I just wrapped up my morning lecture early. The students had their first project hand-in of the semester and destroyed themselves last night to get the work done on time. I had a big talk with them just before Christmas about time management, organization and avoiding all-nighters at all costs so they could stay healthy and aware. As far as I could tell, they understood and entered this new term intent on staying on top of the workload.

Apparently those intentions lasted all of two weeks. Ten minutes after my lecture wrapped up I counted eight of them passed out at their desks while the rest shambled around the work area like corpses.

Classes get a group dynamic. The strongest personalities in the class seem to dictate the “class mentality” and students on the sidelines join the hive mind. This morning group is all about extremes – massive enthusiasm or complete burn-out.

Lecturing to a class of zombies is like doing stand-up comedy for an empty room. It sucks the energy out of me. If a group is neutral I can bring them up a few notches and get them jazzed but if they’re way below zero it’s almost impossible to warm things up. The whole lecture becomes adequate but lifeless and the same with the drawing demo. I know they’ll need me to cover most of the material later on one-on-one because they didn’t retain any of it.

I was a hooligan back at Sheridan. I definitely pulled some all-nighters. Being on the other side gives me a completely different perspective on it. Some of these life lessons are going to take time to percolate down into their heads, if ever.

Crap. I sound like an adult.

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