I was in a concert today in Reno, and we were singing Ralph Vaughan Williams “A Sea Symphony”. We had just gotten through one of the more difficult parts of the second movement, and all of a sudden, we hear a familiar tone come from somewhere in the audience. It was the tone of someone’s cell phone turning on, and the AT&T theme playing during a time when you can hear a pin drop in a packed concert hall. I can only imagine that at least half of the choir and orchestra members were rolling their eyes or wanted to strangle those people.
Obviously this is a more drastic example of what would happen in a classroom situation, but the idea is the same. We all have had those classes where someone inevitably has their cell phone make a sound, where they constantly ask questions to the point of being disruptive, or turns around and talks to the person behind them while you’re trying to talk to the group. Many teachers have different ways to deal with these disruptions, and there are a number of different schools of thought on how the teacher should react to distractions in the classroom, but the fact remains, something must be done. You can set a very bad precedent if you leave the distractions as they are, as other students can see that as a sign of lost credibility, trust, and authority.
Whatever happens, you need to have a good policy of classroom management. You need to set up an environment of comfort and respect for the students, but ultimately you need to have a policy of discipline and authority so that you can maintain the class as needed. Set up (in your mind or class syllabus) an understanding that any disruptions to the class will be dealt with accordingly. Most importantly, follow through on that policy. Having a policy and not following it makes the teacher seem like they don’t care or don’t have the authority to keep students in line. It may make the difference between success or failure, not to mention the teacher keeping their job!
Ever had a student that won’t stop asking questions? Ever have a group of talkers that don’t regard you? Ever felt so irritated at a student that you want to just kick them out of your class? Stay tuned to see what you can do. It’s your class, and you have the right to impose order.
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures.net