Lighthearted: AIBU to not want someone to knit whilst I'm giving a seminar?

(94 Posts)
matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 14:59:54

I'm honestly curious.

Part of my job involves giving trainings, sometimes in workplaces, sometimes in adult education classes. They last for a full or a half day.

I don't really stand on ceremony, of course. I tell people if they want a bathroom break or a cup of tea, no need to wait for the break.

Last week I was giving a training for volunteers at a particular organisation and one of the women up front took our her knitting just as I was beginning. I did a double-take and she noticed and said, "Oh, I always do this at presentations and lectures, it helps me concentrate." The people around her nodded.

I just shrugged and carried on. It was a good session.

Now if I were in a role of a long-term instructor or advisor or something I would have taken her aside and let her know how unprofessional it looked. But I'm not, it wasn't my place, so I didn't.

But AIBU in feeling really disrespected? My reaction really surprised me, because I don't think of myself as really rigid and uptight. And certainly I can listen intently to something whilst my hands are occupied--just listened to the radio whilst making jam, in fact. But it just seemed so damned rude. I had to really swallow down the urge to say, "Put that away, I'm not a TV!"

Would you have felt the same?

kali110 Sun 25-May-14 15:02:13

I don't think yabu at all i would have found that rude.

RubberBulletKisses Sun 25-May-14 15:04:19

It would have bugged me. Were the needles not clicking through it? Or do I knit wrong... confused

buttercrumble Sun 25-May-14 15:06:32

It would have driven me potty if the needles were clicking , and it's just down right rude of them .YANBU

Purplepoodle Sun 25-May-14 15:06:35

It's a bit rude but then I'm an awful at fidgeting and only doodling ect helps me to keep still.

matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 15:07:40

Yeah, I suppose I could have said, "Put that away, it's rude!" but I was on their turf and anyway I'm not in that role to her.

dawndonnaagain Sun 25-May-14 15:08:18

Many, many people do this sort of thing. People with AS often need to be doing something with their hands in order to concentrate, as do people with ADHD. It helps them focus on the words you are saying. Research has very clearly demonstrated that students who doodle in lectures retain more of the lecture than those who don't. So, whilst you have been brought up to think that it is rude, in all probability, the knitter was right!

Icimoi Sun 25-May-14 15:10:26

I agree with dawndonna. She probably has sensory problems and needs to have something to fidget with, otherwise she loses concentration. Think of it as a compliment that she really wanted to make sure she didn't miss any of your talk.

matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 15:11:19

That's a good point Dawn. However, if it were an accommodation for a disability she should have said so. She just presented it as something she liked to do, and that she was going to do, and it made her look entitled and inconsiderate. If I'm being brutally honest, if she showed up at a job interview at my organisation, my first thought wouldn't be on her qualifications--I'd think, "Hey, it's that weird knitting girl."

CorusKate Sun 25-May-14 15:13:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FernMitten Sun 25-May-14 15:14:03

I find seminars and lectures very difficult to get through because I'm claustrophobic.

If I was allowed to knit or doodle it would help me relax and listen without concentrating on my own breathing or feeling uncomfortable.

However, I do think it comes across as rude, and as the speaker I would find it off-putting - like you say, you are not the telly but a real person.

sonjadog Sun 25-May-14 15:20:53

It is very common where I work. It actually helps people focus on what is being said. The other option is that they sit there, staring into space and not following what you are saying. Surely it is better to knit?

SongsAboutB Sun 25-May-14 15:29:27

You don't have to be diagnosed with something to concentrate better while fiddling. I find that if it looks as though I'm paying attention (hands still and eyes forward) it's because my mind is miles away. If I'm doodling, looking out the window, fiddling with jewellery etc then I'm paying attention.

matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 15:32:21

Yeah, I see where you're coming from sonjadog. I think the thing is that it's a habit that doesn't travel well. It just made her look sort of ostentatiously quirky. I remember her for the wrong reasons.

CorusKate Sun 25-May-14 15:32:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 15:35:07

Songs, that's an interesting point. Someone can make all the right gestures and be a million miles away.

I think, though, that being a participant in a seminar at work does mean you're not entirely being your at-home self--there's a bit of formality that shows you take the situation seriously.

I mean, I would be more comfortable if I could take off my pantyhose and scratch my bum whilst I'm giving the presentation, but I don't.

mumteedum Sun 25-May-14 15:36:29

I lecture and I'd find that very distracting tbh though not alot you could do. I had a student who would sit quite close and eat apples or other random fidgety things. Found her quite distracting but tried to just ignore. Tis a bit rude though.

Goblinchild Sun 25-May-14 15:36:35

Have you been to a Uni lecture recently? All sorts of random off-task behaviour on show that would have got you a severe frowning back in the old days.
I find it rude and distracting, but I'm very old and out of touch.

OnlyLovers Sun 25-May-14 15:40:53

'She just presented it as something she liked to do'. According to your OP she actually presented it as something that helped her concentrate.

I think YABU.

CorusKate Sun 25-May-14 15:43:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 15:44:23

Okay, only, that's a fair point. She said, "It helps me concentrate.." she didn't say, "I have a condition that requires me to knit in order to be able to concentrated."

So yeah, it made her seem entitled. It would help me concentrate if I could wander around the room during a seminar and swing my legs or lie down on a mat on the floor, but I don't want to look like a douchebag.

Viviennemary Sun 25-May-14 15:44:58

YANBU. The person with the knitting was rude. It just simply isn't done.

matilda, I'd have assumed it was implied. Mostly people don't like to announce their disabilities in public, IME.

That said if it was noisy, she should choose another way of concentrating. Doodling is much less distracting as you can barely tell someone isn't taking notes unless you're right by them.

matildasquared Sun 25-May-14 15:49:15

I believe you about the students in lectures. But does no one take them aside and say, "You know, that sends a certain message. Is that how you want your professor to remember you when it's time for reference letters? Is your instructor going to recommend an obnoxious disruptive student for a job?"

That's awkward. I had to tell a student off for falling asleep right at the front of the lecture theatre, right in front of me !

I am a bugger so I think I probably would have said to her I would really prefer you didn't.....smile

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