It would be torturous if every student in a 100-person lecture volunteered to speak up every class.
In 20-person recitations, though, it’s torturous when no one wants to volunteer or even look up from their desk, lest they make eye contact with the teaching assistant.
As we approach week three of classes, some people have already come out of their shells, while others still have trouble breaking the ice and introducing themselves. That’s okay. The TA has called attendance at least twice now, so most people know your face already.
It’s understandable if you hesitate entering a conversation because you don’t want to leave the wrong impression. Or, maybe you just didn’t do the readings.
Either way, half of a good discussion involves active listening. Even if you don’t have anything you want to enthusiastically contribute, there’s always validity to listening carefully to someone else’s thoughts and responding critically.