Bad classroom manners impact whole class

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There’s nothing worse than the guy behind you in class singing Rihanna’s “Pon de Replay” lyrics for 50 minutes straight.

And that’s precisely the situation I found myself in last week. As I sat trying to take diligent notes and trying to be involved in the lecture, Rihanna’s lyrics coming from the ill-mannered guy behind me kept pulling my attention away from the class.

Classroom etiquette should be embraced by all.

I invest a great deal into my education. I wake up early when I’d rather hit snooze. I read textbooks when I’d rather be watching “Project Runway.” And, of course, I pay thousands of dollars all in the name of getting a valuable education.

So when other students take away from the worth of my education with their own distracting agendas, it makes me wish there was a finishing school for students with bad classroom manners. 

I’m big on being on time. In fact, on time to me is more like five minutes early. Sure, it’s not always easy to arrive at an 8 a.m. class on time. There’s traffic and long lines at Starbucks that hinder plans, but it’s not a valid excuse to waltz in the class consistently late.

Mobile devices are destroying the manners of students everywhere. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of a few in-class texts. A text to your boss here and a text to your mom there is reasonable, but giving full attention to a text conversation or a YouTube video in class isn’t polite. 

Believe it or not, I see way more Snapchats taken in class than I feel comfortable seeing. And every time a Snapchatter notices me noticing him or her taking a picture of their weird face, that person gets embarrassed. And that person should be embarrassed. It’s time for learning. It’s not time for strange, narcissistic selfies that end up distracting me and everyone else.

Respect should be a mutual agreement among students, faculty and staff. College is a place that houses diverse people with different challenges, and it’s important to make respect a priority in class. Many people are working hard to be in that class. Professors are working to prepare course material and students are fighting for a  degree, and it’s simply not right to demean that hard work with inappropriate behavior.

Higher education is a tremendous opportunity that can be easily taken for granted. Much of the world doesn’t have the chance to get an education, not to mention a college education. So, put down the phone, come to class on time, pay attention, and practice manners.

You’re lucky to be here.