A proper guide to classroom etiquette 101

Domanique Crawford, Opinion Editor

Class begins, I look around. Yes! His seat is empty! I sigh in relief and almost jump out of my own seat when I hear everyone else in the classroom do the same. The entire class seems content with the uninhabited chair, realizing with satisfaction that a certain someone isn’t here. Some of us chuckle as the professor starts his lesson.

Five minutes later and dang! With his usual air of pomposity, “Jasper” swaggers into class and takes his seat. The person across from me and I lock eyes, our expressions both reflect despair. Today is going to be another long class.

There is always that one person in every class who makes the whole experience excruciating. This disruptive attitudes can only be described as just plain rude. Whatever happened to proper classroom etiquette?

When the instructor asks, “Does anyone know which type of nebula this is?” A classmate casually calls out, “I think it’s a reflection nebula?”

In all his smugness, Jasper interrupts the student to say, “Actually, this is clearly an emission nebula. You can tell from the red cloud of ionized gas. The ionized hydrogen produces visible wavelength photons that…”

In this situation, Jasper is being what I like to call a Smart-aleck Alec. The student tried to answer the question to the best of her knowledge and her efforts were mocked. This is unacceptable. We attend college to learn, and having someone belittle our efforts makes it hard to want to focus and participate.

From kindergarten to senior year of high school, students are conditioned to adhere to certain behavioral standards in the classroom. At first, as youths, reject these ideals. As adults, it is our duty to understand these rules and acquiesce to the common respect we are all owed as college students.

These unwritten conduct codes are designed to keep us focused. The most distractive behavioral traits include the following characters:

Smart-aleck Alec: A smart- aleck is worse than a know-at-all because they always responds to a situation in a self-righteous manner believing the words that drip from their mouth are liquid gold. This person is knowingly boastful and does so with the intent to prove he’s smarter than everyone else. Taking an introductory course when you’re already familiar with the material is fine, but leave the teaching to the instructor.

Chatty Cathy: One of those people who hold ongoing conversations in class. No one wants to hear about your deep family issues or the next big drama while trying to concentrate on taking notes. We don’t need know how you hate your parents because they won’t support your drug habits and are going to kick you out of the house. Leave the personal talk at home. If there is really something going on, consider taking the day off.

Needy Nancy: The student who makes the professor repeat himself a 1001 times after he has already repeated the information twice. Pay attention. There is only so much time we have to spend learning a subject, and making the professor and students repeat themselves because of your inattention is costly to the time frame. If you need extra help, go to the professor’s office hours or, better yet, ask to record the lesson. That way you can repeat it to your heart’s content.

Texting Tom: Honestly, there is nothing more annoying than hearing the beep accompanying each tap of the screen and the flash of light that’s like a beacon drawing attention to your obvious activities. If you’re going to text in class, at least have the common decency to turn the sound off and lower the brightness on the screen. Your distraction doesn’t have to be mine.

We are all here for the common goal of higher education. If you want to let your behavior hinder your own education that’s fine; however, please don’t infringe on mine.

As Jasper finishes his long-winded explanation, a hush fells the room, a silent reprimand for his unwarranted pontification. Students are no longer willing to freely answer questions, and the pace of the class crawls along with each pregnant pause—the instructor clearly doesn’t intend to continue until all of his questions are answered. When the class finally ended, instead of absorbing the lesson of the day, my classmates and I could only focus on Jasper and his rude interruptions. An entire class period wasted, because now I have to go home and re-read the chapter.