This discussion is relevant for any undergraduate, graduate, or executive student, for any poor soul that sits through class after class, meeting after meeting, conference after conference.
I was the victim of 4 crimes as a student:
- Sitting through a class where I was so bored that I wanted to poke my eye out with a pencil.
- Feeling that I might as well have been a stuffed dummy because the professor prattled on, not even trying to engage anyone but his/her own mind.
- Knowing that the only thing I got out of a class was fulfilling a “requirement”.
- The most heinous crime, building off of the “required” one, was the notion that my suffering was meaningless, that there was no use- either existential or practical- to whatever it was that I was fighting to keep both eyes in their sockets and open for.
These experiences are the foundation for Rule #1:
If you don’t want to come to class don’t. There are many of you and one of me. That’s hard enough work. If you do choose to attend, SHOW UP.
This doesn’t mean sitting in a chair and playing with your phone (that is addressed later in Rule #5), or surfing with your computer. That doesn’t count as being PRESENT. Do your work ahead of time, drink caffeine if you must to stay awake, and be ready to partake in whatever I am serving that day.
My job is to be engaging, relevant, insightful, and entertaining. If people are yawning and clock-watching I am not doing my job. Because I do not take attendance, I have to earn people’s presence every time I step in front of a room. I have to SHOW UP too.