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Do I Look Like A TA To You?

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

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kimberly September 12, 2011, 5:10 am

    I would have told him to hush long before you did – and in a more public way. Due to the nature of my learning disability his whispering questions in my ear or to the people behind me would have “drowned” out the professor. (My brain can’t shut him out and hear the professor). I would have given him one icy be quiet stare after the 1st question. Then I would have raised my hand and asked the professor to repeat what had just been said because I couldn’t hear due to side conversations going on around me. Yes it is calling someone on their bad behavior publicly, but I ‘ve paid to hear the professor not the student.

    Also by participating in the conversation you might have disturbed others around you. Your written communication to be quiet was brilliant.

  • grumpy_otter September 12, 2011, 5:17 am

    I’m a college history teacher and it surprises me that the instructor didn’t ask him to stop talking during the lecture. I welcome interruptions from students if they have questions–but they need to talk to me, not their neighbor. That low “buzz buzz buzz” talking is very distracting.

    I also do not allow students to come late to class–I lock the door after I take attendance. Too many students have told me how disruptive it is to have others come in late.

    That being said–many students look on college as a very collaborative experience. This young man does not know about the OP’s disorder and probably didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. How about “Sorry, I really need to concentrate on what the teacher is saying?”

  • Nadine September 12, 2011, 5:31 am

    You did good. I might have said “Go bother someone else” or something like that. Like you, I don’t mind the occasional request for help, but I don’t much feel like helping someone who can’t seem to get there on time or attend discussion sections.

  • Bint September 12, 2011, 5:37 am

    In fact, what you went through to get your grades is irrelevant – although well done. You could have found it incredibly easy to get good grades and it still wouldn’t have been appropriate for this boy to mooch off you. He needs to do his own work so well done for telling him, and he probably won’t ask the teacher because his lack of preparation would become clear.

    You will find loads of people like this at uni. It’s not to do with intelligence. Once you leave school you don’t have teachers driving you – you’re on your own – and many people don’t have the motivation although they have the brains. Never, ever let anyone mooch off you like this at uni, don’t lend out your notes, nothing. Some people are so brazen about using others in this way it’s amazing.

  • lkb September 12, 2011, 6:21 am

    I think you handled it well. Bravo!

    I don’t know why but it occurs to me that perhaps this was his ham-handed way of flirting with you. Oh well, too bad for him!

  • Nestholder September 12, 2011, 6:48 am

    I think the other student was very rude to be talking while the lecture was in progress. In your position I’d probably have said right at the beginning that I needed to listen to the professor, and could he please be quiet! I certainly don’t think the OP here was wrong to make this stop, and applaud the nicely silent way she found to do this—but actually, I think a note written sooner would have been a better idea, not just for the OP’s own benefit but for the rest of the students in the room, too.

  • josie September 12, 2011, 6:51 am

    Instead of reading your notes over your shoulder, he should of been listening and taking his own notes. My guess is that he breezed thru high school doing the same thing….depending on others to get his grades. You did the right thing.

  • K. September 12, 2011, 7:41 am

    I think you handled it great. I would not have thought of using a written note.

    Also, I wouldn’t sit near him on exam day…

  • SV September 12, 2011, 8:08 am

    I likely would have stopped it shortly after it became clear that he was not going to be quiet by simply saying ( or writing- brilliant move OP) “Could you please stop asking me questions? I can’t hear the lecture. ” University throws all different kinds of people together and although he doesn’t know your situation it is fair to say that you don’t know his either. Chances are he doesn’t have much of an excuse for being a mooch ( and no matter what, it isn’t yor responsibility to help him pass) but I would have tried to frame the refusal a little nicer. That being said, it does sound as though you gave him many chances to take the hint.

  • livvy17 September 12, 2011, 8:42 am

    I used to find, “I’m sorry, but I’m need to listen to this lecture” worked fine. If it was a friend, I might add, “We can talk after class.” If they interrupted again, they’d get “Shussh!”

    In an extreme situation, I’d pick up my stuff and down a few chairs if possible.

