Flunk ‘Em All?

RE: Classroom Protocol — Text Messaging, Cell Phoning. Computers in the Classroom. ADD/ADHD. Tourette Syndrome. Paranoid Schizophrenia. Et. Al.

Inspired by a discussion on the Hunter-Listserv several weeks ago about students plunking away on laptops in classes, the following was to be posted on the Hunter-L listserv the first week of classes but I changed my mind. I see no point. I think I’ve pretty much exhausted whatever value that listserv held for me. Nevertheless, what I’ve would have posted if I hadn’t changed my mind …


1) TEXT MESSAGING Based on past experience with serially texting offenders in class, this semester I’m flunking ’em all. “I can’t help it,” one student yelped two semesters ago after repeated warnings, her grade sequentially sliced and diced over a period of a few weeks. As I was doing final grades, hers went from B+ to C+ to C. C because this instructor lacked, then, the fortitude to deliver the penalty spelled out in the class syllabus.

There will be an announcement at the beginning of class this semester and after that, it’s F if I see the device in a student’s possession when class is in session. Last semester, I reduced the final grade of two serial offenders by one grade. Even though the language of the syllabus was clear, and the multiple warnings clear, one says she is appealing the decision, the other says she is thinking about appealing. [The latter had her cell phone on her lap as she was working on her final exam of the semester several days after she was told in an email that she was losing one grade off her final grade for jumping up in class, cell phone at the ready, shouting an exclamation into the phone. Later, as an explanation, QMfE: “Duh, I thought the class was over.”].

2) COMPUTERS IN THE CLASSROOM —  Had been experimenting with allowing ADD/ADHD students in class to pluck away on computers, laptop and otherwise, depending on the class, the writing classes at the time, because the melody of the tap-tap-tapping seemed to soothe the savage beast, so to speak. Then they showed up in a lecture-discusion class. Uh oh. I don’t know if they were on medication or not. I thought inquiring was intrusive as well as an invasion of privacy. And the query probably would have sounded insulting. But after a run-in a while back with a serial tap-tap-tapper who may or may have not been ADD/ADHD/ETCETERA, but was Definitely Despicably Contemptible (DDC), this semester it’s F after the initial warning.

3) SERIAL FLASHING (AS AN EXPERSSION OF CONTEMPT: PG, R, X, XXX) — This one is difficult to address because of the sensitivity of the subject – sex as weapon – and, thus, is a Work-in-Progress. And will probably never be discussed in this forum (but has great potential for a blog  [maybe]).

4) EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED, SEVERELY EMOTIONAL DISTURB — These require a case by case approach and as subjects are too sensitive for this forum. But I’ve got great anecdotes, that is, regarding students not Colleagues.

5) PROFANITY — As an exclamation, probably not; as invective/expletive, possibly yes. Directed at another student, affirmative, absolutely, yes.

6) RACIALLY INFLAMMATORY EXPLETIVES/INVECTIVE — Rare. No need to give it much thought. But I have THIS really, really great anecdote of an in-class experience when several students of color rose to the moment created by a paranoid schizophrenic with Tourette Syndrome (I won’t reveal how I knew the symptoms though I did know the symptoms) and from their sagacity and savvy,  this instructor learned a few things about classroom etiquette when it comes to dealing with those experiencing an altered state of mind/consciousness.

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