I was chatting with Kate the other day, when she told me of a recent frustration of hers. She is the director of a program that trains a certain genre of professionals (which I won’t give away here for several reasons) who are highly degreed. As she was teaching one of the classes, she had to reprimand some of the class participants–again, degreed professionals–for texting and checking Facebook during class.
The “professionals” she reprimanded were highly agitated, saying that they could do what they wanted to do.
Is this what it’s come to, people?
I understand the temptation of today’s technology; in fact, I will be writing about that topic in the next couple of weeks as it relates to teenagers. I also understand that in America we have many freedoms. However, what about respectful behavior towards an instructor as well as those around you?
I had my own brush with this issue yesterday, except there was no technology involved. I was at the gym, preparing to teach my weekly Tuesday morning spin class, when three women I had never seen before came in the room and set up their bikes. Ten minutes later, class started. The three women chatted during the first song, the warmup. They also chatted during the second song.
By the third song, I was getting really annoyed. As I was cueing the class on proper form and breathing, I added in some motivational notes of a general nature:
“Let’s work, you guys!
This is YOUR hour! Make the most of it!
Come on, focus!”
They weren’t getting the message.
I don’t like to feel like I’m a jerk and didn’t want to have to confront them about the talking, whether I got off my bike and went over to them to say something (totally obvious since there were only ten total class participants) or into the microphone (also totally obvious, obviously!), but at the same time I had a feeling I’d have to. In the past when I’ve let the chatting go, other class participants have come up to me afterwards and complained about the distraction. If you’ve ever been distracted by people talking in any kind of a class, you know how annoying it is. Now try and put yourself in the instructor’s shoes: it is terribly, terribly difficult to teach over a chatter.
I tried to make eye contact with them. Nothing.
I tried a few more general cues. Nothing.
Finally, and it takes a lot for me to get angry, I screamed into the microphone, “COME ON LADIES: IF YOU’RE TALKING, YOU’RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!”
Hmm. That worked. They were quiet for the rest of class. I didn’t hold a grudge, encouraging them along with everyone else as we rode, and they didn’t hold a grudge either. I was pleasantly surprised when, after class, they apologized to me.
Now, dear readers, I ask you: what is it with people who sign up for a class or voluntarily engage in some other kind of self-improving activity, and then disrespect their teacher as well as the other participants by engaging in behaviors that are not only detrimental to their own learning, but also incredibly rude? Why bother going?
©2010 Suburban Scrawl