Do I Look Like A TA To You?

by admin on September 12, 2011

I recently started college at a well-known public university.  Maybe I was expecting too much of my classmates (the standards for admissions here are reasonably strict, though certainly not extreme), but I’m a little shocked at my experience in Calculus today.
The first thing you should know is that I’m not a touchy-feely person.  Two years ago, I was diagnosed with panic disorder.  As a result, I am terrified of crowds and generally like my personal space.  Adjusting to university life has been difficult for me.  My condition also made it very difficult for me to keep my grades up in high school, since I was having panic attacks daily for a good year or so.
That being said, because I’ve been known for having good grades from a young age, I’ve dealt with way too many people thinking that this means I’m completely willing to help them with everything.  Sure, I don’t mind answering a question, clarifying something the teacher said, etc.  I don’t mind helping people.  But once they’ve started to distract me from my learning, or taking my work, I’m no longer willing to go out of my way for them.  They’re on their own.
This morning, at my 8AM calculus class, a boy came in 15 minutes late and sat down next to me.  He must have overslept, but it’s not the worst crime in the world, so I didn’t think much when he asked me a couple of questions about what the teacher was going over.  Slightly annoying, as I was trying to take notes, but certainly not worthy of Etiquette Hell.
The problem was, he didn’t stop asking me things, the entire class.  And it wasn’t just about what was going on.  He was literally reading my notes over my shoulder and asking me things about them!  I was writing important points next to some problems from the book that I had done, and he asked me if that was homework.  Well, no, but we have a quiz tomorrow and I wanted to be prepared.  He was genuinely shocked that there was a quiz tomorrow and proceeded to ask me how I knew this. (I can only guess he didn’t bother showing up to his discussion section on time either), what was on it, etc.  All during a lecture!  I started to answer more curtly.  I would deflect him by saying,”I don’t know,”  or, “Why don’t you ask the teacher?”  But he WOULDN’T STOP.  All while he’s reading my notes over my shoulder!
So finally, about 15 minutes later (and 10 minutes from the end of class), I put my foot down.  I wrote, in large, capital letters, on the side of my notes:  I’M NOT YOUR TEACHER!!!!  He seemed annoyed, and started asking the people behind us for help, instead.  At the end of the class, he apologized, but the way in which he said it made it clear that he did not expect me to mind his invasion of my personal space.
What do you think, Miss Jeanne?  Did I handle this situation appropriately?  I expect to run into more people like this boy in my college career, and want to make sure I’m making myself clear without earning too many enemies.  As much as this bothers me, I also know that people don’t know what I went through with keeping my grades up and being pestered by free-loaders in high school.   0907-11

{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

AS September 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm

@Phyllis: people often forget that any right is most of the time associated with a set of duties. It is a student’s right to get what they paid for, but it is also their duty to be on time to the class, and not disturb other students who paid for the class too. The tardy student is not the only person paying, and they are blatantly disrespecting the instructor as well as other fellow students. If someone has to run between classes, it might be useful to contact the instructor before; though I doubt there was a class before an 8AM class in this story. Additionally, the role of teachers is to “teach” students, and some of my best teachers have gone further than just teaching me subjects to teaching me valuable lessons in life.

BTW, whenever I teach, I give students a quiz in the first 10 minutes of class. They’ll miss the quiz grade for the day if they come later than 10 minutes. I usually didn’t count the worst one or two scores in the final grades, so a student who came late one day due to unforeseen circumstances didn’t have to worry about the missing the quiz. But it would affect the grades of someone who is chronically late.

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Dannysgirl September 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Whatever the policies were concerning tardies and locked doors is irrelevant, now. It *is* policy on a lot of campuses to lock the door for safety reasons. I’m sure a professor would be willing to make exceptions for students in Allie’s position. I asked DH about this, and he would work with someone in her situation.
@Phyllis: Everyone else in the class has paid to be there, too. They want to hear the lecture just as much as a tardy student does. On time students should be able to listen in peace.

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Caper September 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm

“To those who do think it is acceptable to lock students out of a classroom – they are paying for this class and locking them out is unacceptable.”

