In educational consulting, we highly encourage school leaders to not just tell teachers what they need to do differently but to ask them questions to help them further their reflective practice. Sometimes, I feel compelled to clarify that we wouldn't encourage a question if they are seeing something unsafe in the classroom. For example, if two students are hanging from the ceiling lights, it might not be wise to ask: "How do you feel your students behaved during the lesson?"
I have recently encountered two other big times not to ask questions.
Going to the dentist is not my all-time favorite activity as I accidentally bit down on the drill while having a tooth filled when I was nine. But I admit my newly discovered Tucson dentist has me convinced they have my best interests at heart. I love my dental hygienist. She seems so interested in my dental care and compliments me on my flossing behaviors.
But.....as she was cleaning my teeth a few weeks ago, she had the pick (otherwise known as the devil's tool), the water and the suction in my mouth at the same time. And that was the moment she chose to ask me, "How did you bite down on the drill, again?" Hmmmm....what to do? what to do? Do I start pulling out the 45 instruments that are currently filling up my mouth? This is not a yes/no question, either. Luckily, she realized the error of her ways sooner than later, laughed, and said, "I'll ask you in a bit. Just relax." (which is a funny instruction for me, anyway)
Today might win the prize, though. I was spending the morning at my lady doctor, having my well-woman exam. To keep it G rated, suffice it to say I had to have my upper and lower well-woman issues examined. Being required to strip down to a paper dress (which, by the way, is a laughable style statement) might be difficult enough but in mid-examination, my dear doctor chose that moment of exploration to ask me to tell her more about my travel, specifically, "Tell me about your travels." Really? I'm not certain I can concentrate on anything else besides the poking and prodding I am hoping will be finished soon. Much less am I able to do a Trip Advisor update in the midst of all this.
So, I believe in paying it forward. So, as Dave sat down after a long day at work to relax and read the newspaper, I leaned over and asked, "What are your top five reasons for loving me?" :)
Just for today, perhaps we can think before we ask questions that might otherwise wait for a better time.