There are so many places today where constant chatter has become a perfectly acceptable form of background noise. We hear it when we ride the bus, when we stand in line to buy books, and when we eat at a restaurant. However, in my mind, there are two places where it simply is not OK to allow this noise: in a church and in a classroom.
At Sam, we are fortunate enough to be able to take most of our courses in a fairly intimate setting of 30 people or less. On occasion, we might have to take a class that has more than 60 people in it, and I don’t know how students at UT or A&M handle that.
These larger forums give people a chance to sit in the back, not participate, not do the work, and still make it out of the class with an acceptable grade. More importantly, it gives them an opportunity to talk to their friends throughout the entire class period.
In four years at SHSU, I have only had a handful of large classes, and they never fail to have at least one or two people who feel that it is all right to talk with their friends through its entirety.
In an age where cell phone use has become day-long activity, what urgent message could these people possibly have to relay that cannot wait an hour until class is over? And if the matter is in fact one of life-and-death, how difficult is it to whisper? Not only are these Chatty Cathys carrying on full-fledged conversations, but they are doing so at a volume which is usually only acceptable at an outdoor baseball game.
I will admit that most people are polite enough to know not to discuss their weekend plans with their neighbors during class. Unfortunately, half of those people are the ones texting their friends who aren’t in the room. Often, that is not a silent task. People in the surrounding area can hear the click, click, click of the buttons and are no doubt irritated by it.
On more than one occasion I have witnessed someone say, “Ahem” to a nearby clicky texter, or a rowdy talker; and as we all know, “ahem” is polite code for “Shut up before I pay someone to make you shut up.”
But one person cannot silence an entire chatter brigade. The next time you are in a class during which you feel the need to talk to the person next to you, be nice enough to write them a silent message on a piece of paper while you are pretending to take notes. If you are compelled to text constantly during class, invest in a phone that has non-clicking buttons, like an iPhone. Most importantly, don’t think that holding your phone under your desk silences the process, or conceals the light, or completely hides the fact that you are texting at all, we all know what you are doing under there. You have paid for the class too– pay attention.