Yes, but when you agree to attend the university, you agree to adhere to those policies. If your prof’s policy is no latecomers, then so be it. When you come late, you disrupt me therefor taking away from what I am paying for. How would you feel if I asked you to reimburse me every time you disturbed me in class ?

When you are in university, you are an adult. Part of being an adult is showing up on time or facing the consequences. If there is a scheduling conflict, it is on you to speak with the professor and work something out. To think that just because you pay for something, you can do as you wish is just a touch entitled.

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The Other Amber September 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm

OP – good for you! When I was a student I always hated when people talked in class and would sit close to the front where it was less likely to happen.

@Amp2140 – yes there is something you can do with your laptop! 3M makes a privacy screen, it just slips on over the laptop screen and is removable when you want to take it off. It makes it so that you have to be seated directly in front of the laptop in order to see the screen. I had one for my old laptop and it was wonderful using it in certain instances, like on airplanes.

@Alex S. – the anxiety is part of the story, it explains her state of mind in not putting an end to it earlier.

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SS September 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm

To the people that say that they can be late because they paid for the class. .. Please remember, everyone else in that class also paid to be there. They should not have their learning disrupted by latecomers. Yes, walking in, getting your books out, and preparing to pay attention are all disrupting even when you try to ignore the newcomer. The needs of the many outweight the needs of the one. There have been rules at every college I’ve attended that said that a student that disrupts a class will not be tolerated. Arriving late is disruptive.

That said, if you are going to be consistently late to a class through no fault of your own (because of another class) then I agree the professor should be notified ahead of time so that you can make arrangements to arrive late. That is basic courtesy.

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--E September 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Enemies, schmenimies. This is college, not junior high school.

You were way too accommodating. You should have told him after his second attempt to claim your time that you’re trying to pay attention to the class. If you were feeling very nice you could offer to help him catch up afterward, but frankly, I don’t think that would be necessary for anyone you weren’t already friendly with.

I am reminded of many years ago when a fellow classmate, who hadn’t said three words to me all semester, plopped down next to me in the hallway while we were waiting to be let in to our final exam. He started asking me all sorts of questions about the material. I turned to him, said, “I’m going over my notes right now, and I don’t have time to tutor you on a whole semester’s worth of material.” He said, “But I just wanted to ask–” and I cut him off with, “No, you wanted to glom onto a person who’s getting an A in the class, but who you haven’t deigned to say hello to before today. Go away.”

I tell you, the best part of getting older (I was only 25, but that still made me much older than a 19-year-old, particularly in college) is that you develop the ability to just say things flat-out, and to take no prisoners where borons are trying to take advantage of you and co-opt your time.

Time is your most valuable commodity. Don’t let other people waste yours.

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Zhoen September 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Always sit in the front row. Idiots like that never go there, and you will be surrounded by serious students.

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Lyssie September 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Phyllis and others who take issue with professors locking doors – I am a professor and I lock the doors once I begin lecturing. Otherwise, students feel it is appropriate to walk in and out of the room throughout my lecture. This is distracting to the other students in the class who, by the way, also paid to be in the class. I seriously dislike the whole “I paid for this!” mentality that many students have. Yes, you paid for the opportunity to learn in a course. That does not absolve you from paying basic respect to your classmates and the lecturer by coming to class on time and causing as few distractions as possible.

Allie – I am required by the federal government to take attendance at my university. Students who do not attend classes are dropped from student status and forfeit their grants and loans. Unfortunately, some people were enrolling in classes, taking the maximum out in loans, then never attending courses. This was not the purpose of our educational loan system and the new attendance rules were put in place for that reason. My university’s policy is that more than 6 absences in a course causes a student to receive an automatic “F” for the class. I teach at a public 25,000+ student college in the southern US.

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Balletmom September 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Obviously, not a student I taught in elementary school. I work really hard to make even my primary students aware that there is a difference between working together, and enabling another student to not perform because you rescue them, or expecting another student to rescue you because you aren’t working. I also try to teach life/school strategies. Don’t know what page we’re on? Look around before you ask. Don’t know what to do? Look at most of the people in your group.

