"What is wrong?" someone will say.
"Perhaps she was bored," says someone else. "Is your lesson engaging?"
We all stare at the algebra teacher. Not accusingly, mind you. We want to help him.
"Have you tried fruit manipulatives?" asks the science teacher. "They're good for asexual reproduction. We could share!"
"Maybe Lisa (not her real name) was unhappy that day," someone suggests.
"That cannot be! How can that be?" we all simultaneously shriek.
"Let's find out," says someone else. "Pull her in."
Someone goes to get poor Lisa, who's excited to be getting out of class, when really, she should be afraid. We don't humiliate her, of course. We are teachers. We care. But, still, Lisa has to sit and have 15 pairs of eyes on her, and hear one of us (never me, never ever me) ask, "Lisa, is everything ok?"
Then we go on to ask her why she didn't do -- "did not even attempt to do" -- number 21. Lisa, by this point, is fucking terrified, even though we're all oozing sympathy. She is thinking to herself, "OMG, why did I watch that idiotic kitten/Justin Bieber/One Direction/Hunger Games/lacrosse video? Why, oh, why didn't I do number 21? Get me out of here!!"
But all she says is, "well, maybe I was distracted that night."
Soon we're all (not me, never ever me) psychoanalyzing her "choice" to not do number 21, and she is offering to do calculus derivatives (whatever that is) all night to make it up. Eventually, we let her go back to class and then discuss every single member of her extended family for the past six generations, about whom we all know everything.
Lisa lets it be known that "all the teachers at this school are fucking nuts!" So, basically our students do everything we ask them to do for homework, very well, and usually twice.
I don't love this practice. But, I have my own torture methods. I make them talk! To each other! About shit I made them read! Sometimes, I make them do activities. And then they have to pretend to be into it. Seriously, if they don't, I get mad. I'm all like, "fake it til you make it, people. I wanna see you fascinated. Pretend all you have ever wanted is to act like a sled dog from Call of the Wild."
I have this whacked-out theory that if they act into it, they'll get into it. They get pretty silly. They laugh a lot, but while they're giggling, they claim to be miserable. They say that they hate talking to their peers; they hate activities of all sorts and would rather write a paper. They hate, more than anything, telling the rest of the class what they discovered/wondered in this cruelly enforced conversation/activity. Speaking to the class makes them want to punch themselves in the head repeatedly. I know this because I used to be one of them. And I abhorred teachers like me. I just wanted to be left alone.
So, why do I do it? I'm not a masochist. I dunno. Instinct? Because it feels like it works? Those things.
They all hate me. But they pretend to like me, most of the time. Fake it til you make it, people, or endure teacher tribal council.