I was at a local cafe today to work on grading a few papers, writing the narrative reports for my students, and determining their final grades, all of which is due before 8am Monday morning. The idea was that there would be few distractions in the cafe as opposed to working at home where I might be pulled by a variety of tasks and opportunities for entertainment.
Though I actually was able to accomplish a lot, I have to admit that I was also secretly drawn into a number of conversations that surrounded me—the man who never took his coat off whose 9 year old daughter kept asking him what he wanted to talk about and then who kept getting up to check on the sandwich he had ordered, the two medical students studying anatomy from a fat textbook while exploring each other’s anatomy, the older gentleman in sweat pants who was enraptured by the younger woman (with very large hair) sitting across from him who kept telling him how happy she was he had invited her out to the cafe.
With my pile of papers and computer at ready, I felt more like an eavesdropping hub, sorting through the noise of relationship and, oh yes, learning. As I sat in judgment of my students’ work, I found myself sucked into the machinations around me. Maybe it was my passive way of not being able to really give my students my all. Or maybe it was the focus on my students’ hearts and minds which sensitized me to the hearts and minds of those around me. Needless to say, the afternoon flew by with plenty of narrative for all.