When all of the oxygen gets sucked from a room. A question barely emerges from a student’s mouth before the teacher opens hers, snatches the dangled query, closes, chews, swallows, belches–but no, that analogy doesn’t quite work. Because there is no pause to chew or belch. The question dangles is snatched then is absorbed into the already ongoing talking. No room to breath. A student must be bold indeed to slip into the gap of a proffered moment: “Do you have any questions?” Be ready! If you’re not, the door slams shut and you’ll wait a long time before another opportunity presents itself.
“Word edgewise” = get a word in edgewise, to succeed in entering a conversation or expressing one’s opinion in spite of competition or opposition: There were so many people talking at once that I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
What causes a teacher to talk so much that students cannot get in a word edgewise? Nervousness? Fear of running out of time? So much to say that students absolutely must hear? It bothers me more when women do it. Because it sounds desperate, like someone will take away their microphone if they pause too long. Or that if others speak, their voices will be drowned out. Perhaps because they’ve been on the other side too often–they’ve been interrupted, their voices have been silenced, they now fear interruption and silence.