Friends, have you ever fallen asleep during a lecture or presentation? If not asleep, at least yawned, blinked your eyes rapidly or shook your foot secretly to stay awake when the topic being discussed is not interesting?
I am sure we have all faced such a situation. But what if you were on the other side of the table? Have you ever thought how difficult it is to make some boring facts and figures captivating for our audience or a subject interesting for the students? Trust me, until a few years ago, I didn’t realise the efforts it took for the presenter or instructor to impact boring knowledge in an interesting manner. If I had known this earlier, perhaps I wouldn’t have hurt the feelings of my college professor back in 2007. It was a silly incident, but let me take you down my memory lane.
When I was in college, I was a hardworking student, one whose nose was either buried in books or sniffing around for all sorts of non-sports extracurricular activities to brighten up the resume later. Not being boastful here, but apart from a few occasions, I don’t remember ever being scolded by my teachers or professors. I was the topper of English Department that year and a leader of a few college societies and groups. I felt at the top of the world when I was declared a winner of a prestigious award in college and was appreciated by teachers and fellow students alike.
But then, right at the end of my final college year, the glorious bubble burst and I found myself being reprimanded by the most gentle professor of our department. You may wonder why? So did most of my shocked professors who heard about this later… They were surprised that I, a reliably sincere student, got scolded, and that too by Professor T (Let’s call her that).
Well it all began with that silly idea of mine to make a scrapbook and get every teacher to write something for me before I left my college for good. And my scrapbook was filled with lots of encouraging words and appreciation from all my Professors. I was looking forward to getting one from Professor T too, but she was away for a week and I gave the scrapbook to my friends instead to fill it up. And then on the adjoining pages, I wrote something about my friends to revive those feelings years later when I flip through those pages. In one such message, I recalled how my friend and I used to supress our smiles when we caught each other yawning at the same time during Professor T’s lectures. And that was it. My doom! A huge mistake because I forgot about this line when I handed the scrapbook to Professor T later. And of course she must’ve gone through the whole scrapbook and her feelings got hurt.
When she called me to her office, I was feeling excited about receiving a warm farewell hug from her. She was a really sweet lady, but the subject she taught was quite boring. And imagine my shock when she scolded me for not appreciating a teacher’s hard work and writing negative comments about her lectures. I left the staffroom in a hurry and ran across my Principal who ushered me inside her office on seeing my tearful face. After offering me a glass of water, she asked me the reason for ‘such a big girl crying’. Oh how she laughed when she found out the truth! With a chuckle and a sympathetic pat on my shoulder, she sent me away, dismissing the silly drama once and for all.
Looking back, I find it silly too. But at that moment when Prof. T scolded me, it felt like my perfect world shattered because I disappointed my elders and disrespected my guru. Ah the blissful naivety of youth.
I could never face her again, because even as an adult when I visited my college years later, I felt ashamed in her presence for writing those words about her lecture. Now I realize how difficult it is for teachers to teach boring subjects, and easy for students to brush aside their hard work by falling asleep during lectures. A lesson for life!