I don’t find the “I am not your teacher” rude. I find it matter of fact and to the point.

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grumpy_otter September 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm

@Phyllis

Others have already covered this well, and I stand by my policy. I just wanted to add that if habitually late students would like private tutoring sessions to schedule at their leisure, they can pay me singly what I normally get for teaching 30. I implemented the policy two years ago, and not for students who one time have an emergency–I implemented it because there are some students who are habitually late.

I tried late passes–where you get one free, and stacking trash cans by the door to make it embarrassing, and nothing worked. So this.

This is college–attendance is not part of the course grade, and I offer extra credit to make up any assignments with points.

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Livvie September 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I think you were a bit harsh. You may not like what he did, but many would have no problem, and even welcome having a bit of human contact. A simple- sorry, shhh, I’m trying to listen, would have gotten your point across. Your having an anxiety disorder doesn’t get you off the hook from standing up for yourself.

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The Other Amber September 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm

On the locking the door issue – can the doors be opened from the inside when they’re locked? What about a student who *needs* to leave class during lecture, can they get back in? I ask because one time when I was in university I had managed to get food poisoning and quite suddenly had to bolt from class. I’ve also known several people with various physical ailments and disabilities who have sometimes had to use the restroom without much warning, who would need the ability to leave class and then return.

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PattyAnne September 12, 2011 at 11:37 pm

OP, I think you were just fine. He was imposing on your personal space. He did not take the “hints” to beat it. Heck, you did better than I did..I would’ve gotten up and moved.

In college, it’s time to grow up. He needs to take responsibility to get his own notes and studying done. It’s not your problem. I never went to college, but to me, it’s seems like a lot of money to waste on partying and sleeping in late.

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Snowy September 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Step one: “I’m sorry; I can’t do that and listen to you at the same time. Catch what you can from the lecture and after class, I’ll spend a few minutes helping you catch up on what you missed today.”

Step two: “Really, I can’t hear and take notes while talking to you. I need to focus, catch me after class. I can give you ten minutes of my time before I have to be at my next appointment.”

And if he persisted, “Your failure to attend and pay attention to class is not my urgency. Please stop talking to me.” Or just get up and move seats.

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KitKat September 12, 2011 at 11:45 pm

I’m just finishing college and the group of girls I went through with and I would share our notes quietly during class if we missed a word or two. We’d actually normally just slide our notebook over on the desk. And I’ve found that not all professors pay attention to what goes on in their class. I sat in the front row for one class I took. One of the days I had a conversation with the guy BEHIND me about our shared math class. The professor never said a word. That also doesn’t count the regular conversations I’d have with the three other people in the front row.
I like the way you handled that but I do agree that the response could have been a bit sooner.

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Cordelia September 13, 2011 at 12:21 am

Yes, you lock the door AFTER you’re aware that there’s a threat. If someone is trying to warn several classrooms or take refuge in yours, having the door locked holds them up.

Also, it’s rude in that it assumes anyone who comes in late either doesn’t have a good excuse or would always be disruptive. When I had to come in late, I always took out my laptop in the hallway so that the zipper and startup noises wouldn’t bother anyone during the lecture, and took the closest possible seat. When I had to run outside to take an urgent phone call, I always sent an apology to the professor after class and explained the urgency – sometimes they hadn’t even noticed.

But when I had to take a required class from Professor Doorlock, I couldn’t leave to use the restroom (because I wouldn’t be able to get back in, natch). We weren’t allowed to interrupt the All-Important Lecture for such a petty human weakness, so I had to painfully hold it for over an hour.

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Crystal September 13, 2011 at 3:37 am

Just a point of interest for the folks that have pointed out that no college they know of takes attendance… In my college/university experience (one university in the west, a community college in the northeast, and a college in the far south), each of the institutions had policies of attendance and tardiness affecting grades. I’m guessing at some point, professors voiced their concerns about prennially late students to administration, so now they are required to turn in formal records of attendance, tardiness, and how it is calculated with each student’s final grade. This way, if there’s an unforeseen problem once or twice, it’s not going to be a big deal, but constant attendance issues are likely to get you kicked out of most academic programs altogether.