  • koolchicken September 12, 2011, 9:04 am

    You are way more polite than I would have been in this situation. I too have “issues” with people invading my personal space. Actually I would have been irked even if it were someone I was close to, if they weren’t just breathing down my neck but also disrupting class as well.

    I will say though I like your idea of writing him a note to tell him to buzz off. While the whole messy public “stuff it mooch” sounds appealing it makes you no better than him, cause then you would have disrupted the entire class. Of course thats always still an option if he doesn’t take the hint…

  • LovleAnjel September 12, 2011, 9:08 am

    That was brilliant. He won’t bother you again, and he’ll annoy himself out of the everyone’s good graces anyway.

  • Typo Tat September 12, 2011, 9:29 am

    OP, you were not rude to shut that boy up, but you should have done it much sooner, for your own sake as well as for your lector and neighbors.

    Next time, “Stop it, I’m trying to listen!” and “Could you NOT lean so close, it makes me uncomfortable”, will do the trick. The boy obviously didn’t mean harm, he apologized and all… you just need to be a bit more assertive about what you need.

  • ferretrick September 12, 2011, 9:44 am

    I think your way was fine, though I would have done it sooner. Another solution, if the room wasn’t crowded and you could do it without creating a disturbance, would be to simply change seats.

  • Aje September 12, 2011, 9:49 am

    Bravos and I second what K said. Freeloader… it’s one thing to come in late, but his behavior indicates that he knows nothing about the subject at all and isn’t willing to do his own work.

  • Elizabeth September 12, 2011, 9:55 am

    I think you were too tolerant, which encouraged his continued rudeness. I think I would have up and moved my seat away from him. (protect your personal space … no one else is going to)

  • Jojo September 12, 2011, 9:56 am

    OP did completely the right thing in telling the guy to go away. She should have done it way earlier. A curt suggestion to save his questions for the discussion section should be more than adequate.
    My Uni class had a blind student in it who frequently plagiarized the classmates whom she asked to ‘study’ with. We all considered this unacceptable. She had a very lonely final couple of years as a result. Her disability was the only thing that prevented the complaints made about her behavior being taken further.
    1. Sit at a corner at the front ( preferably putting a bag on the seat next to you)- then only one person can sit next to you and you can hear the lecturer.
    2. Get a study group together where each of you share notes that you’ve taken. It means that you’ve got a handy booklet of all the main points in lectures given ( even if you happen to miss a session or two) and is a godsend when it comes to exams. You don’t have to share information outside this study group and therefore cannot be taken advantage of. If someone shows genuine interest you can invite them to the group and give them a share of the work to do. It speeds up the process of sorting out the hangers on from the hard workers!
    3. Join a couple of clubs that you’re really going to enjoy outside of class. Preferably with people who aren’t doing your course. That way you can make loads of friends and you wont feel so worried about telling any freeloaders where to get off.

  • Spuck September 12, 2011, 10:03 am

    I think you handled it great. You could have handled it more loudly, but that in itself would have drawn more attention to yourself and fanned the flames of the anxiety.

    From someone else who had problems with anxiety in public places I suggest taking seats on the end of the row, near the door or window. Also if you don’t have to sit closer to the professor, make sure you are several rows back so you will end up with less people behind you.

  • Paige September 12, 2011, 10:09 am

    I think you handled this well although you let him linger a lot longer than I would. I also don’t understand why the teacher didn’t notice this going on and say something. I don’t blame you for being upset as I have high standards for college students as well and I went to a mediocre university; I had many similar experiences of people not paying attention and I was never shy to tell them that if they wanted to know, maybe they should be paying attention or asking the teacher. Cheers to you!

  • --Lia September 12, 2011, 10:11 am

    It worked, didn’t it? So it was the right thing to do. He was doing something he liked– hanging over your shoulder and asking questions. For nearly the whole class, he was rewarded with a response he liked– your attention and answers. When the dog biscuits stopped coming, um, er, the rewarding attention, he stopped that behavior– he bothered others. Well done! Dog training 101.

