Over the next few months, semesters, or years, you’re bound to have every type of person in your classes. You’ll encounter the loud laughers, overeager hand raisers, drawn-out speech givers, the I-don’t-know-how-to-use-my-voice students, and of course, the unconscious ones who seemingly don’t care. You don’t want to be any of these types of students, and believe it or not, there are some unwritten rules for classroom etiquette you might want to consider following for your benefit, such as:
1. Tactful Texting
There is no such thing. The teacher might not see you pounding messages out at lightening speed under your desk or behind your books, but the people in front of you, beside you, and behind you can certainly hear you clicking the keys, the phone vibrating with every new message, and are possibly even distracted by the glare of your screen. You may not be interested in what the teacher is saying or showing that day, but that doesn’t mean it gives you the liberty to detract from others’ learning opportunities. If it’s not an emergency, it’s best to save the text messaging for later.
2. Chatty Cathy or Craig
You might as well be talking on your phone if you’re going to have a conversation with someone else while the teacher or a fellow classmate is talking; it’s distracting to other students. It’s ok if you want to make a quick remark to your friend beside you, but don’t turn into a long conversation. You wouldn’t want someone to talk in your ear while watching a movie that you paid for, right? Well, the same goes for sitting in a classroom. You’re not the only student paying to go there. Be mindful and respectful of that.
3. The Daily Delayed
We all wake up late or get stuck in traffic at some point during a semester. It happens, but don’t be that person that is always walking in 5-15 minutes after class starts. It’s often a disruption to the class, and very rarely can you just sneak in and quietly sit down. Do your best to get to class on time. If you’re just waking up, get an alarm clock where you can set multiple alarms so you don’t oversleep. If you’re coming from another class on the other side of the campus, just be mindful enough to let your teacher know the situation. They’ll be more understanding if they realize you’re not just slacking off. Commuters, allot 15 extra minutes to your commute to account for slow traffic lights, finding a parking spot, and/or walking to class.
When I say litter, I’m talking about potential physical hazards, such as laptops and book bags. Whenever you sit down, be courteous enough to move your belongings out of the walkway or from in front of a chair. If bags are scattered all across the floor, there’s the potential hazard that someone will a) step on your bag and possibly crush or break something and b) trip, fall, and crack their head open on the corner of the desk. It’s not fun having to take giant steps to clear someone’s stuff either. The same goes with laptops and their cords. If you need to plug your laptop in, try to get a seat near a socket but away from as many people as possible. If this isn’t possible, just forewarn your classmates about the cord.
5. Chow Time
It’s understandable if you bring a snack or sandwich to class because you don’t have time to eat. If you do this, just try not to bring anything contained in a loud, crinkly wrapper. Foods that don’t crunch loudly, like pretzels or chips, are a good idea too, and if you have a new soda, open it before class starts that way you don’t attract too much attention when twisting off the cap.
6. La Siesta
Although you aren’t really distracting anyone else from learning if you have taken a trip to unconscious land, it’s still rude towards the teacher. Granted, they are being paid to teach you, but don’t expect most teachers to willingly work with you to raise your grade later in the semester because you were sleeping. Plus, you’re paying to go there. Why not make the best of it and learn all you can while you can?
If you do your best to stay away from committing these acts in the classroom, you’re sure to have a more pleasant classroom experience, and if someone else is distracting you by one of these methods, don’t hesitate to ask them politely to stop. Just remember, you are paying to be there. Don’t let anyone distract you from learning either.