Classroom behavior void of common etiquette
Upon flipping through my syllabi of classes I am currently enrolled in and have taken in the past, I have seen a common rule among professors. Most emphasize the fact that they do not want students on their phones during class. Obviously, this rule is to keep students from being distracted so they can focus their attention on what the professors are saying. However, as millennials with easy access to the internet and communicating with friends, students may find themselves taking their phones out against the professor’s wishes.
The last three years in college, I have noticed there are two types of professors. Those who reprimand students for being on their phones and those who do nothing.
The trend of diverting attention away from a professor does not stop solely at cell phones, as laptops are an issue as well. I have had professors that do not even allow laptops on the desk while they are teaching because while students may be taking notes, they could also be doing the complete opposite and slacking off. This applies especially if teachers are not, in the student’s eyes, saying anything that is worth taking note of. While an open computer may make it look like one is taking notes, surrounding students can see that others are often on social media, doing another class’s homework or even watching a closed-captioned and muted episode of a Netflix show.
On a different note, there are other priorities in life that may interfere with a student’s arrival to class—such as commuters who could, for example, get stuck in traffic—and students can arrive while the lesson has already begun. Tardiness not only disrupts the professor but could also be distracting to peers.
Not to say that it is better to miss a class than to arrive late, but the student they could potentially miss valuable information and either need to have it repeated by the professor or reiterated by a classmate.
If a class ends, for instance, at 3 p.m., it is not very fair to whomever is teaching that some students pack up their bags at 2:57 p.m. It does not take three minutes to get a notebook into a backpack and it is also disrespectful. I am not a professor, but the thought of a person trying to leave the room during a lesson shows that they do not care. Of course, there are the rare cases where a professor is goes over the time allotted for the class, but if not, professors, like students, can tell time and therefore should not need a classroom of students putting their books away in efforts of getting across the message that class is ending soon.
One last nuisance students may partake in is side conversations while the professor is teaching. This affects other students in addition to the instructor. It is one thing to whisper, but it is not whispering if everyone around you can hear the entire conversation. Side conversations can be distracting for other students and could make it hard to focus on what the teacher is saying.
Despite syllabi explaining what not to do in class and side glances from irritated professors and classmates, I do not think there will ever be an end to disrespect in the classrooms.
I am not saying students do these things specifically to be rude, but I think if they were to think of others around them, and put themselves into their professor’s shoes. They would hesitate to spend their class time using technology, talking to their friends or trying to get out early.
Photo Illustration: August Pelliccio