Dear Student,

As the holiday season approaches, at least in the grocery stores, I thought you should know that you might be getting coal in your report card stocking this year.  The reason?  I, your professor, am Santa Claus.

Here’s the thing: I just thought you should know that we professors are not as oblivious as you think we are.  We can tell when you’re not doing what you are supposed to be doing.  Sometimes you are overt, sometimes covert, but it doesn’t matter because we see all.  You aren’t as sly as you think you are, and we’re not as stupid as you think we are.

I know this upsets you.  But…you better not pout!  You better not cry!   I know that you know this already, but there are numerous ways you pout in class.  Passive aggressively staring at the clock, yawning openly without covering your mouth, staring at your computer screen and smiling when I have not said anything funny, and asking “why so much reading?” are great ways to show me you are not ready to be a lawyer.  You won’t do that to your boss.  You won’t dare.  Why do you think it is polite to do it to me?  Because you think I am your father?  Do you think Darth Vader would have put up with that from Luke and Leia?  No.

You better not shout.  Here is something you should know:  Proper vocal tone is important.  Please do not shout in my class.  I’m not deaf, no matter how much I blast my music in my car.  And please do not be that low talker on Seinfeld either.  That’s not confident.

I see when you are sleeping.  I know that sounds NSA-creepy at first, but I am talking about in class.  I know you don’t think it will be annoying to me to put your head down on the desk or in your hand and rest in my class, but I am here to tell you it is rude.  You are telling me I have nothing to offer you.  Depending on my disposition, I will either cold call on you, ignore you until participation is awarded, or mark you absent that day.  It is particularly annoying when you snore.  In that case, I might scare you with the notion that you might have sleep apnea. 

I know when you’re awake.  I know when you are not distracted, when you are paying attention.  I know when you are tracking, and when you are hopelessly lost.  The eyes tell me. 

I know when you’ve been bad or good.  I know when you are instant messaging, on twitter, or e-mailing.  I know when you’re thinking about graduation and job offers (if applicable), and when you’re distracted by the laptop in front of you.  Again, the eyes tell me.  I understand that some distraction might happen, but if you are focused on sports scores, chances are you aren’t focused on what I’m saying in class.  Ask a texting driver in an auto accident about multitasking prowess.  

The upshot of all of this: Be good, for your grade’s sake!