Yesterday, my pastor posted on a blog about the challenge of being a listener. As a teacher, I’m so concerned about the pace of my instruction I confess I sometimes cut students off to move on. But what am I teaching them? During math yesterday, my students had the opportunity to teach about their thinking and share in a conversation with me sitting on the floor coaching in one student’s ear. The powerful physical act of sitting among the kids, handing over the wipe off marker and letting a child take the floor created a great opportunity to practice listening. The first graders were respectful, complimentary, reflective. They even watched patiently as a student made a mistake, looked over at me, then raised their hands to politely correct her. Usually math in the afternoon can be a painful time of the day when students start asking “How many more minutes until we go home?” Maybe my modeling of patience and listening in a position of learning helped them refocus on the learning and less about the rushing to get it done.