This archived article was written by: Heather Myers
Last fall P.J. Steiner, ASCEU’s non-traditional student chair, surveyed faculty and staff concerning children in the classroom. Many CEU faculty and staff have noted this as a growing trend in their classrooms.
Some instructors wish there was an alternative to having students in the classroom. Assistant Vice President of Students and Director of Financial Aid, Bill Osborn pointed out that “It is a violation of our Student Code of Conduct for students to bring children to classes unless approved by the professor. See the Student Code of Conduct, section II, item 21.”
Pam Miller, anthropology instructor at CEU, said, “I don’t expect to see children in the classroom except for absolute emergencies. Even then it would be nice if the parent contacted me first, I might just be able to excuse them from class.” Miller was not all negative about the subject, she also said, “I have more problems now with student cell phones and laptop computer games.”
One instructor said that college classes are not geared toward children, but thinks in an emergency situation that everyone should have patience and respect for all who are seeking an education. It’s a rough road for parents with children who are juggling jobs, children and an education. Why make it any more difficult for them by imposing more rules and regulations that might get in the way of anyone trying to complete his/her education.?
Not all of the problems are caused by students bringing children to class. Some of the problem is from instructors doing the same thing. Carolyn Gwyther brought some of the most serious complaints up in a Faculty Senate meeting. She said, “There have been a few problems with the drill and cheer coaches bringing their children to practice and them having to attend to their children. This leaves students alone and there have been some serious accidents.”
Many of those interviewed stated that the times when there are the most children in the classrooms are on days when public schools are out for holidays or activities like UEA and parent-teacher conferences.
According to a math instructor, “Because of my experience [with a disruptive child] I would say no if I was asked.” That same instructor said, “I would prefer never to be asked if it is okay for a student to bring a child to class. I think it should be understood that a college class is not a place for children.”
On the other hand, some CEU staff doesn’t seem to have a problem with children in their classes. An English instructor said, “It doesn’t bother me. I think a college campus is a community and parents sometimes need to have their kids with them.” Another instructor added, “It does not bother me. I think a college campus is a community, and parents sometimes need to have their kids with them.
According to Darlene Severeid “Ultimately the professors need to deal with this situation. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever get a daycare on campus. Last year we did some research and it’s just not financially feasible.”
Steiner added that all instructors should probably include a section on class visitors that covers children in the class syllabus. If students know how the instructor feels about visitors since day one, they will know how to do it properly.