After decades of teaching experience, I have devised a list of Dos and Don'ts of behavior in the classroom . . .

 

CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE
 

BEFORE YOU EVEN COME TO CLASS . . .

 

DO NOT CALL ME "MR." HARDIN

(This is not high school.  I have a Ph.D. and I am a

tenured Associate Professor with 28 years of

teaching experience, 19½ of those at Longwood;

showing minimal respect means addressing

me as "Doctor" or "Professor" Hardin)

 

ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS GET 15 MINUTES

(Contrary to what you may have been told,

you should wait 15 minutes before leaving

if I have not arrived for class.  Why not

use that time to review your notes?)

 

DECIDE BEFOREHAND THAT YOU’RE

HERE TO LEARN SOMETHING

(Nothing is more galling and flat-out ridiculous

than reading comments at the end of the

semester like, “I didn’t learn anything in this

class.”  That reflects more on the student than

it does on me.  If you don’t come in here with at

least some intellectual curiosity and you’re

not here to learn about the world, you’re not

going to have much fun.  There’s probably

still time to switch to some other course)

 

READ THE SYLLABUS

(The syllabus now equals five pages

of single-spaced 10 point text with important

information relative to your success

in this class; it is your responsibility

to know what it contains)

 

RELIEVE YOURSELF BEFORE CLASS
(Barring real emergencies, you should not be getting up
in the middle of class for a potty break; this is not
high school where you can afford to miss a lecture
and pick it up again a week later)

 

TURN YOUR @#$%! CELL PHONE RINGER OFF
(I will keep mine on in case there is an emergency

announcement from Longwood)

 

 L NO NOs . . .

 

ASSUMING THAT PERFUME/COLOGNE IS
A SUBSTITUTE FOR BATHING
(If I can smell you, you've got
WAY too much on)

 

DOING HOMEWORK FOR ANOTHER CLASS
DURING THE LECTURES
(The word is spelled I-N-S-U-L-T-I-N-G)

 

WORKING ON YOUR SOCIAL CALENDAR
DURING LECTURES
(All play and no work makes Jack/Jill a dullard)

 

ASKING, "DO WE NEED TO KNOW THIS FOR THE EXAM?"
(Sorry, you have to know everything!)

 

ACTING LIKE YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE BETTER TO BE
(Simply put, this is the best place to be for the next 50-75 minutes)

 

PICKING NOSES, SCABS, OR ACNE
AND CHEWING FINGERS
(Aside from being gross, they're
usually done with the
writing hand)

 

HAIR TWIRLING

(Fix your hair before coming to class; flipping and twirling

are extremely distracting and will hamper your note-taking

efforts.  If this is compulsive behavior, consider counseling)

  

PLAYING WITH PIERCINGS (TONGUE, NAVEL, ETC.)
(See above)

 

MAKING ANNOYING NOISES DURING LECTURES
(I expect to be the only annoying noise
you'll hear in this class)

 

TALKING TO/PLAYING WITH OTHERS DURING THE LECTURES
(These disturb those around you and are so 7th grade)

 

BLOWING BUBBLES, SNAPPING, OR

OTHERWISE PLAYING WITH GUM
(Your parents should have whacked you on the back of

your head for doing this when you were about nine)

Note:  this professor and/or Longwood University do not condone

corporal punishment for children, but you get the idea

 

EATING IN CLASS

(If you need to grab a snack before coming to

class, eat it on the way, not in class)

 

YAWNING WITH AN OPEN MOUTH
(I have no desire to review your
dental history - or lack thereof)

 

WATCHING THE CLOCK
(A watched pot never boils)

 

SLEEPING IN CLASS
(How anyone can sleep through one

of my performances is beyond me)

 

T_E_X_T_I_N_G

(This is nothing more than the modern equivalent

of note passing and will result in immediate banishment

from my class.  If you cannot survive 50-75 minutes without

chit-chatting, you might want to look into an avocation other than

college student. Turn your WiFi off if you cannot resist temptation)

 

USING YOUR LAPTOP FOR ANYTHING OTHER

THAN TAKING NOTES IN CLASS

(This is incredibly distracting to those behind you;

I strongly encourage you to let me know if someone’s

doing unauthorized surfing/playing/multitasking.

You must disable WiFi to use a computer in my class)

 

ASKING ME TO CALCULATE YOUR CURRENT SCORE

SO YOU KNOW WHAT SCORE YOU'LL NEED TO GET ON

THE FINAL EXAM TO ACHIEVE A CERTAIN FINAL GRADE

((1) you should already know how to do that kind of math;

(2) I don't do such calculations for you;

and (3) WHY NOT TRY FOR 100%?!?)

 

APPEALING A GRADING DECISION

BY SENDING NASTY EMAILS

(This is incredibly poor tactics; you catch

more flies with honey than vinegar)

 

ASKING TO HAVE YOUR GRADE BUMPED

UP TO THE NEXT FRACTION OF A

WHOLE GRADE (I.E. “ROUNDING UP”)

(I realize that the new +/- system can affect your GPA;

I sympathize because we didn’t have that at

Mary Washington and I missed Summa Cum Laude

by one-hundredth of a point as a result.  But I won’t

haggle over fractions of points with over one hundred

students.  Your letter grade will be calculated within

Blackboard.  You have numerous opportunities to

supplement your grade in my classes;

I suggest taking every opportunity)

 

ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT MOST OF THEM SHOULDN'T BE ONE IN POLITE SOCIETY ANYWAY, ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE DISTRACTING TO ME AND OTHERS.  DEPENDING ON MY MOOD, DOING ANY OF THE ABOVE MAY DRAW MY WRATH, RANCOR, IRE, ETC.

 

 J IT IS OK TO . . .

 

USE YOUR INTELLECT

(Process what you're hearing

and think about it)

 

TAPE RECORD LECTURES

(Why no one does this is a mystery to me)

 

CHALLENGE MY FACTS OR OPINIONS

(While I have a right to academic freedom,

that doesn't mean you can't challenge me;

what you need to do is be polite and make a

logical and reasoned response.  Remember:

we all have a right to our own opinions, not

our own facts)

 

QUESTION WHAT YOU ARE BEING TOLD

(Don't let anyone spoon-feed you the "truth")

 

INTERRUPT TO ASK A PERTINENT QUESTION

(Stay on track so you don't de-rail my train of thought, though)

 

INTERRUPT TO MAKE AN INTERESTING COMMENT

(If you have experienced something that's

relevant to the topic, please share it with all of us)

 

TELL ME WHAT YOU LIKE OR DISLIKE ABOUT THE COURSE

(I take your opinion seriously; just about all of the improvements to

this course have come from written student evaluations and other

comments - and a pat on the back once in a while helps too!)

 

QUIETLY DRINK IN CLASS
(Non-alcoholic beverages only, please,

and no dregs slurping)
 

GET TO KNOW ME

(I've led a fairly interesting life and I don't bite - at least not so that

it breaks the skin - so don't be shy about talking to me; do keep

in mind that students do this so infrequently that I'll probably

talk your ear off)

 

REMEMBER:

THIS CLASS IS NOT SO LARGE THAT YOU CAN BECOME INVISIBLE, SO WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE. SCOWLING, SLOUCHING, SLEEPING, YAWNING, OR OTHER OVERT EXPRESSIONS OF BOREDOM WILL DRAW MY ATTENTION; DON'T BE SURPRISED IF I STOP AND ASK WHAT THE PROBLEM IS!

Updated August 27, 2013
© David S. Hardin
 

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