Instructables series: Classroom Conduct

How to Slack Politely

We are all far too familiar with the dreaded but inevitable mid-lecture emotional breakdown of our less tolerable professors. Classroom discipline is a task when the professor is incompetent or the lecture useless. However, in the greater interests of humanity, and as an act of kindness, it is important to zone out or discuss vacation plans or even doodle - with tact and stealth.

To begin with, let me remind you of talking-relevant cheats in the mindless videogame that is, say, a Psych lecture. Firstly, never look at the person you're talking to. Conduct your conversation with your eyes on the professor or slides and your hands Dumbledore-style inconspicuously hovering near your face. Do not gesticulate or move your head too much. Also, if it weren't obvious, hush. This way, you will appear thoughtful and contemplative as opposed to rude and a painful reminder of the vanity of the professor's efforts. Naturally, this applies only in cases where you absolutely must speak and passing comments in the margins of your notes closest to your neighbor will not suffice. Which brings me to: note-passing.

Please bear in mind that cross-continental note-passing will never be worth any of the attention, suspicion and trouble it attracts. Limit yourself to your own column or continent. Also, follow a format: write your message on one side of the piece of paper, fold it and clearly write your name and the name of the addressed on the other. As much as possible, make these messages one-sided, such that they do not elicit a response.

With reference to reading a non-textbook book, mask your actions by hiding in plain sight. Place your book on the table. Keep your textbook and notebook open, under and beside the illicit text, respectively. If you notice the teacher about to walk by, imperceptibly switch textbook and storybook. Read the textbook until he/she is gone, the switch again, silently.

If you doodle as a habit, it would be a matter of convenience to maintain a small notebook; keep it on the table and doodle away. Similarly, writing requires negligible caution - it will be inconspicuous insofar you don't have your head bent over your notebook when the professor isn't even speaking, or worse, glaring at you with pain and righteous anger.

Happy slacking!

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