You’re sitting in class, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in hand, mumbling something about not wanting to be here. Well, here’s a little fortune cookie truth for you: nobody wants to be here. Nobody wants a root canal, but sometimes your gums and teeth need it. It’s ultimately for your own good. As such, sometimes your educational mind needs a deep-gum cleaning, courtesy of a Saturday grad class.
But you’re really not ready to learn about special-educational needs. Most people aren’t on a Saturday morning. We get you. Therefore, here are some nice tricks to pass the time, ULOT certified:
1) The military game: Everyone knows classroom participation is important, but what everyone doesn’t know is that classroom participation can be fun, too! Try this game: incorporate military terminology into your discussion, even if it’s not military-related. Words like general, colonel, major, private, corporal, and captain can be speckled into your dialogue, unknowing to the audience but to the personal enjoyment of the speaker. Remember, homonyms are not only acceptable, but encouraged.
Find a partner and compete for points. You get one point per word used. Take this, for example:
“I think that in general, it’s of major importance that we keep matters like corporal punishment out of the private realm, for even a colonel of information could bring significant changes to this school. Lieutenant.”
6 points. Not bad.
2) The awkward eye-contact game: Social psychologists and Cosmo both say that eye-contact is everything. That’s true, but that’s usually within the realm of a social setting like a bar, date, or meeting. But you’re in class, and you’re supposed to be fixated on the teacher and their wisdom. But last I checked, you don’t listen with your eyes; they’re free of obligation as far as we’re concerned. So put them to work. Pick out a victim target in the crowd and fixate your gaze. Stare at them, even if they’re not making eye-contact with you. Sooner or later, they’ll scan the room and notice your eyes, locked directly upon them. At this point, the target will do one of two things: (1) look away, because they’re unsure as to why the strange person in the back of the room is looking directly at them, or (2) look right back at you, which is a good sign because it means that they’re either playing the awkward eye-contact game as well, or they realize that eye-contact is only awkward if you make it awkward.
3) The Southpaw Gauche Game: 90-93% of people are right-handed, which means 7-10% of people throughout the world are defunct. They just don’t get it. Maybe something in their brain isn’t wired correctly or maybe they’re trying to exert their uniqueness beyond their Urban Outfitters graphic t-shirt. Whatever the case, we’re educators, and we must try and place ourselves in the shoes of others, even those with severe problems like left-handedness.
Now because the ULOT is a politically correct entity, per our legal department, left-handers cannot be singled out from this game. So let’s refer to the opposite handedness as “gauche”, which is the French term for awkward (and left-handedness) and not douche with a g. So if you’re left-handed, use your right hand for this exercise. For this, all you’ll need is a notebook and a pen, pencil, or crayon. For the next 10 minutes, write only with your opposite hand. Write your name, the notes on the board, or a treatise on the kind of sandwich you want to eat for lunch. It doesn’t matter what you write about, what matters is the frustration and difficulty you’ll inevitably realize while using your not-so-smart hand. And once you reread your writing and realize that it looks like a person with Parkinson’s disease wrote it, you’ll realize a very important lesson: hand-eye coordination is something we should never take for granted. Especially on a Saturday morning where the only thing you’ve got going for you is a now tepid cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Whether that cup is half-full or half-empty is up to you.