Hocus-pocus Focus

As a professor, this is what I hear a lot.

Thank you for making us turn our phones off.

That’s right.  You may find it hard to believe as I did (at first).

It makes it easier to focus.

It’s the one-time I can focus without distraction.

I do it for self-preservation because left to their own devices, it is almost impossible to keep the attention of students especially for almost two hours in class.

These comments are not only increasing with each semester but believe it or not, I never have to remind my students to turn their phones off after the first week or two – they do it automatically and without complaint (could they really like it, I wondered?).

Ok, there was one complaint – a student who kept getting text messages on her Apple Watch and finally succumbed.  She tried to defend it, but gave up because being texted constantly made her uncomfortable and unable to focus.  Even she didn’t buy her excuse for replying in class.

The definition of hocus-pocus, by the way, is meaningless talk or activity, often designed to draw attention away from and disguise what is actually happening.

Lesson learned:  if you help others focus, they will be grateful.