I couldn’t believe the response I received on my Quilt Show Etiquette post, so I figured I’d roll with it and end the week with a post on Teacher and Student Classroom Etiquette. Notice I am being unbiased and am exploring BOTH sides of classroom etiquette. So let’s take a look shall we?
Etiquette: It was a toss of the coin which to discuss first, obviously Teacher Etiquette won or lost (however you want to look at it). The instructor has obligations to his/her students, these individuals paid to be in their presences. I am a huge believer of giving my pupils what they have signed up for, and giving them their money’s worth. That being said we, as teachers, need to be mindful of the following:
Arrive EARLY! Yes, make sure to arrive with more than enough time to organize and prepare your class for what you will be teaching. No student wants to enter a class that they have spent money on to wait patiently for the first 30 minutes while the instructor finishes arranging class materials etc.
Be Prepared! Do you have enough materials for all your students? Are you ready to discuss the topic you are going to present to the class? There is nothing worse than sitting before a teacher that is unorganized, they obviously haven’t worked through the class agenda or how each aspect of what they are sharing will transition into one another. In a nutshell it’s a students nightmare! You have lost them at “Ah Good Morning, Give Me Just a Second”.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone! There is no need for your phone to beep with a text message, or ring during your lecture or hands on demonstration. No student should wait while you pause momentarily to glance at the screen of your mobile device to view a text from your husband that inquires “When will you be home?” That is simply rude!
Answer Questions from your students. Again, these lovely people are spending their morning, afternoon or entire day with you. They are there to learn, and with any education we all learn differently. Some of us need to hear information more than once, others of us are filled with curiosity and love the word “Why”. Finally there are a few that just like to hear themselves talk. Regardless of the reason, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you want your class to gain confidence and understanding let them ask away.
Provide Breaks Throughout Your Class. Teachers need to refuel, use the restroom and just take a breather. Implement a couple breaks throughout your class. Trust me no one wants to hear you drone on and on for 4- 6 hours (no matter how entertaining you may be) without the chance to step away for a minute or two. You will find your students more productive and more relaxed if they are given a few minutes throughout their session to sit back and reflect on what is being taught. By the way this is a great opportunity to reply to that distracting text of when you could be expected home!
Make Learning Fun! No student has the desire to sit for 4 to 6 hours bored out of their mind, breaks can only provide so much relief. Nor do they want to pay for boredom. It’s a good idea to create an environment that allows your class to feel relaxed. Providing a little humor makes the day for them and you pass by much faster. So don’t get so wrapped up in being so professional that you appear stiff and uncomfortable, it’s a day of educating others on what you LOVE to do…so show them some love and let loose a little.
Time to Turn the Tables
Etiquette: Yes, educators are thrilled that you have chosen to spend your time with them and they look forward to enlightening you. Hopefully you will be exiting their class wearing a smile of satisfaction and eager to register for one of their other classes. However, there are a few things we instructors would like you to keep in mind, and they are:
Don’t be Late! Please arrive a few minutes early. It is not fair to the rest of the students to watch the instructor stop her class in order to get a tardy pupil settled for what they missed. If you want to see several eyes roll, and heavy sighs then show up late and let the “late show” begin.
Turn Off Your Phone Please. Your fellow student and teacher do not want to try and talk or listen over a ringing cell phone, no matter how cute your ringtone may sound. Place it in your bag, or pocket until break time, trust me there is voicemail on mobile devices for a reason. Besides, don’t you want to get the most out of your class, after all you’ve paid to be sitting in that chair.
If You Have a Question…Ask! Rather than sit and chat with the person next to you on what is being taught… speak up. Who is the best person to ask, definitely not the person to your left or right…the teacher! In addition, it is distracting to the teacher, who is talking, to view students talking amongst each other while they are in the process lecturing or demonstrating. If there is a concept you don’t quite understand you have the right to gain a better insight on what has been shared. You should never leave a class confused or feeling lost on the topic. Raise that hand high!
Please Keep the Sickies at Home. Sorry, but teachers AND students have NO desire to be exposed to the germs that will invade everyone’s work area by someone hacking with a cough or some other illness that should have kept them at home. If you insist on attending the class you put yourself at risk for death stares and unkind mumbling from those surrounding you. And trust me the instructor will not send sympathy smiles your way.
It’s Okay to get Outside Your Comfort Zone. The last and most important aspect of student etiquette is encouraging ALL students to step outside their comfort zone! If the instructor has done their job and given you something to giggle about and has urged you to relax then please do so! Trying to educate a group of students that won’t let go and feel free to embrace all that is presented before them makes for a difficult 4-6 hours. You are in a “no-judgement” zone (if you don’t think you are, slip out the door fast) during your time as a student. Make the most of every moment, this is your chance to soak up all you can on that new technique, or concept. But soak it up with a clear understanding that learning should be fun and positive; especially when you’re stepping outside your comfort zone!
I am sure there are many other tips I could have elaborated on, like please don’t hate the teacher for the temperature of the room (I realize no one likes a classroom that’s 85 degrees); but I thought I’d just share a few. Do you have a tip to give to either students or teachers? I’m sure I’ll hear from some of you!