During my early years of teaching, I was still struggling and adjusting to being a working adult. One fine morning as I was teaching in front of the class, I saw one student who was trying to get my attention. She made a face, pointed her finger at me, and mouthed things I could not hear. Since I was too immersed in teaching, I kept going. At the back of my head, I knew that I would entertain her later after I was done with the topic. But she didn’t stop. After some time, she pulled the hem of my shirt and said,
“Miss, you forgot to zip your pants”.
Oh. My. God.
I was so embarrassed. At that point in time I felt like running to the Dean’s office and handing in my resignation letter. Instead, I kept my cool, went behind the lectern, continued teaching while my hands work down my pants and pulled up the zipper. The class continued on until the end.
During the whole incident, I was very certain that the whole class i.e. 30 to 40 students saw it. But no one said anything to me. They were busy listening, taking down notes, or SMS-ing under their table. I received zero feedback even from those who were very close to me. “That’s weird”, I said to myself. I thought everyone saw it.
Fast forward to 2023, I stumbled upon a Twitter thread that explained my experience in a crystal clear manner. The thread entitled ‘The Spotlight Effect’ has gained 5.7 million views and 38.2K likes.
Images | Sahil Bloom
So there you go. Our fear of embarrassing ourselves might have the lowest percentage of people noticing because in the end human beings are wired to only focus on themselves. Just when you thought that people care; they don’t.