The University provides guidelines to civil behavior in the classroom. But I want to add some of my own. The reason is that I love teaching and I feel very passionate about it. To that end, I try to create a fun learning environment. But, I want to emphasize the LEARNING in the previous sentence. Unfortunately, it takes only one or two students engaging in uncivil behavior to take some of my enthusiasm away.
Some of you sociology majors have heard the word, alienation, before. Karl Marx may have been wrong about many, many things, but he was incredibly insightful with the creation of the term, alienation. Alienation is created when workers are separated from the labor process, creativity, the product of labor and other workers. Both professors and students are alienated in a way.
Students are alienated when they "choose" college because they feel it is the ONLY way to provide them with the material luxuries they desire. In other words, students who are alienated do not feel that college is exciting because it is an arena in which students get to explore multiple ways of knowing, rather such students feel college is exciting because with a degree they can buy a big house with lots of bathrooms!
Professors are alienated also. Many of us have chosen academia, not because of the big bucks, but because we believe that education is a powerful tool for progress. Unfortunately, alienated students breed alienated faculty. This is because alienated students feel more comfortable engaging in uncivil classroom behavior. Here are some examples of what I mean:
1) As I was teaching one day, a student stood outside the classroom in the hallway and said, "Professor. Professor. I need to talk with you." Automatically, I thought, "Oh no, something happened to someone in my family." While it didn't make sense that a student might know this, it was the only good reason I thought a student might have to disturb an entire class. I went into the hallway. The student then said, "I just wanted you to know I had a family emergency and couldn't attend class today."
2) Same student came to me before class one day and said, "I need to talk with you." I said, "I'm busy right now, why don't you hang around after class." He then loudly said, "All you soc. professors think the world revolves around you. That we need to bend to your beck and call. It's not always about YOU!"
3) One semester, a student brought his computer to class every day and played computer games while we had class. I didn't notice until another student informed me.
4) I had a student text message her friends while in class, and then she got angry when I asked her to put her phone away.
5) I've had studens roll their eyes and sigh in disgust when discussing either a) course material or b) requirements for the class. Actually, this happens quite often and conveys that students expect not to think about things differently or have work to do outside of class.
6) One student was so angry that two other students were talking during class that she stood up and began yelling at them, using inappropriate language.
If you are still not sure exactly what I might consider uncivil behavior, here's a list:
The List of My Expectations to Ensure Civil Behavior:
1) Turn your phone either "off" or on vibrate in emergency situations. Do not take calls while in class.
2) Do not roll your eyes, sigh loudly, fold your arms in disgust or other like behavior if you are feeling uncomfortable with the topic or if you feel there is too much work required in the class. Read the syllabus prior to entering class and drop the class if you feel the subject matter might be too controversial or if you feel the workload is too much.
3) Do not expect me to be available directly prior to or after class. Sometimes I am free, but lots of times I'm busy. If you are unable to see me for my office hours, set up a time to meet with me at another date.
4) If you must be perpetually tardy, please explain the reason to me before you decide to be tardy.
5) If you must be tardy occasionally, come in quietly and sit at the closest available seat. Please don't find your friend or your usual spot.
6) Do not bring a computer to class to play games. Don't use your phone for games or text messaging. Don't listen to music. If you need to engage in such activities, don't come to class.
7) If for some reason you are late or tardy, do not expect me to tell you what happened during class while you were absent.. Find another person who can give you that information.
8) I think talking in class quietly can be productive when you are discussing the material. However, both talking loudly and often are distracting. So, please try to save useful side conversations for the times when they are necessary.
9) Please, Please do not yell at myself or any other student in the class. Yeow! If you are troubled, let me know in a respectful way about your concern.
10) Please only leave and re-enter class for a very good reason. Make sure you go to the bathroom, buy junkfood or make that important call before class. I understand that sometimes nature calls and you just have to leave, however, I would like you to limit such emergencies.