The Power of Um

Flower Plaster Casting Lesson Glitched by Mrs. Gilly circa 2022

Um, yes, um. Reflections and introjections are on my mind today. It is Tuesday. It is so wonderfully weird when a lot of really cool things happen at once. I was fortunate to interview an amazing photographer and it will be published in an online magazine. Yay! I interviewed her via Zoom. Then I introduced her work to my students and spotlighted her work. We are a new school, so we are waiting before we invite visitors to our Live Classes. My kiddos loved learning about her work.


So, when I was writing the article I wanted to transcribe it. Boy, things have sure changed since I was in grad school. I would tape record or video tape my daytime teachering. Then I’d transcribe them for one of my night classes on language and learning. At the University of Florida College of Ed, I noticed then that I tend to say, “um” a lot. A lot. My prof called it an uncertainty marker. Hmmmm…

Now with the pandemic, I am learning more and more to embrace uncertainty, and it’s opportunities to grow. Indeed, it is a season to butterfly net catch teachable moments. 

Transcription. With that, I was like, there is probably an app to help me transcribe my recordings of my recent interview and class. Surely, there was! It made things so so much easier. Line by line, I do say, “um” a lot, even still. Seeing this made me more mindful when my students say “um” too. Positively, I have even started to see the power of “um” . To pause. To ponder.