Life Lessons

Today in class, I found myself getting very frustrated with my students. I was attempting to wrangle 20 students to complete an activity in preparation for a big project due in a couple of weeks. The wrangling, apparently, was the easy part. It was the listening and paying attention that was problematic. I was astonished at how many times I had to repeat myself. I was astonished – despite my clear classroom policies – at how many phones were being used and how many laptops were opened and how many faces were looking down.

Whatever happened to respect and attention in the classroom? Apparently, listening is no longer important to students.

Today, I made my students aware of my displeasure. “We appear to have problems listening. It would be great if you paid attention so that I do not have to keep repeating myself.”

My colleagues and I have discussed and debated the pre-occupation of students on numerous occasions. Those of us who have a few years under our belt see the value of penalizing or correcting this type of student behavior. Then there are others who let it go, arguing that students have the choice to pay attention… or not. They don’t believe it is their responsibility to say anything since we are not their parents. My thing is, though, I just don’t understand how those instructors deal with questions that have already been answered and having to repeat themselves. Also, we are teachers. TEACHers. We guide our students. While, yes, we do have our specialties, isn’t it still important to teach life lessons sometimes? If we decide it’s not our responsibility, does it mean our responsibility stops once we leave the classroom?

If you are a teacher or even anyone with an opinion on this subject, I would love to read it.

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No Responses Yet to “Life Lessons”

  1. thedailydish Says:

    I’m not a teacher, but as a mother of 2 children growing up in a very different environment from the one I learned in, I find your post very interesting (and not a little troubling).

    I feel for you. It sounds like you are doing your best by your students, but they need to offer the same respect. Perhaps a “check it at the door” policy – akin to something some businesses require during meetings? No phones, no laptops, nothing. Just paper, pencil or pen, and attention.

    Best of luck to you, my friend.


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