While trying to get the attention of my predominantly devout, fasting Saudi Arabian students today, I got a little pedagogically extreme. Typically when it is time to lecture, I give a bellow out in my amber alto that all eyes should be on me. A reasonable request since I hand over most of the class time to peer work and collaborative cognitive experiences. Today, however, my people (as I so fondly refer to them) seemed giddy with hunger and fatigue, and it took a little longer to wrestle the attentional focus of 25 pairs of distracted eyes.
“Eyes on me… eyes on me,” I said.
A little louder:
“Eyes on me! Guys, hey, eyes on me…”
Better, but still not 100%.
I stood dead in the center of the room, cocked my hips to one side, and firmly planted my hands on that asymmetrical, yet authoritative frozen swag.
“You guys do know I AM the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE ROOM, right?”
… Got ’em.
After the chuckling subsided, I scanned the room assuring my position of authority was reestablished, and proceeded to explain the difference between numeric and non-numeric quantifiers that supply referents for phrases with no previous explicitly mentioned referent.
While my attention-getter was mostly a humorous tactic to redirect my students’ focus, I was also keenly aware of the fact that I did, in fact, believe that I was the most important person in the room. This in and of itself was not troubling. What was troubling was the realization that I wrap this unabashed hubris around me like a metaphorical, ridiculously obvious scarlet cloak in almost every area of my life. At least, I suspect I do.
This is not to say that I am narcissistic. I don’t, in fact, like spending the energy to have all eyes on me 80% of the time. (I can do 20%, but not much more than that.) But I do, however, expect to have the respect afforded a person who thinks they’re pretty darned smart and the coolest cat around.
So what I’m getting at is this: if you think you’ll keep my attention with anything less than your best behavior, you can KISS IT. As Katy so eloquently says: takes more than a wink, more than a drink, more than you think. There’s no discount price for this girl. Not now, not ever.