In Response To: Needing a Band-Aid

Daylight Saving Time is great during the second half of the day, when the sun shines down during the early evening hours, giving you time to extend your outdoor activities. Less enjoyable, however, is getting up and going to work in the dark.

On an average day, I arrive at work sometime around 6:30 in the morning. Quiet and still, the parking lot is pretty empty, but a few of us diehard teachers are there long before our students. Knocks on the door at this early hour surprise me.

Thursday morning, one such disturbance startled me. Opening the door, three of my students are standing outside, looking expectantly, awaiting an invite. Waving them in, I return to unpacking my computer, plugging in its cords, and getting my technology tested for the day.

Cutting to the chase, “Mr. Ferro, can I have a Band-Aid?” It’s before seven in the morning, and already they want something.

A pretty innocuous question, I give you that. No one is denied such a request in my classroom, such things are in hand’s reach because when you need one, you should have one (like a pencil).

Responding, I’m not quick to hand over the requested item. Not yet.

“Good morning Mr. Ferro. How are you? Oh I’m fine, so kind of you to ask. How was you’re afternoon? It was splendid! I graded papers, caught up on my blog and some reading. And yours? It was good? How lovely. How’s the family? Oh, they’re great, too.” 

The barrage of questions seems out of place, but they are not.

“Umm,” the confusion trails on, ellipses, like lemmings, one jumping over the other. Each one looks to the other, unsure of which question to ask first, especially since I have provided a ready-made reply. 

Generally, I find it impolite for people to ask me for something without first greeting me or asking me how I am doing. Ego aside, it isn’t about me, but rather common decency. It’s the same with emails.

Should an email begin with a “can you” or “would you” or “please,” instantly, I am leery. Even when I am in a hurry or find myself with a shortage of time, my emails begin with some sort of salutation beyond the implied “I’m messaging you because I need something.” Humans should be treated as such, and seeing one another as just a means to a predetermined end diminishes our identity. I am more than a purveyor of Band-Aids, damn it.

Consider that the next time you knock on a door before it’s light out, or send an email. What message do you really want to send the recipient?

7 thoughts on “In Response To: Needing a Band-Aid

  1. I taught in Colombia for three years and was schooled in this in our orientation classes the week we arrived. It is very American to get right to the point. Colombians are notorious for the number of ways they have to ask “How are you?”. And they really want an answer. When I left, I brought this with me and always try to use it when talking wth people and in anything I write.

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  2. I love this line- “Umm,” the confusion trails on, ellipses, like lemmings, one jumping over the other.

    I am guilty of writing quick, to the point emails. I try and catch myself, so I can go back and add a greeting. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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  3. I often carry on both sides of conversations with students. When I ask them a question, and they do not answer, I use an alternate voice and answer for them. It is my way of modeling…

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