More on topic, though, I applaud your ability to stick up for yourself without making a scene, OP. No need to take it personally when the leeching student gets flippant about you not being overjoyed to let him latch onto you. Perhaps he should take some notes of his own in class and ask someone for real tutoring sessions outside of class if he’s that confused.

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lkb September 13, 2011 at 5:51 am

KitKat said in part: “I sat in the front row for one class I took. One of the days I had a conversation with the guy BEHIND me about our shared math class. The professor never said a word. That also doesn’t count the regular conversations I’d have with the three other people in the front row.”

I guess I don’t understand how this is not rude. No, the professor didn’t say anything but what about the other students in the class who were trying to listen?

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JennJenn68 September 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

People who take exception to door-locking to stop latecomers: Have you any idea how distracting even your movement to your seat is to people who are trying to focus on the lecturer? The human brain is hardwired to make the eyes track any sort of movement around one; it’s a survival mechanism that dates back to when large predators were the rule rather than the exception. Even if you unzip all of your zippers and have your laptop in hand, or whatever, just the act of moving to your seat late is a huge distraction for everyone in the room, especially the lecturer, who is trying to hold the attention of all. If the lecturer is already aware that you have issues with getting there on time because of class locations, he/she will find it easy to tolerate, but if you simply can’t get your act together for what you consider “a very good reason” (and for many of these chronic tardy-ists, “oversleeping” or “not being able to decide what to wear” constitutes “a very good reason”) then you need to grow up and show up on time. In the real world, being late for work will eventually result in getting your can booted out of there. Better to start learning the lesson in university. Yes, okay, there is the occasional “medical emergency”–but I’m sorry, if a normal human being cannot manage to go for one hour on a regular basis without having to perform a basic bodily function, he or she needs to get to a medical practitioner because there’s definitely something wrong. (And no, I don’t count Crohn’s or its ilk, or IBD, or whatever. Mind you, there again a few quiet words to the lecturer at the beginning of the semester are compulsory at that point!)

People who think it’s okay to bother other people in the class during the lecture are never to be tolerated. As far as I’m concerned, there is never a good reason to disrupt a class while it is in progress, unless someone is ill or on fire. (I really meant the room being on fire… but I kind of like how that last sentence turned out!)

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Caper September 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

“Yes, you lock the door AFTER you’re aware that there’s a threat. If someone is trying to warn several classrooms or take refuge in yours, having the door locked holds them up.”

At each school I attended, if there’s a threat, running classroom to classroom was the LAST thing you were allowed to do. Being in the hallway was a big no-no. The doors automatically locked so outsiders couldn’t get in, and we had an intercom (which most schools do by now..) that would warn of the threat. Locking the door before the threat is far safer.

And if there is a threat, and you’re out in the hall, unfortunately but it made sense, the policy was that you could not be let in. The door was never allowed to be opened during a threat, be it a false alarm or a person shooting up the place.

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The Other Amber September 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I know how distracting latecomers can be to a class. I also know that it’s entirely possible to ignore latecomers and actually focus on the lecture. For the record, during my time in University I think I was late for class maybe twice – I was always the student that was habitually early. I was also a TA for a decade, worked at the university for many years after graduating, and I’m now married to a professor. No class that I’ve been in or have TA’d for has ever taken attendance, no professor of mine has ever locked the door, and my DH wouldn’t dream of doing it.

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Saralee September 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Next time this happens, tell them you charge $150/hour for tutoring, and if they want to make an appointment, they can speak to you after class. Any questions after that can be answered in three little words: NO FREE SAMPLES.

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KitKat September 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm

@lkb: I was pointing out that not all professors pay attention to what goes on in class. I never said that it was rude or not (even though I totally understand that it was rude). As for the other students, they were also holding conversations that were further off topic and just a tiny bit louder.

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grumpy_otter September 14, 2011 at 4:53 am

@The Other Amber

If the door were not a safety door, I would not lock it. It only locks from the outside.

If all students were as polite as most on this thread seem to be, I wouldn’t need the policy.

