Classroom Behaviors: Stop Messing Around!

There are some things that are obvious that all student must do: go to class prepared, arrive to class on time, and pay attention.

And then there are some things that we don’t want to hear, but need to be reminded about.

Silence your cell phone and, if it rings, don’t answer it!  There is nothing more distracting than the ring of a phone.  And, these days, it is not just a ring…but an entire song that progressively gets louder and LOUDER with each passing second.  If you have a cell phone – and chances are that you do – please turn it off or keep it on silent mode.  And, don’t lay it on top of the desk in anticipation for a phone call because even if someone does call, you are not going to answer it anyway, right?  Keep your cell phone safe in your backpack and, as soon as class is dismissed, you can call who you like.

Don’t text in class.  Just because words aren’t coming directly out of your mouth, that doesn’t mean that you are not distracting others or disturbing class.  Drop your phone and pick up a pen…what you really need to be doing in class is taking notes, not texting.  And, most likely, the other person at the receiving end of your texting should probably be paying attention in class, too!

Shhhhh…please!  It’s really, really, really, REALLY difficult to concentrate on a lecture when there is so much unnecessary noise.  A recent survey revealed that the following sounds were voted as the most irritating:  clicking your pen repeatedly, smacking your lips, chewing your gum out loud, tapping your fingers on the desk, stomachs growling (ok…sometimes we can’t help that!), sighing heavily when you don’t agree with something said, making comments under your breath, crunching on potato chips, and belching.  Ok…so there really wasn’t a survey, but please be considerate of other students around you.

Stay awake and be alert.  So, did you signed up for a 7:00 am class when you normally sleep in until 1:00 p.m.? If you arrive to class only to fall asleep again, then you might as well have stayed in bed.  Not only are you known as the student who sleeps in class, but you are missing out on important information and announcements to help you succeed in class.  If staying awake in class is difficult, try something new:  sit in the front row to stay engaged, participate in the discussions, take notes, and/or find interest in the topic.  If those don’t work, try this: get to bed earlier the night before!

Wait until office hours, before class, or after class to discuss personal issues.  Your classmates do NOT need to know that you have a doctor’s appointment to examine a mystery bump on your big toe or that you have 2 cavities that need to be filled by your dentist because you ate too much candy.  If you have a personal issue that you need to discuss with your professor, wait until the appropriate time: during office hours, before class, or after class.  Or, if needed, follow-up with an email.  Additionally, if you do have a personal issue to take care of, try to schedule an appointment around your classes (NOT during class) if possible.

Raise your hand.  Do you ever watch old reruns of game shows where you know the answer and you scream it at the top of your lungs?  Well, college is not a game show.  And, we don’t scream.  If you have something to say that relates to the topic of discussion, please be polite and raise your hand.  Now, be aware that other students may also be raising their hands, so there is a chance that you may not be called on right away.  But, hold onto your thought because what you have to share is important.

The cafeteria is thataway.  It never fails that around noon, your stomach will start to growl and that burger in the cafeteria will start to call your name.  While it may be okay to bring a bottled water or a small granola bar to munch on before class, try to be discreet and quiet.  No one wants to smell onions in the middle of a lecture or hear you slurping your strawberry smoothie.  Also, no one in the next class wants to sit at the desk where ketchup and mustard is smeared all over it.  Unless you brought enough food for everyone, save your lunch for later.

Don’t get involved in side conversations.  If you are in the same class with your friends, side conversations can be difficult to avoid.  Participating in side conversations is distracting… and disrespectful.  If you have a question or comment, don’t strike up a conversation with the person next to you.  Instead, raise your hand and engage in the discussion with the entire class.   If you have a hard time avoiding side conversations with your friends, sit in different areas of the classroom.  Being apart for 1.5 hours won’t hurt…you can catch up after class ends!

Don’t get upset just because someone doesn’t agree with your comment.  The great thing about college is the diversity of students and instructors in the classroom.  But diversity is not just about different ethnic and age groups, it is also about the way that we think…with 40+ students in class, there will be opinions and ideas that may be different than yours.  If you are engaged in a classroom discussion where someone doesn’t agree with your comment, there is no need to get upset…it doesn’t mean that one person is right and that the other person is wrong.  It is important to be open-minded and to know that we can all learn from each other.

These aren’t too hard to follow, right?