearby, they aren't disturbing. There are flamingos in the backyard but you can't hear them unless you step outside.

Classroom silence

"Creating silence in the classroom isn't easy. The best way of doing so is by becoming silent myself. That's my golden trick. Remain silent and watch as the noise fades away. It's effective but the new silence never lasts long."


Although constant noise in the classroom can be disturbing, the Dutch/German teacher does not want absolute silence either, as it might imply her students are bored. She prefers healthy interactions. Silence means you've lost your students. She adds to this "I teach languages, and languages should be interactive."

Above all, she prefers a good balance of talking and silence in her classroom.


Dogs for silence

Lore's favourite 'place' for silence is anywhere she walks. Walking is her piece of quiet.

"I have thought about getting a dog to get out of the house for 15 minutes daily. I'm not a big dog fan actually, so that would be the only reason." She looks out of the window into the street: "Imagine I'd go for a daily walk around the block, without a dog, my neighbours would think what is this crazy person doing here every day? And people with a dog are considered perfectly normal. That's absurd, isn't it? Just like going to the cinema or restaurant on your own, that's hardly accepted either. It should be perfectly normal to be alone."


listen to Lore's silence

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