My Students Took Notes, and It Gave Me Feelings

I’ve known for some time now that I’m a relentless fountain of unparalleled genius. However, it is interesting to see that knowledge validated by 24 people paying thousands of dollars to sit in a room that I happen to be speaking in. Teaching is doing a lot for my ego, but something happened today that hasn’t happened before: my kids took notes while I was talking.

A complete departure from the norm in my class

At first glance, that doesn’t sound like a particularly extraordinary statement for someone in my position to make. It might even seem natural for a student to write down important ideas from class, and that sort of thing has actually happened a lot in my class. The difference this time is that there was nothing on the board, nothing on a powerpoint, nothing going on in the room except me talking, and students wrote it down. When I noticed some of them writing as I was talking, I had to stop and say “are you writing this down?” and I think the rest of the class took that as a warning that they’d need to document my every word because then the rest of the class started writing too.

My teacher told me this is how we are supposed to raise our hands in college

I’ve encountered a lot of unexpected situations in teaching that have left me with the overwhelming sense that I’m somehow both the bee’s knees and a wet bag of shredded garbage, but nothing has given the sense of authority and validity as a bunch of kids rapidly scribbling my every word. Maybe it’s a testament to my many faults that, the second I realized what they were doing, I wanted to give them terrible advice because I knew they’d write it down as if their future loan payments depended on it.

It’s hard to go about my normal day as if a bunch of people hadn’t just scribed my words as if they were coming down from divinity. How can I buy groceries with all this self-importance weighing me down? How can I speak to the cashier when I know they won’t write my words down, which is what I now know I deserve? The only way I’ll be able to get food is at restaurants because I know the servers take notes, and that’s the treatment I’ve become used to. I’ll have to give my friends notepads and pens whenever we have conversations. How else can I be sure they won’t miss any important details? What if they need to cite me in the future? I’ve been burdened with the responsibility of having words that must be recorded for posterity.

“I said plastic bags, which you would know if you had written it down like you were supposed to. Did you even bring a notebook?”

Other than the overwhelming sense of grandeur I’ve been afflicted with, seeing people take notes while I was just talking was, more than anything, weird. I’ve been a student for most of my life so I’ve been the one taking the notes, trying to decipher what was worth remembering and what was just another contribution to the overabundance of cognitive dross that made up a whole lot of school before–and often during–college. But now people are writing down what I say, and that means they either think they have to do it, they think they’ll get into trouble if they don’t, or they think it’s actually worth the trouble, and it’s a strange feeling. I have no intention of ever revealing anything I wrote online to my students, but if by chance any of them ever stumbled upon it on accident, and if through an even further aberration of the universal laws of probability, one of them read this, then I’d tell them that it made me feel cool and not to be surprised that if I see them doing it again I’ll give them a really weird look because my surprised face looks like someone has teleported many old jelly beans into my mouth and asked me to do complex math, much eyebrow furrowing, and weird mouth shapes.

11 Replies to “My Students Took Notes, and It Gave Me Feelings”

  1. That was fantastic! Not your awkwardness, or your sense of being royalty with subjects, rather your post in its entirety. I chuckled and smiled. Wait, are you going to grade this comment? How come no one else has commented? I feel like the only kid raising her hand and on top of that, I’m in the front row. Please don’t grade this. I’ve got Grammarly sneering at me in the corner of this comment box and I’m tired and too lazy to make grammar a priority. Am I saying too much? I saw you over on Fandango’s site. Nice to meet you. I will follow you. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I tend not to take one extra grading online, but I could make an exception…

      Ugh, grammarly is so cruel to me too. Even now, it’s telling me to capitalize grammarly, but that requires extra clicking which is effort I’m just not willing to give. Glad you like my stuff!

      Like

  2. I know whenever I take notes in class, it’s a class that I really like or I heard great things about the professor. Like, they explain everything in great detail and the professor gives great info. And more than likely, you probably hold the “juice” for a lot people who are just interested in taking your class lol. Seems like the semester is going great for you so far

    Like

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