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Letter to the editor

Professors can eliminate classroom rudeness

March 11, 2015

Christine Marriott’s letter last week delineating the rudeness she witnesses and discomfort she feels each day in class is disturbing; such problems could readily be eliminated by professors.

At Northcentral Technical College, headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin, in the 1960s, these were rules imposed by various professors:

1) Closed-door policy: At the exact time class was scheduled to begin, the door was closed; no one was allowed to enter thereafter, no exceptions. Generally, the chronically-late student complained and missed a few classes. However, the professor’s constancy prevailed and the class benefited.

The closed-door policy put responsibility on the professor to be on time as well and to be disciplined in minding the clock.

2) Professional dress and conduct were required. Education was about preparing students for the professional world. T-shirts and jeans were not allowed. No food, pop, or water was allowed in the classroom.

Once again, the onus was on the professor to conduct herself/himself likewise. While professors might be your buddy, they were first and foremost your example.

3) Cellphones and other electronic devices were non-existent. Had they been, and if they were not necessary for the particular class, I imagine they would have been either collected or this simple rule imposed, no excuses: “Use of cell phones is prohibited during my class.”

Marriott wants her professors to step up, take control of their classrooms, and set boundaries conducive to learning. Her message is clear. She is very likely not alone.

Professing is not easy, particularly with students who have been raised in what I call the “Good Job!” generation. And, we live in a litigious society. The rare possibility of having rules challenged exists, but let’s toss the excuses out the window.

To professors who contend college students shouldn’t be disciplined, re-read Marriott’s letter. If not you, then who?


Note: Commenting closes 14 days after the original post.

One response to Professors can eliminate classroom rudeness

  1. Jack Haren says:

    I completely disagree with what you are saying. I think it is wrong to interpret what another person wants. In this case, Christine Merriot.

    Rather, I think she meant students themselves need to step up classroom etiquette, try harder to eliminate disturbances, practice manners and be less rude.

    Enforcing hardline rules like you have suggested would be more destructive to the learning environment than a few sniffles and a loud entrance. The loud entrances are the worst, sniffles are annoying, but arriving fashionably late is accepted, except on test dates. People generally are busy people around these parts and deserve slack.