The Ally Way: How to avoid getting called on in class

Alex Erdekian


You’re in your first block class on a rough Monday morning, and you have no idea what’s going on. You’re starting to hyperventilate because you didn’t do the reading you were supposed to do over the weekend, and your teacher is in the “I’m going to put my students on the spot” kind of mood. There are 45 minutes left of torture. How will you survive? These easy tips may just help you avoid getting called on.

1. If you can’t see the teacher, they can’t see you
With a little crafty shifting in your seat so you’re positioned directly behind someone else at all times, you will avoid making eye contact with the teacher. If they can’t see you, hopefully they will forget you are there.

2. Drop your pencil
Oops! The teacher asks a really difficult question… so difficult that you happen to drop your pencil. It also just so happens that your pencil conveniently rolls under your desk — a perfect hiding spot from your teacher.

3. Avert your eyes
Teacher’s looking your way? Well, look out the window or concentrate intently on anything but your teacher’s eyes.

4. Your ____ hurts
Ouch! Your neck has a random spasm just when the teacher looks your way. Make a wincing face and focus on your neck that is in pain.

5. Be REALLY focused on your notes
Acting super-focused on taking notes will make it seem like you’re paying close attention (when really you’re browsing the Internet or doodling). Therefore, the teacher may not feel the need to call on you.

6. Eat
If you’re chewing, you will have extra time to think if you do get called on. If you’re lucky though, the teacher won’t even call on you if your mouth is full.

7. Leave
Simply “go to the bathroom,” or anywhere but class! *WARNING: Only do this in desperate situations because you’ll seem suspicious if…
a. You do it all the time or
b. You are gone for all of class.

8. Search your backpack for something important
Whether it’s a cough drop, Chapstick, hand-sanitizer, gum, etc., it’s really pressing that you find it NOW and take a good, long time to do so. If you make it seem like you’re searching for something important, your teacher will probably think that you are doing something important, too.

9. “Pick me! Pick me!”
If you act extra eager to answer a question (i.e. waving your hand, standing up, jumping), your teacher will most likely pick someone acting more natural.

10. Pay attention
Hey, maybe if you’re actually paying attention, you’ll learn something and feel comfortable getting called on!

Best of luck!