OMG GOT 2 GO
Professor Laurence Thomas of Syracuse University will end class immediately and retire to his office if he sees even one student send a text message during class.
For current college students, text messaging is like breathing — you don’t think twice. While texting may be disrespectful to the instructor, it is specifically not disrespectful to the other students.
What if a message really does need to be sent? Is banging out a quick text better or worse than making a ten-second phone call from one’s seat? What about the commotion of excusing oneself to talk on the phone outside the lecture hall?
Professor Thomas, sir? Get over yourself. Yes, texting is disrespectful. So is doodling, daydreaming, whispering during class, chewing gum in public, and wearing white after Labor Day. The idea of respect is relative, defined by the social and cultural norms of the environment. While it is the professor’s right to ask disrespectful students to leave his class, it is also his job to provide the services his students are paying for.
The students are the consumers of education. If they don’t think texting is rude in class, then it’s not. Plain and simple. Texting doesn’t take away from other students’ experiences, and so if a student wishes to divert her attention to another task for a few seconds it is her prerogative.
As a teacher in a private high school, I have more power than some of my public-school peers to deal with discipline problems on the spot. At my school, cell phones are to be stored in lockers and powered off during the day — if a teacher sees or hears a phone at any time, it is confiscated until a parent can pick it up.
In a high school, this makes sense — students need practice in giving their full attention to their instructor. Besides, they’re required to go to class anyway (as much for legal reasons as educational) so they might as well attend mentally as well as physically.
In a university environment, students can sleep late if they wish and miss class entirely. If a student chooses to be 97% present, isn’t that also their right?