“If there are no questions, I want to thank you for your time and your attention today.”
That’s almost a common statement I’ll say at the end of every lecture. Just as common were questions like these:
- Why do you, a lecturer, have to do that?
- Are you just paying lip service? After all, students tend to lose their focus through lectures and yet, you thank them for being attentive when they are not. How does that work out?
- Shouldn’t students thank you instead?
What’s so great? They ought to be in class ain’t them?
Of course it is!
My students probably have to wake up at 5.30 to 6.30 am (that’s really early by Singapore standards, you can think of it as 4.30 to 5.30 am in almost all other time zones, when the sky is still dark during spring) to meet the 8.00 am class.
Some of them have lectures over lunch hour. I couldn’t help but feel hungry too.
I’m not exactly an interesting lecturer either. I’m probably more intimidating than anything. I like to call upon them to answer questions.
They could have easily marked their attendance and leave the class. A few did so, I know.
They could have chatted all the way.
They could have slept all the way.
For lectures nearing lunch, they could have miss it entirely and gone for lunch.
They didn’t of course. Most will have their moments of attentiveness and engagement.
I was a student too. I’m really not that perfect attentive student either. For me, the main reason for that is I tend to read my notes forward by a few slides. By the time my lecturer got there, I sort of got it. At least I think I did.
So instead, I act attentive: I doodle a lot on my lecture notes when I’m not listening to class:
I might be playing MapleStory behind my laptop in the back row.
I’m also really one of the pioneers in using cameras to take lecture notes and these were the days where camera phones are still considered a controversial invention. So while my friends are busy copying notes, I have extra time on my hands to do… well… nothing.
So… ya. If a lecturer has no students attending his class or listening to his class, would he still be a lecturer? I’m pretty much am a lecturer because my students thinks that I’m worth listening to.
Don’t you think I should thank them for that bit of affirmation?