by Holly Peregrine
I want to begin with saying that this short article will not be able to fully encapsulate the full spectrum of my feelings and opinions on this topic because it is a lot more complicated than a newspaper article will allow. I want to open the door to conversation about what it means to show respect to professors and students alike.
From an early age I was taught to respect the authority of teachers, professors and adults in the classroom. I was taught that starting to pack up your things before class ended was a big sign of disrespect. This was a great thing. It taught me how to listen without interrupting. I discovered that, in many situations, just being attentive and listening to the instructor would answer most of my questions before I could ask them. I also clearly understood why packing up before the bell rang was a sign of disrespect, as it can be distracting. Long story short, it pays to give teachers your respect by paying attention during lessons. The only thing that I didn’t learn about respect was what kind of respect I should expect from my professors when I went off to college.
When I came to college I was told that I was expected to behave like an adult. I was told that if I behaved like an adult, I would be treated like an adult. I knew how to respect authority already. I quickly learned how to manage my time so as to make deadlines and schedule meetings appropriately; I grew a lot and very quickly. For the most part, during my college experience, I have received just as much respect as I have given, which is a lot. I am grateful that there are so many professors and faculty on campus who are respectful of students’ time and lives outside of class. That being said, I have experienced a few instances where I felt that respect for students’ time was not given.
In high school, I had a few teachers who would use the phrase, “The bell doesn’t dismiss you, I do,” as their motto. This wasn’t terrible back then because the longest possible walk between classrooms was three minutes, so even if the teacher went over the allotted time by a couple minutes it wasn’t a problem getting to my next class. I have discovered that some professors also utilize this motto. The problem with this is that here at Loras it takes a lot longer to get between buildings. One semester, I had a class in Hoffman then a class in the Science Hall immediately after. It takes 10 minutes to get between these two buildings, so sometimes I would start gathering my things to put away a minute or two before class ended so that I could get to my next class on time. I knew a couple other students in that class in the same situation. Our professor would call our behavior disrespectful even if the class went over the allotted time. I struggled with this because I needed to be efficient with my time so that I could make it to my next class, but I also felt terrible for being “disrespectful.”
I understand that professors cannot know the specific schedules of each of their students. I just hope that professors will try their best to understand that in most cases, students are not trying to disrespect their authority. If students are expected to behave like adults, then students should also expect to be respected like adults.