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Teen Called ‘Petty’ For Refusing To Talk In Class After Teacher Called Him Out For Answering Questions Too Often

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It’s an amazing feeling when we know a lot about a subject and we have the opportunity to share that with other people.

But in a classroom setting, there are times when those around us might not appreciate our knowledge so much.

Ironically, that might even include the teacher, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor sotusku was in a tough position when he was first picked on for answering questions in class, then being pressured for not speaking enough.

After these mixed messages, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do next.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for refusing to speak in class?”

The OP was surprised at his teacher’s recent reaction.

“I (17 [Male]) always answer in class every time the teacher asks the class a question, and I make sure to give a thorough answer.”

“My teacher has lately started to seem annoyed at me for answering her questions and speaking up.”

“Then, in class, I raised my hand when she asked a question, and it seemed like she called on me, so I started answering.”

“She cut me off very sharply and nastily said, ‘We’re going to let someone else have a chance at answering this time.'”

The OP took the teacher seriously.

“She was so rude, and I was too p**sed to focus after that and spent the rest of class just silently seething about it.”

“Every class after that for the past days, whenever she asks her little questions and no one raises their hands, I just stare at her and smile and say nothing.”

“She asked a question today and no one raised their hand at all, and I just stared at her and didn’t raise my hand.”

“She then said to me, ‘OP, do you know the answer?'”

“And I just smiled at her and said, ‘Sorry, I don’t. I guess I’ll just have to give someone else a chance at answering this time.’ And then I just smiled at her.”

“She looked annoyed that I didn’t come to the rescue like always. It was pretty satisfying.”

“No one raised their hand and she ended up just saying the answer.”

Others in the class didn’t understand what the OP was doing.

“My friend couldn’t figure why I wouldn’t just say the answer.”

“I said to him, ‘She wanted me to be quiet and then got mad that I was. Play b***h games, win b***h prizes.'”

“He said I’m petty.”

“AITA for doing what she wanted?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said they were like the OP and had to learn their place in the classroom.

“I WAS this kid in high school. I had a similar moment where a teacher said, ‘Why don’t you let someone else answer for a change!?'”

“I was super ashamed and embarrassed at the moment, but I knocked off that behavior by the time I got to university.”Psyker_girl

“Another one of those kids checking in, and I definitely had to be knocked off of my pedestal a bit to understand the student’s place in the classroom (specifically in middle/high school).”

“Even though, as someone who clearly has some intellectual promise, it can be difficult to hold your tongue, it actually demonstrates a degree of self-control and care for others that is much more impressive for someone in your position at this point in time.”

“At least give it until university, where you are bound to have at least a few professors willing to debate and/or have a more open discussion of the material (without you coming across as annoying or overbearing).”

“These cases, at least in a smaller classroom, will give you the opportunity to have discourse a-plenty (trust me)!”Sally-Edwards

“I’m also one of those annoying kids who thought I was smarter than the teacher and won’t hesitate to rub it in, always correcting the teacher when they made any mistakes.”

“I used to wonder why teachers hated me. It’s only when I’m older that I realized I was such an arrogant jerk and I feel so embarrassed whenever I reflect on how I acted.”thesuperficial88

“Ugh, we had a student AT university like that in one of my advanced psych lectures.”

“Always sat front row center and during the last ten minutes of the session which were about discussion and questions you could always count on this guy’s hand flying into the air and the inevitable audible wave of irritation rippling through the lecture hall.”

“OP is lucky to be learning this lesson in high school, you don’t want to be THAT PERSON in university.”BurgerThyme

Others said the OP needed to change his outlook.

“OP you’re YTA. Like others here I was the same as you/them. For me, it was math class (algebra). I didn’t really have to work.”

“When given a problem my mind would do its flips (correctly) and I knew the answer. But as you can imagine not everyone in the class was good at math.”

“Every question my teacher asked, I’d lazily glance around the room (teacher as well) then lazily raise my hand. After no one else responded he’d call on me. Or pick someone.”

“Teachers asking questions aren’t looking for the correct answer. They don’t have a crossword puzzle they need help on. They’re checking their students to see if they comprehend the subject.”

“It’s OK to raise your hand every time, but don’t be mad at the teacher if they pass you over.”

“You’ve got a chip on your shoulder. You decided to throw that chip at the teacher instead of fixing yourself.”Coolholio77

“I was also one of those kids. I figured out quickly when the teacher didn’t pick me to answer questions every time, even if my hand was the only one raised, that I needed to give others a chance to answer.”

“I began not raising my hand every time, or raising it later than when I knew the answer and no one else did.”

“This helped balance the class and made me seem less like a know-it-all.”

“So yes YTA. The teacher didn’t need to snap at you, but you’re also 17, dude. You should have learned this by now.”pupperMcWoofen

“It’s called a check for understanding. Teachers do it to see if the material has been absorbed and understood by the class.”

“If one student answers all the questions, the teacher can’t determine whether the class understands… and the other students often don’t make an attempt because they’ll be ‘rescued’ by that one classmate.”

“FYI, I used to use ‘equity sticks’ with the students’ names on them to call on the students randomly. It helped everyone be prepared (students could pass if they didn’t feel like answering or didn’t know – but you’d be surprised at how rarely that happened – kids like sharing their thoughts and ideas when it’s a safe space).”

“What you’re doing is taking away that safe space… both by answering every question and acting like you know more than everyone else, as well as basically shutting down conversation and refusing to answer when called upon.”

“OP, YTA. I mean, as much as a 17-year-old can be one, which frankly is a lot, but also a chance to grow.”

“I was a smart kid, but unlike the others, I was shy and if someone dominated the conversation, I just shut down.”

“Show compassion to your classmates, and also, listen as well, they may have valuable thoughts and insights that improve your understanding.”MsMichelleyk

The OP was confident he had done the right thing by doing exactly what his teacher asked, while also teaching her a lesson of her own.

But the subReddit didn’t agree.

Not only did the OP have a habit of taking over conversations, but he could even ruin the social dynamic of his classroom, simply by trying to prove a point.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.