I am not a movie star!

I slammed my laptop shut and left the lecture hall five minutes early today. I detest teaching in a noisy crowd. Some came late, some got up in the middle of class, and most were chattering away with their neighbors towards the end of class. It is not even really hot yet!

I am not a movie - I don't think I'm a movie star, and I am in 3D. Movie actors don't mind if you talk while they act when you are in your living room. People around you in movie theaters *do* mind when you keep chattering during a film.

In a lecture hall, everyone is there to learn (or rather, I thought they were adults and could choose not to attend the lecture if they found it boring).
I'm glad that they are getting to know people, but we have breaks that they can use to exchange comments with their new friends.

But how do I get them to resist the urge to immediately blabber every tiny thought randomly bubbling up from some portion of their brains to their neighbors? I have tried so much over the years. Nasty comments. Nice comments. Just standing and waiting until they SHUT THE F§$% UP. Speaking softly. Speaking loudly. Throwing balls or making peanut butter sandwiches.

I teach in a classroom right on a major street with major truck and tram traffic. I have tinnitus that I try to ignore to concentrate on teaching. The talking makes me have to speak louder and concentrate more on what I want to say. At some point I just cannot continue.

Anyone have some magic dust I can sprinkle in the room to get them to be quiet?


brainerror said...

The obvious solution would be to give more exciting lectures :)

WiseWoman said...

More exciting? Maybe the problem was excitement overload... I explained exceptions by giving a student a baseball mitt and throwing different shapes and sizes of balls (soft ones, don't want to kill any students) at him. I had him pass some on back (throwing them against the wall) to demonstrate what happens if no one catches an exception.

They laughed, and then seemed to understand. But after lunch we had a lecture on arrays that no one understood (when I went around the room asking what I should do next for a tiny bit of program most had no idea) and kept discussing stuff with their neighbor. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

You are complaining at a very high level. Were students 20 years ago that different?