At the beginning of each semester, the rules of my course are presented. Aside from the general syllabus stuff I make it known that there are unacceptable behaviors in my classroom. A few of the biggies are not eating or drinking in the room, silencing cellphones, and avoiding doing anything that will cause disruption or distraction to me or their fellow students.
I even take the time to forewarn the students that I will call them out and probably embarrass them if they choose to ignore the rules of conduct. To be fair, I give them a grace period of about 2 weeks to make their mistakes, and I politely point out when they are breaking the rules with a t ap on the shoulder or a general comment to the whole class.
Yesterday I was lecturing away and these two students in the back of the room were having a conversation. Mind you, there are only 25 students in my classes and I see and hear everything. Not only that, I can tell the difference between when a student is just conversing and when a student is actually engaged in what I am saying and has an “Ah-ha” moment, suddenly feeling the need to relate something to a nearby classmate.
Anyway, mid-sentence, I stopped and said, “Can we stop talking in the back of the room?” And I gave the look. They stopped talking… for a second. Much to my surprise, the students started talking again moments later! These are the same two students who I chose not to address in the past, thinking it was a one-time thing. These are the same two students I had to quiet down when others were still completing a quiz the week before.
And so it goes. They’ve sealed their fate with me. I’ve given them enough chances and now they are on my list. It’s time to turn some faces red. Watch out, you two, I’ve figured out your names now and I’m going to use them… and it’s not going to be pretty.