Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New Classroom Experience: Too Cool for School?

I have had some strange distractions in my classes over the past twenty five years, but today a new one.  Sure, I had a student answer and continue a phone call when cell phones were rare (I speculated aloud that he might be a drug dealer).  I had a student try to have a grand romantic gesture in my 600 person class.  Once, a tour guide took a group of prospective students through my class as I was lecturing.  But today was the first time I threatened to call security and eventually did.

I was teaching a seminar on US Foreign Policy, which is essentially about distractions these days. The door has a glass floor to ceiling window looking out on the hallway.  A girl somewhere between 13-16 decided to put her face up to the glass and then yell at the class.  She then walked away and then came back with two friends who didn't participate but didn't not participate if that makes sense.  I got up, and told her I was going to call security (I had never made that threat in my classroom nor elsewhere in my life).  She said, ooo, go ahead, but then skedaddled. The class returned to the topic after a minute or two of being puzzled.

After class, I called Security, and they said someone else had also complained but more timely so.  The Security folks dealt with these troublemakers--how? I have no idea.  On the scale of distraction, disruption and danger, this was a 2.  When I told Mrs. Spew, she got most concerned because she has read enough stories of violence in American classroom.  And, yes, Canadian classrooms have seen violence.  There was no violence here, just super immature people being super-bored.  But it was a first, and, hopefully, I go another 25 years or so before it happens again.

If only I could insta-meme in the classroom:

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