    Other possibilities might involve moving your seat, telling him you’d be glad to help him find a tutor later, or raising your hand and telling the teacher “he (pointing) needs this clarified.” But none of that’s necessary. You did fine.

    I’m not willing to come down too hard on him. I imagine his obnoxious behavior comes from his being in over his head and honestly not knowing how to navigate the college system. I’d bet that there are tons of resources to help students with calculus. That’s study guides, online tutors, teaching assistants, even the professor himself, but this young pup doesn’t know how to find them. He may have thought he was flirting and felt an adolescent’s disappointment at being rebuffed. Honestly, he sounds young and clueless, not evil and lazy. But that doesn’t matter! It’s not your responsibility to look out for his feelings. All you needed to do was extricate yourself from his distraction, and you did that. Keep up the good work.

  • Tyler September 12, 2011, 10:15 am

    I teach English composition at a university, and if an incident such as this were to happen in my class, I would want to know about it. I think you handled the situation brilliantly, but I also suggest you inform your teacher of this student’s actions. I’m just thinking worst case scenario here, but for instance, if he were to cheat on a test or quiz by looking over your shoulder, you could very well be accused of being an accomplice; I’ve seen it happen before. Also, your teacher may be able to intervene so that this student doesn’t pester you anymore.

  • Alex S. September 12, 2011, 10:16 am

    I’m also a college prof, and otter is right, it is VERY distracting. (and the Professor may think you are a willing participant in the conversation)

    So, I would suggest shutting the questioners down much sooner. You could be nice and offer to meet them later for a tutoring session. Then tell them your rates. 🙂

    Don’t be afraid to speak up and stand up for yourself. A simple ‘I need to pay attention to the professor right now.” or “this is not the time for this conversation, if you have a question, ask the professor”

    PS: as someone with anxiety, telling us about yours was not necessary and not a part of this story.

  • Enna September 12, 2011, 10:40 am

    OP you did very well, I like the other comments on here as well about the different ways of dealing with this kind of event. Personally I would have given him a glare, moved my stuff – it would be pretty obvious if you moved away from someone they were bugging you – panic attacks or not still no excuse. He could have waited to talk to the teacher at the end of the lesson or asked you at the end of the lesson. I would suggest maybe talking to your teacher about it, he/she could talk to the other student and explain that although it’s not a crime to be a little bit late e.g. 2 mins coming in too late does disrupt other students and it is unfair to badger them about the lesson, any questions should be directed at the teacher at an appriote time. If this is an indicater of what he is going to be like maybe he might not be around long – he could drop out.

    At Uni one lecturer actually shouted at two people for talking at the back “excuse me I’m talking”. One module we had two lectures together and the hall wasn’t well designed as there was a door at the front and a door at the back leading to another lecture hall. The lecuturer really hated it when people tried to take short cuts though his lectures before he had finsihed and would ask people to go “I am lecturing please go.” This may have been due poor timetable managuement. When the first lecture was finsihed at 10am he didn’t mind so long long as he hadn’t had strated his second lecture – he’d always allow us to have little break. A third time that really annoyed me and my firends was when some people were talking behind us and my firend said loud enough for them to hear and looking at them “I can’t hear because of THEM.” the lecturer could see it and was looking at them but didn’t say anything, although he would have been more then entittled too.

  • CaffeineKatie September 12, 2011, 10:45 am

    You were much more patient than I would have been–and writing “I’m not your teacher” instead of saying it and adding to the noise was a BRILLIANT solution. Well done!

  • AS September 12, 2011, 10:58 am

    OP, I feel for you. What you did was pretty good for the situation.

    I would suggest you start sitting in the front of the class. In that way the instructor would have a greater chance of noticing that someone is trying to disturb you and might take actions against the offender. Do you have an adviser or mentor in your University? You might want to talk to the person; if you don’t have one, the head of your program or UG coordinator, or someone in authority. They may be able to help you in some way. They might even put a word to the instructors of the classes you are taking to keep an eye on anyone trying to invade your space.

