I don’t mean rest, I mean sleep. Zeds, lots of them. Or Zees, for some of you over the Equator.
A pause can be a very effective device to centre students, especially when it is two of them softly whispering to each other at length about something of more immediate importance than what was coming from the podium. In that case, I would just pause until they wondered why there was no background droning, stop talking and look up at me. I just ask them politely if they’ve covered their topic of conversation or would like to slip outside and get it sorted out, and we all smile and normal service is resumed. The break in the atmosphere is good for everyone in the room.
Usually students are a bit sheepish when they’ve been caught in some other world during a lecture, but I don’t seem to recall anyone being like that. A woman who I didn’t recognise - the only person in the room I couldn't put a name to - volunteered the information. ‘I was looking at that candle.’
I could see how the candle was alternating between almost being out for a fraction of a second and suddenly the flame would surge for exactly the same amount of time, on and off, almost hypnotically. Everyone who could see it was taken by the strobe lighting effect - you couldn't have ignored it. These were only small candles but the room was almost dark, and the flickering of this candle ceased after a few seconds. Then it resumed a steady glow like all the others.
‘The candle is not there to illuminate itself.’