Classroom Etiquette — Or Lack Thereof!

The Constructive Curmudgeon, aka Douglas Groothuis, has a post about the “Rude Things Students Do.” In some ways the list is quite the eye-opener. I’ve definitely had some rude students in my decade of teaching, but I’ve never had students clean their toenails or clip fingernails while in class or — and I think this one takes the proverbial cake — I have nver had a student rudely interrupt a class to get me to sign a drop form (thankfully students at Taylor do not need an instructor’s permission to drop a class).

Many of the other “rude” behaviours I have experienced first hand, though I should note that I’m pretty laid back in the classroom and will usually deal with rude behaviours in creative ways. For what it is worth, here is are some of the behaviours from Groothuis’s list as well as from the comments, in no particular order:

  • Playing video games or surfing the web while in class [see my post on banning laptops]
  • Asking for the assignment two days before it is due when it was handed out two weeks earlier, or asking a question about an assignment/test the day before it is due. [While this isn’t necessarily rude, it certainly doesn’t instill confidence in a student’s abilities.]
  • Eating entire meals in class [considering the scheduling issues with some of my classes, I don’t mind students doing this as much — as long as students are mindful of other students and clean up their mess.]
  • Reading a book or work on an assignment for another class [A mild irritant]
  • Students who think “asking a question” means “expounding a long-winded, irrelevant diatribe” [While I frequently say that the only bad question is the one left unasked, students should at least try to actually have a question somewhere in their comments!]
  • A student misses class and then asks “did I miss anything important?” [This one is rather irritating; I typically answer, “No, of course, not”]
  • Falling asleep in class [When students do fall asleep I will usually point it out to the rest of the class in some creative way. In one class I actually had another student take a picture of me standing behind a sleeping student; I would post the picture, but the student is actually going on to graduate studies and I don’t want to embarrass him/her]

Don’t get me wrong; I love teaching. And many of these things don’t bother me as much as make my eyes roll.

What about other instructors or students? Any rude behaviours that top these?

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2 Responses to Classroom Etiquette — Or Lack Thereof!

  1. Oh man! I think besides the students that liked to talk just to hear their own voice, it was the pencil tapping. In one of the classes I had with you, there was a pencil tapper. EVERY single class, for 45 minutes straight – tappity, tap, tap, TAP! I remember one day very distinctly….I was unable to refrain from glaring at this person intermittedly until they stopped. I felt like a grouchy woman, but if I didn’t do something I was going to lose my mind. Nor did I think it was appropriate to stand up in the middle of your class and yell, “For the love of everything that is good in this world, STOP TAPPING!!” I thought it would have been a tad disruptive…

  2. slaveofone says:

    What do you think about those [ahem] who hold their teachers critically and honestly responsible for their teaching and discussion?

    For instance, I was taking online courses at on canonicity, Trinitarianism, and several other things. And I found that at least part of the time, the teachers would say things that were either fudging the evidence or being just outright dishonest (such as making an argument against canonicity of a Deuterocanonical book when the same argument could also be applied to a Canonical one, or arguing for the deity of Yeshua from texts which, according to their own bibles (NET Bible) are highly corrupt passages, or building criteria against a bad theology and then supporting Trinitarianism when it met many of those same requirements).

    I was almost kicked out several times for it, but I took them to task for their misleading teaching. And rest be assured, if you’re not forthright, I’ll speak up in your class too…

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