    You might also consider talking to a psychological counselor because you’ll probably come across such situations all your life. Counselors in Universities must have dealt like yours before. It should not cost you too much if you use the University’s health centre.

    I went to grad school in a very well known public University (I wonder if we are in the same Univ 🙂 ) and TAed some classes. You’d be surprised to know how many students seem below average given the strict standard they have for selection!

  • Molly September 12, 2011, 10:59 am

    He might have been (ineptly) trying to flirt with you. Maybe. That said, the way to eliminate the problem in the future is to sit in the first or second row. The late ones might be forced to sit up there due to lack of seats elsewhere, but they will also be directly under the teacher’s eyes and more likely to zip it.

    You did a good job of handling it IMO.

  • many bells down September 12, 2011, 11:04 am

    I second what K says. In my last math class the teacher mentioned that I’d gotten a perfect score on two exams. The next class, a guy who only attended intermittently started sitting directly behind me. I moved to the front of the room for the next exam. I’m a returning student, and a lot older than many of my classmates, and I’m not going to put up with crap like that.

    I didn’t mind helping people *before* class with homework problems, but the reason my grades are so good is because I come to class and pay attention. I can’t help anyone if I don’t know what’s going on either.

  • Amanda September 12, 2011, 11:06 am

    I’ve had none of those issues with school and I would still have been just as irritated by this student. While I’m sympathetic to those who, for one reason or another, made it to class late and are having trouble catching up, during lecture is not the time for individual tutoring, especially if they are asking a fellow student. Like others have said, this behavior is disruptive to other students and the instructor. Early on, I would have had no problem telling him that I (and he) needed to pay attention in order to not miss key points and get further behind, but that after class, or during should others seem to be just as lost, he could ask the instructor for direction.

  • Cordelia September 12, 2011, 11:31 am

    The solution to his very first intrusion is, “Shh! We can talk after class!”

    That’s what I always did – it ticks me off when people ask questions like that in the middle of class. If you need to know something, write it down on your own notes so you will remember to ask someone during the break or after class. If someone continues to yakety-yak after that, insist that they be quiet, or get up and move.

    Also, I have always hated professors who lock the door. I find it inconsiderate, not to mention incredibly dangerous if there’s an emergency or grave danger such as an active shooter. I never took a class with a door-locking professor if I could help it.

  • Another Laura September 12, 2011, 11:35 am

    I applaud professors like grumpy_otter who lock their doors after attendance is taken. If this became the norm at college level, I think more students would learn responsibility before they end up in the work world perpetually late and wonder why they have trouble keeping jobs. There are understandably some times when you can’t help running late due to unforseen circumstances, but if you are normally punctual and you get locked out of one class, it should be relatively easy to explain later to the prof and get missed notes/assignments.

    BTW OP, I think you did exactly right, and perhaps should have done it earlier, you were more patient than I would have been.

  • Rug Pilot September 12, 2011, 11:37 am

    I have a friend who constatntly questions everyone around him during meetings, lectures, and other events because he is too vain to wear his hearing aids. We all avoid sitting next to him. Even after the event he will crossexamine anyone who will listen about what the speaker said or meant. I try to avoid making eye contact when he walks into the room. After a large bunch of “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” he has given up on me. Fortunately.

  • Wendy September 12, 2011, 11:43 am

    This reminded me of a student who was a classmate in two classes when I was in college. He drove everyone nuts because he constantly chattered to himself (yes, out loud even!) during the lecture. In one class, every question the professor posed was answered with “The 100 years war?” Which was always wrong (and not remotely related). In the other class, a Civil War survey class with about 300 students, he’d just mutter to himself about what the professor was talking about the entire time. This lasted a couple days until the professor stopped the lecture and told him to either stop talking or leave. He was quiet that day…and toned his muttering down to a whisper. Unfortunately, too many colleges have no idea what kind of a student they’re actually accepting. OP’s classmate may have skated through high school doing this very thing…showing up late, then getting all the info from a classmate who thought it would be rude to tell him to shut up.

