At the end of every class, I ask the students to anonymously answer three questions: A praise (what went well), a wish (I wish we would have/wouldn’t have/could), and one thing they learned. It’s helpful feedback that allows me to make adjustments for the next week instead of waiting until class is over to hear their concerns.

But what astonishes me most is that almost every week, a couple of students say what they learned is from a spur of the moment comment I made — a tidbit that seemed relevant but certainly wasn’t part of my original notes, an example that just came to me, or a response to a student’s comment. Sometimes, I don’t even realize that I said it, yet it shows up as the one takeaway from the evening.

I’ve had similar experiences in other settings where a friend-of-a-friend comments on something I posted on social media (who knew they even followed me), or someone makes a reference to something I wore or said months or even years ago. I have no recollection, but it’s what stuck with them and made an impact.

You never know who is paying attention to you. Live your life in ways that you’re not worried if they are.

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