Classroom etiquette

Do you remember classroom rules? Many were lists detailing the teachers’ personal annoyances. They could be as simple as no gum chewing or as funny as keep up on personal hygiene. Why don’t these exist in college? 


Do you remember classroom rules? Many were lists detailing the teachers’ personal annoyances. They could be as simple as no gum chewing or as funny as keep up on personal hygiene. Why don’t these exist in college? Sure, syllabi note no cell phones or texting, but overall, there are no classroom guidelines. I assume that the logic is that if someone has made it to college, he or she should possess basic etiquette.

Each semester starts and I am filled with hope for the class material, the professor and the prospect of possibly meeting someone cool. Within a class or two, however, my dreams are smashed.

It takes a lot to get on my nerves, but there are a few surefire ways when in class. Number one: eating. Eating in class can be a necessary thing at times, but there are rules: nothing noisy. There’s nothing worse than missing a key point because someone doesn’t know how to quickly open cellophane. How about the crunching? Don’t people know it’s rude to chew loudly and with their mouths open? Apparently not. The sound of people licking their lips and salivating is unacceptable, yet it happens all the time.

Since we’re on the topic of food, here’s number two: nothing with a strong smell. If I’m not eating, there’s absolutely no way I want to smell a mid-class snack. In a small room with a heavily aromatic food, things get uncomfortable, mostly because I either become ravenous, or sick if the food contains meat.

Number three: talking. I am paying to hear the professor talk, not some vapid dolts who can’t stop talking about how drunk they are about to get this weekend. More than disrupting the learning of others, it’s downright disrespectful toward the professor. Teaching daily in front of a bunch of uninterested students is hard enough without the added irritation of loud students. I can make an exception if the conversation is on topic, but it never is. Instead of being plain distracted, I’m distracted and annoyed by the mundane conversations of my classmates.

Number four: texting. I am a texting maniac. My phone rarely leaves my sight, but class is a different story. Maybe it wouldn’t bother me if it were quiet, but most people text with such fury; their fingers make noises clicking the keys or screens.

Number five: the blatant prowling of the internet. Some students do, in fact, take notes on their computers. It is convenient, easier to keep up with the professor and easier to read. But how many students are actually taking notes? Not many. With one glance around the room, I noticed online shopping, fantasy football, online games, Facebook, blogging and rap music videos.

Number six: nervous ticks and non-stop pen drumming. I cannot sit still to save my life. I am one of those people who actually twiddles her thumbs in an attempt to not annoy those around me. I understand excess nervous energy, I do. But I can assure that there is no need for the entire table to be shaking so intensely from one’s foot that I can no longer read or write because I’m suddenly dizzy.

I also love music more than I love most things. Even when there’s no music playing, I am singing something in my head, but that’s it. I keep it where it belongs: in my head. Music, excess energy, bad habits, whatever it is, the sound of a pen smacking the table to an imaginary beat makes me want to leap out of my seat and grab the pen and shove it into a hand. Take deep breaths, tap in your head, calm down.

In any other situation, these issues wouldn’t be so intensely bothersome, but classes aren’t free. I aim to maximize my college education, and that aim is thrown off almost daily. I do not think people are rude on purpose; merely, I think students are too self-involved to take note of how their behavior is altering the education of others.