  • Amp2140 September 12, 2011, 11:44 am

    I’ve been dying to do that. I take notes on my computer, and I don’t have a tablet. I can’t help that the screen is more easily viewed by people behind me. I’ve been very tempted to write incorrect answers, or a note telling the person behind me to pay attention to the professor

  • Tiffany September 12, 2011, 11:54 am

    You were 100% correct. I’m somewhat surprised the instructor didn’t say anything either, but depending on where you were sitting, it’s probably hard to pinpoint where conversation is happening. An earlier commenter may be right that it was his extremely awkward attempt at flirting with you. Get used to it and good luck. All their attempts are awkward until they’re about 25 or so.

  • Nicole September 12, 2011, 11:57 am

    The guy was hitting on you.

  • ciotog September 12, 2011, 12:12 pm

    The professor should have said something. I don’t put up with students talking in class, if they’re not contributing to the discussion.

  • ellesee September 12, 2011, 12:29 pm

    I think that was a great way to handle it! It was direct and didn’t disturb others 🙂
    And do not worry about making ‘enemies’. Most public universities are huge and you probably won’t see this guy again. If so, very easy to ignore and he’ll probably ignore you too. If it’s a lecture hall, avoid sitting near the back since that’s where all the late comers will sit in; better to move up closer to the front.
    You will also find out that just because a college has high entry prereq’s, it does not necessarily mean *everybody* is hard working and responsible or smart.

  • Ashley September 12, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Even without the panic disorder involved, this guy was still being rude. I can’t believe the teacher didn’t do anything about it, if the teacher is supposed to be the only one talking, they ARE aware when other people are talking as well, unless they are hard of hearing or something. I think your response was appropriate.

    I got good grades throughout school, especially in English class. People knew this, and yes, they did try to take advantage of me for it. One day in an English class we were taking some sort of mini pop quiz that didn’t really count towards anything, and I noticed someone trying to copy my answers (It was an A/B/C/D answer sort of thing, you just had to circle the right answer.) So I started circling the wrong answers, and watched my classmate copy them all. I then took out a different color pen, circled the right answers as I was walking to my teachers desk to hand the paper in. I very quietly explained to him what happened, he laughed, looked at the kid who was cheating, laughed some more, and graded the correct answers. I got 100%, the cheater did not.

  • Cady September 12, 2011, 12:44 pm

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with simply saying, “I’m trying to listen to what the professor is saying.” Repeat as many times as necessary. If his asking everyone around you distracts you, there’s also nothing wrong with saying, “I can’t hear the professor. Please lower your voice.” Again, repeat as necessary. You are paying a lot of money for your education, no matter what school you are going to, and people who are distracting you from the lecture are essentially stealing from you. There is nothing wrong with asking people not to do this. Also, pro tip: The farther toward the front you sit in class, the less likely people who are late or who will want to talk through class will be to sit near you. Good luck in your studies!

  • TheVapors September 12, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I don’t think you were rude. You let it go on longer than I would’ve.

    After a couple questions I would’ve said something to the effect of, “I’m sorry. I can’t hear the professor. Maybe s/he can help you after.”

    If you’re concerned about being polite, you can be perfectly nice to him before and after class. Just keep it clear that during class, your attention is 100% on the professor, and you won’t put up with distractions.

  • Another Laura September 12, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Cordelia said “I have always hated professors who lock the door. I find it inconsiderate, not to mention incredibly dangerous if there’s an emergency or grave danger such as an active shooter.”

    I’m not sure how it could be inconsiderate. If it’s not locked until attendance is taken, that could be five plus minutes into the class (depending on the size of the room, and how it’s done). That should be ample time for most excusable lateness. It’s more inconsiderate in my opinion to show up late to class and disrupt everyone who took the trouble to be on time.

    As for the danger aspect, most doors to public buildings (such as on college campuses) can be locked to those wishing to enter without hindering those needing to exit-which is a good thing since almost all schools from elementary to high school are locked to those outside (except for the main entrance) but still allow people to leave from the exits for fire drills and real emergencies. So if you need to get out of a locked classroom, you can.

