Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wandering Minds

 Lately, I've noticed my mind wandering.

This doesn't mean my mind is wandering more than usual.  It just means I've actually paid attention to my wandering mind. 

For example, the other day, my friend was describing his job. 

"Basically," he said, "I have to put together a year-end statement for the FC . . . " 

A puppet to my thoughts

To be honest, he lost me at year-end statement.  My mind wandered to other things, like what I was going to cook for dinner that night, and whether or not I would use sherry and salt in the green beans.  As he continued, I decided my socks were particularly comfortable at that very moment and that my feet were unusually cute-looking when wearing them.  When I re-focused on what he was saying, I found that nodding and looking appropriately-concerned was sufficient to make it look like I'd payed attention, and that he no longer felt the need to discuss his (super boring) job.  I can say this because I know for a fact he doesn't read this blog.  And because he has a super important job.  And because what I do doesn't interest him either.

Last night, my mom and I went to see a performance by the Cedar Lake Dance Company, which is particularly known for its fusion between ballet and contemporary dance.  While I enjoyed the majority of the performance, I again found my mind wandering during the slower points. 

For some reason, I had a problem with the costumes.  As a result, I focused on what the dancers were wearing rather than their performance.  One of the male performers appeared to be wearing shorts that were very similar to the skirt of his female counterpart.  I imagined more appropriate costumes, alternating colors and styles between the different performers  I'm sure there were more important things to focus upon, but I just couldn't help myself. 

In many ways, this reminds me of my students.  If I had this much trouble paying attention to something I had voluntarily attended, imagine how much trouble they must have attending classes they don't care about.  The answer there is NONE.  They have ZERO attention towards my class.  My guess is that even if I put on my husband's boxer's and pranced about in a tutu I would have very little impression on their lives. 

If my friend had used terminology with which I was familiar, I might have been more attentive.  I've I'd understood the logic behind the costumes, perhaps I'd focused more on the dancing.  But either way, something was preventing me from providing my full attention.  I could have done my best to re-focus, but it was harder than I imagined. 

Teachers, I hope you've learned as much as I have from this post.

Beth  0
Beth's attention span - 0
Average attention span of the teenage student - 0 


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