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Mechtilde September 14, 2011 at 5:41 am

We didn’t have a problem with people arriving late to lectures when I was at University. There was a very simple reason for this. The head of department always had a sort of “Welcome Lecture” for new students. It was one of the first we attended.

Inevitably, about five minutes after he had started a couple of people arrived late. He told them, in no uncertain terms that their lateness was unacceptable, that they must never arrive late to a lecture again, and that they had to leave. Immediately.

No-one was late to his lectures, and it had a knock on effect for the other lecturers too.

No-one messed with Professor K…… and he didn’t NEED to lock the doors!

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Miss Raven, from another angle September 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Has anyone yet mentioned the possibility that the glomming-on, chit-chatting and invasion of the OP’s personal space was this guy’s misguided attempt at flirting? To me it sounds almost like a series of subtle come-ons, like perhaps he saw you were really taking interest in the material and wanted to get your attention. Who sits there in lecture and continuously nudges the person next to them all the way through? Seems like you may have an admirer, OP.

This is not to disregard the etiquette breaches at hand. Misguided, to be sure. Especially if he couldn’t see how blasted uncomfortable you were with his popping your space bubble. But then, college-age guys aren’t known to for being super astute.

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FlatCat September 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I am both a recent college grad and a big sister and so feel compelled to give the best advice I have on your situation, since you are right, it will come up repeatedly in your college experience.

If someone comes in late, its both polite and kind to quickly tip them off on what page the class is on or what topic is being covered. Crucial announcements, like quizzes or papers can wait until the end of class. If its someone you know and trust, you might even lend them your notes to copy for what they missed (but be *very* careful with that! Its more than okay to say no if someone asks).

If the person persists in pestering you, they are being rude to both you and those seated around you by detracting from your educational experience. You should tell them *once* to ask the teacher; after that, simply ignore them or shrug your shoulders. Any more than that and you’re going to encourage continued rude behave, rude to both you personally and those around the two of you.
If it feels rude to ignore him, just remember that you are doing the polite thing for everyone’s sake.

Also, passive aggressive though it may be, you are perfectly entitled to move your notes away from some nosy person reading over your shoulder.

I hope you have a great time at college! It really is wonderful chance to find your niche!

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Edhla September 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm

I have a colleague who does this. We have both been working a call centre for about six weeks, and are therefore kind of new and just out of training. We’re both learning. My colleague, however, refuses to ask for help from managers and seniors (this is the seniors’ one and only job, to assist other operators.) She insists they aren’t helpful and are rude to her. (They’re OK with me and, I presume, everyone else.)

The upshot is that if she gets a call and requires help, she will actually go to me (I’m as well trained as she is, remember!) or other workers, some of whom are actually on calls at the time, and demand help. It’s SO frustrating. She seems to think we have nothing better to do.

I put up with it at first for various reasons I won’t go in to. Now I’m fairly firm. “I would hate to tell you the wrong thing, since I’m as new as you are. Look, x senior is over there and looks free, why don’t you ask them?”

Then, if necessary/relevant, I return to my call and ignore her. She usually stamps off and growls that she’s “looking for another job.”

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Edhla September 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Also, on the door locking issue- WHAT.

As someone with a physical disability who needs to use the bathroom frequently and without warning… wow. I would be reporting whichever professor prevented me from using the bathroom and/or re-entering the class afterward for discrimination.

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Caper September 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

Edhla – Discrimination ? What ? I’m sorry for saying, but that is incredibly ridiculous. If you have a disability that prevents you from getting to class or having to leave and be disruptive multiple times, as many have said in the comments, it is 100% on you to tell the prof. before hand, and they will make accommodations.

If you don’t tell the prof. they wouldn’t know. Same as at a work place – it would be on you to inform your employer or HR of whatever is going on in your life that is causing you to go to the bathroom multiple times a day. If you don’t tell them and you get a write up, it’s your own fault for not opening your mouth sooner and alerting someone of the issue.

