The battle for time in the classroom

By Katie Waldron

Juliette Sandleitner/Daily Collegian
(Juliette Sandleitner/Daily Collegian)

Students have all had at least one professor who begins the first class of the semester by informing us that the clock does not dismiss us. The class is the professor’s time to teach, and therefore the professor will determine when the class is over. What this idea fails to take into account is that the time outside the established lecture is the student’s time. This becomes a battle over whose time is more valuable and more often than not, the student is the one who loses.

With a large campus and only 15 minutes before one lecture time ends and another begins, there can be a rush between classes. This is especially the case when major requirements are offered at consecutive lecture times on one day, not allowing for much flexibility on the part of the student. Additionally, class is often not the only responsibility a student has. Jobs, internships or other obligations can put a strain on a student’s time.

Students select classes based on how well they fit into a schedule. Or, students build a schedule around their classes. Either way, the start and end times of lectures tend to be an extremely important determining factor in what hours a student can work or when they can make it to a lab for their independent study, office for an internship or even when their next class can be. In these situations, should a professor decide to take an additional five, 10 or 15 minutes for class, it can have serious consequences for a student. Classes going longer than they are scheduled to can cause someone to be late to a job or other obligation, perhaps resulting in disciplinary action or other consequences.

The idea that the professor dismisses the class, not the clock, expresses a lack of respect for the lives of students outside the classroom. With the astronomical price of college still rising, many students work. Though many on-campus jobs tend to be fairly understanding of the life of a student, off-campus jobs do not have the same compassion. Internships are invaluable for future success, and making a good impression here (which includes being on time) is imperative. Should a student have another class directly after one that runs over, there is a possibility that student will be marked absent from the second class due to being late.

There should not be a struggle over whose time is more important in the context of a classroom. There is a set time for a class that students, by registering for that class, agree to attend. This should go both ways – a professor sets a time for the class and should agree to complete all material for that lecture within that period. While I fully believe that a student should respect their professor’s time and knowledge, professors should also respect the student’s time and obligations.

Katie Waldron is a collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]