Doc Seidman Says…..

…..We see you. You don’t think so, but we certainly do. While we are standing in the front of the classroom doing our thing, how can we not help but look at you? Some of you may be taking notes or watching us, but others of you may be texting, yawning, looking at your nails, or chatting with your friends. Whether you are paying attention or not, we know exactly what you’re up to.

Usually, we just accept whatever you are doing and try and keep the class moving.   We don’t always say something. Few of us will stop the class and call you out by insisting you put your phone down. We really don’t want to embarrass you or make you uncomfortable, but you must know that what you are doing irks us. And if you are in the group that is paying attention, participating in the discussion, or asking questions, we really see you. We love you.

Despite what you may think, we don’t live in a fantasy land. We secretly empathize with you “drifters” on occasion. Sometimes we are boring (only sometimes?). Sometimes the subject matter is just dull. Sometimes we even think that if we were sitting in our own class, we might even be nodding off or checking our Facebook updates. But whether it is you or us looking at our shoes, that doesn’t mean it’s right. It means that we are demonstrating disrespect to whoever is speaking. And that is just plain rude.

Few of us really want to be rude, at least not intentionally. College is about many things. The lifelong learning you experience while there transcends the subject material you learn in the classroom. Many colleges strive to prepare students to become better global citizens. Disrespect is clearly not part of that outcome.

So, here is what you need to do—pay attention. Make it a personal goal to become a better listener and a more attentive student. It will serve you well, not just in college, but in life. Read books and blogs on the subject, visit websites or watch short YouTube videos. Whatever it takes to get you to sharpen your attention span.

And if the subject is just too boring to pay attention, even with your newly- sharpened skills, pretend that you are paying attention. You don’t need blogs and videos for that. It’s easy. Look at the speaker, smile and nod. Occasionally you can change your expression to show surprise, understanding, or even curiosity.

Paying attention, or even pretending you are paying attention, can be a big part of your success in college. Practice whenever you can, with your family, your roommate, or even your obstinate sibling. After all, if you can at least appear to be paying attention when your family is talking to you, you can certainly do the same for your teachers.

One other thing, students who pay attention get better grades. The most likely have better success throughout their careers too. It’s not just your teachers who notice.


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