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abcd September 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm

As a habitual late-comer, I have to admit that it is a bit distracting but it really depends mostly on the positioning of the door, whether it’s in front or at the back. And honestly, there are far more distracting activities than just entering the door. Besides, people could always choose to ignore stuff if they are really focused on learning and listening. Watch the basketball video with a dancing bear as proof. Also, I believe that attendance should not be part of the grades. I once had a course wherein my grade was 99% but was revised to 74% because of my habitual tardiness. It eventually cost me the number 1 spot in the Dean’s list.

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Cat September 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

If you want to wait until there is a threat to lock a door these days, pray that your classroom is not the one that makes the threat viable. Sure, wait till someone kills the prof and half the class so that everyone else knows to lock their doors.

No one calls the school at 7 am and says, “I’ll be over at 11 am to start shooting in the chemistry building, first floor, room 101.” They go to the chemistry building and start shooting. Then you get a cell phone text that there is a threat. Pray that you are still alive to read it.

As to the boy who wanted a tutor. Tell him to back off and, next time, sit somewhere where there are no empty seats. I had one who wanted me to be “his woman” and I stopped him by sitting next to a guy I had dated in the row behind.

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Annaham September 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I think you absolutely did the right thing. Hopefully this guy will learn not to disrupt other people anymore if enough people tell him off.

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DSA September 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I am another door-locking prof. For those of you freaking out about school shooters, there have been a dozen in the last 20 years with how many millions and millions of classes per year, so I’ll take that chance. Edhla, I allow for bathroom emergencies or other circumstances; I’m not inhumane. But it is your responsibility to let your instructors know on the first day of class if you have conditions that need special accommodations like that. (It’s amazing to me how many of my students would have sudden disabilities or learning disorders right around Week 12 when they were failing my class.) But I cannot underestimate how distracting, discourteous, rude and ridiculous it is to be late for a class, and 95% of my latecomers did it on a regular basis, too. I tried scheduling quizzes that they’d miss in the first 10 minutes of class, but not only did that not deter them, but they’d often disrupt class in the middle of a quiz, too. Then there were the students who’d come and go despite breaks to take phone calls (“I’m sorry, teacher, I’m having some problems with my boyfriend!”) or go in pairs to the bathroom or go get munchies to fuel their wake-and-bakes. Finally, I started locking the classroom door at 2 minutes after class start time and posted an assignment. If you were late, you went to the library, did the assignment, and turned it in to me at the end of class, and you’d still get credit for attending. My class, my rules. If you don’t like it, drop and take it with someone else.

When I’m teaching, I can’t just wander in whenever I feel like it, or show up late 40% of the time because I overslept or traffic was bad. If I have to be there on time, so do you.

(Despite students saying I was “mean,” my classes were always filled to capacity, I had students who took multiple classes with me, and my classroom reviews were 99% supportive.)

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TheBardess September 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

“Also, I believe that attendance should not be part of the grades. I once had a course wherein my grade was 99% but was revised to 74% because of my habitual tardiness. It eventually cost me the number 1 spot in the Dean’s list.”

Well then, maybe you should have made the effort to actually get to class on time. Sorry, but my sympathies are all with the professor here. Habitual tardiness is extremely rude and disrespectful, and expecting people to simply overlook it or make exceptions for you, or for there to be no repercussions at all is extremely entitled. Unless you have some sort of disability that requires special accommodation, it is your job to abide by class policies- not the job of the professor to adjust his policies just for you. If good grades are important to you, it is your job to earn them- not just by doing the work, but by participating in class and arriving on time. It is not the job of the professor to just give you As despite your demonstrated lack of respect for him/her, your fellow students, and the class policies. Sorry, you’re just not that special. Nor are you entitled to your “Number 1 spot in the Dean’s list,” which rightly went to another student who was willing to put in all the work necessary to earn it.

And while one person sneaking quietly in after class has started might not be that distracting, a steady stream of latecomers can be *very* distracting. Making attendance part of the grade can help to discourage that.

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abcd September 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

To the Bardess

Well in my case, the professor actually revised school policies to punish latecomers. It was actually stated in the school policy that attendance should not be taken into account when computing for grades. I did make an effort but eventually, I missed a class and came in tardy a couple of times. Funny though that there were times wherein we were doing nothing in the classroom.

