Friday, August 21, 2015

How to enter a classroom

[Assuming there’s still a classroom to enter. Advice for college students, for “syllabus week” and beyond.]

1. Put away any devices before entering, so that you can be marked “present” — that is, fully present, ready to engage whatever will be going on. It’s a sad and dopey feeling for an instructor to find a roomful of students intent on their devices.

2. If your instructor has not arrived and the room is dark, turn on the lights. It’s a sad and dopey feeling for an instructor to find a roomful of students sitting in the dark. If an instructor is present and the room is dark, there may be a PowerPoint presentation in the offing. Uh-oh.

3. Don’t sit toward the back. It’s a sad and dopey feeling for an instructor to find a roomful of students sitting toward the back.

The only thing worse than finding a roomful of students intent on their devices is finding a roomful of students intent on their devices and sitting in the dark. And the only thing worse than finding a roomful of students intent on their devices and sitting in the dark is finding a roomful of students intent on their devices and sitting in the dark toward the back. A teacher with sufficient gumption will ask students to put away the devices and move toward the front. He or she will also turn on the lights, and even ask that students do so in the future.

For the first time since 1961, falltime won’t mean for me the start of “school.” (Even during sabbaticals, life is governed by the academic calendar.) It feels exciting to be back in a pre-kindergarten environment. But I still think about what goes in school.

Related posts
How to answer a professor (Guest post by Stefan Hagemann) : How to be a student a professor will remember (for the right reasons) : How to e-mail a professor : New year’s resolutions : Rule 7 : Seeing professors clearly : Syllabus week

comments: 2

Elaine said...

I know the feeling! It is bittersweet--if I feel under the weather I don't have to push myself to go in regardless, which is a relief! On the other hand, no 'starting a new year' excitement. Sometimes I feel like an old firehouse horse--the bell rings, I'm ready to run, but there's nowhere to go! Don't miss the paperwork hell; do miss the kids!

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, bittersweet. I loved teaching, to the very last class, and I miss the bonus new-year feeling in the fall. But there’s a lot that I don’t and won’t miss too.