We need to have a conversation about classroom etiquette. First, we need more clarity to the extent teachers can enforce specific classroom rules. We also need to address the expectations of students, beyond the rules explicitly stated in a syllabus. The responsibility of the former lies on UTSA administration, where they would communicate to the student body after having that discourse with staff internally. The responsibility of the latter falls on us as students.

The essential component of classroom etiquette is respect: whether its between teachers and students, among classmates or for the classroom itself. The most contentious—respect between teachers and students. Although this type of respect is different, it is still a two-way street. If the it falters in one direction, the opposite is soon to follow. Having high regards for teachers means following their rules (within reason), allowing them to teach without interruption and communicating any issues through the appropriate medium. Respecting a student means providing a healthy learning environment and communicating issues through the appropriate medium. Calling out a student in class without a prior private conversation would be disrespectful.

Respect among classmates is fairly straightforward. It boils down to students treating others better than how they would like to be treated. Students must also be considerate of things that could bother others. Some students don’t mind when people around them are talking or using their phones. However, nearby students might get very distracted when people talk over the teacher or otherwise draw attention.

Respect the classroom means having the awareness to not treat it like it’s your own bedroom. Students are not allowed to treat the furniture or electronics however they want. It belongs to the school and many students will utilize those classroom materials. Although you pay to attend class, that does not entitle you to treat it poorly.

People must to be mindful of the classroom environment. Everybody is paying to be there, so everybody deserves an equal opportunity to learn. Students should not need an enumerated list of rules on a syllabus to know how to act. It comes down to the basics of civility and common sense.

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