Don’t you find it absurd that many schools now focus on attendance more than actual learning. In many of my classes, many of those who had perfect attendance struggled and some eventually failed. (You wonder then what these people were doing inside the class.) Then I find out that some aim for perfect attendance because by the end of the semester, the professor gives extra credit to those who had perfect attendance, credits that hopefully would be enough for them to pass.

I understand that my tardiness may have been distracting for some but you can only be distracted if you’re not focused. Life is full of distractions, why should the classroom be any different.

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Kate September 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Aw, you found a slacker who knows how to flirt to get ahead. Get used to it. On the upside, they usually only flirt if you’re cute. I used to write, “I’m busy now but can help after class if you like.” I’m now dating the guy who tried that move in my college physics class oh so many years ago. Of course, he failed physics because he studied my breasts instead, but he’s lovely anyway.

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Enna September 28, 2011 at 11:14 am

When I was at school some people were late for class so the school introduced a policy of ringing the bell five mintutes before morning registraion strated then five mintutes at the strat of registraion. They did this at the end of break and at the end of lunch, giving the pupils 5 mintues to finish their break or to hurry up if they were going to be a bit late. This did help remind some children and did help.

At sixth form where we had a different site we didn’t have a bell but as we wanted to be there most people were on time. What could be difficult is having one lesson at the sixthform site and then the next at the main school site which was easily a 10 minute walk. None of the teachers had a “locked door policy” there but if someone was really late they would say so. Some late people are noisey and selfish but not all, some are very quiet and open the door so quietly unless you are direcly facing the door you wouldn’t know they are there.

As for university bigger lectures just mean that there is a higher chance of someone being late – lectuerers were aware that sometimes students had to walk from one side of the campus to the other and it can be difficult to be on time on the dot espically if the previous lecture has over run. The campus I went to was a long thing one and I had one lecture at one end of the campus and the following one on the oppisite end, the last but one building. Now if that lecturer had a “locked door” policy then I would have to change my lectures as it would be physically impossible for me as both lectures weren’t on ground floors but on first and second floors so it took me about 12 minutes to walk quickly from one to the other.

As for locking the door when a danger has arrived I’m not too sure about this. Although if the door is locked and there is a fire there is a danger the lock may jam the door shut and it would take valuble minutes to kick the door down: providing the room is on the ground floor it is possible to escape out the windows however for rooms on the first floor and second floor etc locking the door would be a bad idea because climbing out the window may not be an option. But also if someone feels ill and HAS to leave, I remember once I got cramps so bad if the lecture hadn’t finished in twenty mintues I would have had to leave. In another lecture one studend didn’t look to well, kept clunching her tummy. I asked her if she was okay and she said she felt sick – after the lecture she ran to the toliets – if the door was locked and she had to go that could cause more disruption.

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Victoria October 7, 2011 at 7:40 am

tsk tsk… taking high school math classes in college

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dkm October 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Is that really necessary, Victoria? Many high schools do not offer Calculus (mine only offered Pre Calc), and it’s a very difficult subject for many.

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Twik October 17, 2011 at 9:28 am

I presume Victoria meant that the *behaviour* was what one would expect in high school, rather than that the material was.

Otherwise – yeah. I don’t see Calculus as something people should have learned completely *before* going to university.

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dkm October 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Ahh, in that case I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

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Lorali August 9, 2012 at 11:10 am

Dear OP,

Yes, I think you did handle this well, especially in light of your PD. You asked him politely, and he refused to co-operate. You had to get his attention, and I believe you did so.
One of my friends in lectures used to drive me up the wall by constantly talking – not even about the lecture, but readiing graffiti on her desk aloud, something that had happened to her, or showing me a new rubber/pen/notepad. She would bring up random topics that really could have waited until after the lecture – I would ask her to be quiet repeatedly, but she would be quiet for only five minutes before starting up again. Eventually it got so bad, I would try and avoid arriving with her so I could sit with someone else.

On another note, I hope you are coping ok with your Panic Disorder. Good luck =)

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