Classroom etiquette is appropriate

Last week I was stuck in a lecture class without any source of caffeine and was desperate to concentrate on the professor’s never-ending flow of information. It was 15 minutes into class and a girl came waltzing in, without even the slightest guilty or apologetic look.

Then, minutes later, another student walked right out of the classroom while the teacher was talking, returning later with a soda in her hand. I thought the interruptions would end; however, the One Tree Hill theme song began blaring from someone’s purse. Twenty minutes before class ended, another student picked up his bag and left.

Teachers discuss classroom etiquette at the beginning of the year but it seems that some people need a refresher course. Granted, I am not perfect, but there are some bad classroom habits I keep seeing, and I think it’s time to call attention to them as being rude and inappropriate.

This isn’t just for the sake of following rules or gratuitously respecting professors – it’s important not to be disruptive in class. Students go to school to learn and spend large amounts of money to do so. Students can’t learn, though, when noise or visual distractions interfere.

Take, for example, tardiness.

Occasionally, people have a real reason to leave early or come in late, but when the same people leave repeatedly before class ends there’s a problem.

“There are many reasons for being late to class – sometimes life gets in the way,” Dr. William Young, adult and higher education professor, said. “If students are going to be late for every class, that student should sit down with the teacher and they can decide together what should be done, if anything.”

Teachers usually understand that accidents and emergencies happen, but they still want students to be in class on time if they don’t have a valid excuse.

“I usually am not upset with a student being tardy once or twice in a term but would not be happy with tardiness every class period,” said Dr. Robert Sullins, higher education professor. “If it is a rare occurrence late is better than absence.”

Leaving or coming in late can be inevitable sometimes, but please do not make a huge production out of it. Try to be as quiet as possible and take a seat closest to the door.

Occasionally it will slip a student’s mind to turn off his or her cell phone, which is understandable. Also please note that putting your phone on the ‘vibrate’ setting does not mean it’s silent. Text messaging, moreover, can be just as distracting as talking on the phone for some teachers and students.

“Cell phones should never be used in a class,” said Sullins. “They should be turned off in advance of the class meeting.”

Professors are authority figures and should be treated as such. Students need to use whatever title the teacher tells them is appropriate.

“I prefer ‘Doctor,’ but I think that is purely personal,” said Dr. Rosemary B. Closson, assistant professor of adult education. “My major professor liked to be called by his first name.”

It may seem like courtesy and manners are declining in the world today, but students still have the chance to behave politely at school and do not have to follow this disruptive trend.

Candace Kaw is a junior majoring in mass communications.