Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walking out of class

Students sometimes walk out of the room during my lectures.

I know that it is considered not polite. Once in the room they should suffer through the lecture until the end, advocate proponents of good manners. But why? If they are bored, if they know the material already, if they are hopelessly lost, if they are suddenly taken by a bout of sleepiness, or if, for whatever reason, they are not getting anything out of attending class, why should they stick around?

In the room where I teach, it is easy for people near the side alley to leave discreetly without, I think, distracting anyone. I see out of the corner of my eye the figure of someone leaving, but it does not interrupt the lecture in any way. Of course I hope that students are benefiting from lectures, but if not, isn't it slightly hypocritical for them to stay?

I pretend to teach, they pretend to learn, and it becomes a charade.


  1. A lecture may have several parts, and it is a shame if students who are lost at the end of a part leave the room and therefore do not follow the next parts.

    You sometimes need some extra-motivation to force you to learn something when you have difficulties to understand. If you can walk out as soon as you feel lost, it does not force you to try harder to understand. If you must stay in the room, and if in some sense you do not have anything better to do, you give yourself more chance!

  2. Totally agree. If you leave the room in a respectful way it shouldn't be problem (as long as you don't do it every session).

  3. You actually have students that show up to class? (Just kidding -- in my class, attendance is low, ostensibly because it's recorded...)

    I don't mind if students leave. If they don't want to be there, why would I want them to stay? As long as they're quiet about it.

  4. Mike; how low? I have 50 to 80 students in the room, I think (when attendance looks low, I count them before starting, and I think the minimum has been about 40, but then a few more shows up a few minutes late). Close to 100 are signed up.

  5. Why do professors resent students walking out of class?

    Because they are envious.

  6. I'd say similar numbers. I have over 100 in the class; I'd say over 1/2 show up, but I'm not sure if it's regularly over 2/3.

    At the midterm the room felt too small; there wasn't really enough space between students in the classroom for a test situation. But if I ever gave an in-class quiz with the regular audience, we'd be fine.

  7. Do some of them return? Maybe they go to the washroom or they want to answer a phone or some excuses like that?


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