What distracts a student in the classroom? Talon reporters interviewed students, teachers, and administrators to uncover what they found disrupting to their school day.
Almost universally, the idea of tattoos, colored hair, and piercings were dismissed as distractions, while cellphones, assemblies and unwelcomed student conversations were deemed disruptive. When it came to the dress code, most students and several teachers claimed that it was either ineffective or plain sexist. Distraction is a demeaning, insulting term, and, across America, students are taking a stand through Twitter campaigns like #morethanadistraction. “Distraction” was also the basis for administrative decision around Timber Creek student Casey Akers’ promposal. These events have brought the question of “what’s distracting” to the student body.
PDA and the “sexist” Dress Code
Talon reporters interviewed a large, diverse group of students to uncover what they found distracting. When questioned, an overwhelming majority of students said that tattoos, facial piercings and colored hair offered little to no distraction in the classroom.
“In no way does hair color, piercings or the way someone dresses distract me from learning,” said Judith Ryan, a senior.
The real culprits discussed were elsewhere; cell phones, talkative classmates and a revolving door of students coming and going were all ranked as higher distractions than almost every hairstyle or outfit. While some students agreed with dress code restrictions, the general agreement was that tweets and texts were the most distracting thing in the learning environment.
Also ranked high on the list was public displays of affection, or PDA. Most students agreed that couples kissing in the hallways were causes for disruption.
“Holding hands is cute, but making out in the hallways is disgusting,” said sophomore Cassette R (Editor’s Note: This student’s last name was not presented by press time.) Freshman Angela Fallis agreed, saying “PDA is perfectly fine but there are boundaries when it comes to high school.”
PDA has long been a distracting force in the hallways at Timber Creek, but with shorter passing periods and a larger student body, these rendezvous are cause for major traffic blockage near staircases and major distractions near the doorways of classrooms.
While discussing distractions, there was much talk of the dress codes. When asked whether or not the dress codes were sexist, most people agreed that girls had an unfair disadvantage when it came to what they were allowed to wear.
“I hate how it sexualizes a girl’s body part. Like it’s more sexual if a girl exposes her legs or shoulders than if a guy does,” said Sabrina Trejo, junior and Student Body Vice President. Male junior, Nathanael Veach, said “I’m a guy, so I’m not afraid of being dress coded.”
Of all the female students interviewed, more than half said that it was hard working around the dress codes, especially in the Spring or Summer months, when the brutal Texas heat makes longer, less “distracting” outfits unbearable.
Scheduling Disruptions Irk Educators
Talon reporters interviewed several teachers and administrators to discuss what they feel is distracting to the schoool day.
Of the ten teachers interviewed, only one claimed that tattoos and piercings were distracting overall, citing his rural upbringing as a probable cause. The other nine all agreed that if anything was distracting their students, it wasn’t dress code violations.
Half-days, assemblies, and academic testing were all ranked much higher than dress code violations. Anything disruptive to the daily TCHS schedule was universally agreed to be distracting.
“Tardies are distracting, excessive absences are distracting,” Assistant Principal Gusti Ratliff told Talon reporters.
Another element that distracted students in class didn’t come from within school walls.
“Really, social media is the number one thing,” argued Assistant Principal Shawn Elliot. “What happens outside tends to always fall into school and undermines what it’s all about, which is teaching and learning.”
Ultimately the goal of being at school is for education, but with the amount and variety of students in Timber Creek’s halls, distractions and disruptions could be at constant battle with learning.