  • Library Diva September 12, 2011, 1:52 pm

    What that boy was doing was thoroughly obnoxious, rude and disruptive. You did absolutely no wrong in telling him off. I don’t think you need to speak to the professor, a counselor, or anyone else. You already know how to handle these situations beautifully. I’m guessing that you came here because you are the type of person that generally likes to be nice to everyone and being harsh feels weird to you (I’m like that too). In those instances, you just have to remind yourself that not every behavior calls for a kindly response.

    That boy needs to get the message that conscientious students aren’t there for lazy ones to take advantage of, and the sooner he learns that in college, the better. You helped catch him up for the 15 min he missed, and that was very considerate. Once he got his bearings, he should have been paying attention on his own, and talked to you after class if there were things he wanted to know that he didn’t feel comfortable asking the professor.

  • Dannysgirl September 12, 2011, 2:12 pm

    @Cordelia: If there is an active shooter situation, then being in a closed, locked classroom is safer. My DH is a university prof, and he said the faculty and staff have been told how to handle an active shooter, and locking the doors is one way. Isn’t the door locked from the outside, anyway? Students can’t come in, but they should be able to leave.
    Personally, I like the idea of locking the door. Yes, there are unforseen circumstances that make a student late. However, I think the majority of tardies come from oversleeping or lollygagging. I can see one late student not causing too much of a disruption, but where does the prof draw the line? Should five late students be allowed to come in after the lecture? I’m sorry, but I don’t want to hear coats rustling, bookbags unzipping, and papers shuffling while I listen to someone speak.

  • Phyllis September 12, 2011, 2:47 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. If I had ever been in a classroom and was locked out I would have written the professor a formal request letter for the money lost from that class. Professors are there to teach students a subject, not be their parents and ensure they are on time (and if not on time to punish them). I also agree that this is incredibly dangerous in case of an emergency and depending on the country/state is illegal.

  • Leela September 12, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Writing out your response was clever. Don’t feel bad about anything. Interfering with your college learning is considered theft, whatever his intentions, and you don’t have to be nice to thieves.

  • A.J. September 12, 2011, 3:33 pm

    I had a co-worker who would do this – he would apparently space out in meetings or something. He would look at my notes from the meeting, sometimes even turning my paper so he could read them better! I got tired of being his secretary and started taking my notes in a code that I understood and he didn’t. He started writing his own notes then.

  • Tara September 12, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I would’ve said “I’d love to help you, but I really need to pay attention to the lecture.”

    And then any further questions would get a hand wave and a shush. I’ve had this exact situation happen to me many times before, and that’s exactly what I do. They usually don’t persist after telling them that I need to pay attention to the teacher.

  • Sarah Jane September 12, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Good job writing him a note…much better than saying it out loud or even just ignoring him.

    There’s usually a moocher in every class. The university I attended was small, and the instructors would notice this type of behavior quickly and nip it in the bud. If it happens again, I’d let the instructor know so that he/she is aware that you do not welcome someone “collaborating” with you in the middle of a lecture.

  • LovleAnjel September 12, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I teach some large lecture classes and I cannot tell where talking is coming from unless I see to people involved turned toward each other with moving mouths. When I ask a question and actively look for people answering I still have a hard time figuring out who’s saying what. I am slightly hard of hearing so I often can’t tell if there is whispered conversation going on.

    As for locking the door – we have been trained for active shooter situations and shutting the door is exactly what you do in those cases. The doors lock automatically from the outside. The doors are not locked from the inside, if students need to get out they just push it open (this is by law). The door lockers actually have a leg up on their safety protocol.

  • Allie September 12, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Locking the door is a bit harsh. There were occasions when my schedule was such that I had to be late to class because it was impossible to make it from one part of campus to the other on time, even at a flat out run, and I had no choice but to take those classes back-to-back for various reasons. I would advise the professor of this at the beginning of term and always tried to be considerate by being as quiet as possible and taking the very closest available seat. As for attendance, none of my college professors and none I ever heard tell of took attendance.

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