For sad work-related issues of not being able to get out of work on time, I often miss my 1 favorite yoga class in the week. It's either that or be the jerk that walks into class late frequently ... so I settle for being the jerk every other week or so. What I love about the class is that the teacher always has a theme or some sort of life lesson she winds through the class. She also changes it up EVERY week. She's also very fit and warm and a good person and makes sure she learns everyone's names.
At the end of class, she stands outside the door, and people always clamor for her attention and want to talk to her as they are leaving, but she always says goodbye to everyone. What I notice the last few times is that the moment I'm leaving, she's engaged in conversation, and though I do get a, "bye," there's no eye contact since she's otherwise engaged. What I also notice is that it started to bug me. ... not in the sense of, "the nerve of the woman!" but in the sense of, "hey, notice I'm a human being amongst the other human beings here."
Then, of course, I noticed that I frequently do that to my students at various times. There are those students that by the very nature of their personalities just force you to pay attention to them. A LOT. Then there are the quiet polite ones that just go about their business, and maybe I may never make eye contact with them (much?). Maybe that may happen in most/all of their classes, and even if it doesn't, it's a shame it happens in mine. I get into the state of, I'm dealing with a class or a question you have or the math of it, and it's a "situation" not a person I'm dealing with.
So today, after each student was finished with their test, when I collected the paper, I made sure to smile and say a quiet thank you and actually make eye contact with each of my students.
Woot! One day of successful eye contact down. A bazillion more days to remember to do this.