Jump to content

Speech Class Interruptions (rant)

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Took a speech class, since every once in awhile, i have to do presentations on new equipment and supplies for orthopedics, and i figured that this class might give me pointers.

First day of class, we're given the assignment to do a 15 minute verbal 'presentation' (one visual aid) on something we know about, to inform others. This was to assess what skills we already had, to determine where to start in class. We could pick anything, so i picked something OR related (the CellSaver).

I volunteered to go first (get it done and out of the way). I wasn't even 2 minutes into speaking, when a cell phone rang, loudly, because the ringtone was "Stairway to Heaven". The person didn't apologize for it, just hit the off button.

Maybe another 2 minutes later, another phone rings (loud again, this time the "Friends" theme song). This time the person answers and says "hello" while trotting out to the hall.

Right before i wrap it up, oh yes, another phone rings, but the beauty of this one was that the student answered it, and talked on it staying in her chair, completely oblivious, and not caring less that 39 people were looking right at her.

I don't know what ticked me off the most. One phone i could ALMOST see as an accident, but for me, hearing someone else's phone, would be a sign for me to double check mine to be on vibrate (i can't shut mine off since i have to be able to be reached all the time) so i wouldn't have my phone disrupting the class. But the other people, were just completely rude, especially the third one.

Or the professor, who acted like none of those phones had rang, even though the syllabus CLEARLY states "please make sure cell phones are silent during class, out of respect to me and your fellow students".

I didn't say or do anything, because i was trying to present my speech, like i was trying to inform on this product, and some of the presentations OF this product are done for doctors, so i doubt they turn off their pagers and phones.

However, i'm half-tempted the next time, to handle it the way a preacher in Dear Abby handled a cell phone ring interrupting his sermon: "If that's for me tell them i'm busy!" and picked up right where he left off.


You're a good one. When that second phone rang I would have told the entire class to check their phones and make sure they were on vibrate.

That third rude person who sat there and talked would have felt "THE WRATH OF SUNNY!"

babynurselsa, RN

Specializes in ER, NICU, NSY and some other stuff. Has 12 years experience.

Maybe your next presentation should be on cell phone etiquitte???

I bet you would do a great job Marie.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Sorry you had this experience ... unbelievable that your instructor just sat there & allowed the situation to happen.

Unless, this was a not-so-cleverly designed part of the exercise - to try to demonstrate what it's like to be in front of a group with cell phones ringing. If (and it's a big IF) that was the point ... seems to have fallen flat.

Any of my instructors would have had a coronary after the first phone rang ... let alone rings 2 & 3.

I imagine you may well have felt too put-on-the-spot and too concerned about appearing to connect well with your audience to say something negative ... but I don't know if I would have been able to pull that off.

Hope the class experience improves for you.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Maybe your next presentation should be on cell phone etiquitte???

I bet you would do a great job Marie.

Not a bad idea ;)

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

I kinda think that the professor didn't react, because she might not have known how to. This is her first teaching job, ever.

mercyteapot, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dev. Disabilities, Health Disparities. Has 20 years experience.

Speakers nowadays have to add to the list of things to remember a request that the audience turn the cell phones off. If a phone still rings, I would interrupt my speech long enough to again ask that everyone else turn their phones off. And at the end of my speech, I would say that I hope the cell phone interruptions didn't affect the effect my speech had on the rest of the audience. I don't know why people are so hesitant to make cell phone abusers feel uncomfortable when they have no qualms at all about being so rude!

suzy253, RN

Specializes in Telemetry/Med Surg.

Ugh. I absolutely hated when cell phones were going off when I was in class. Come on!!! what'd they do before cell phones? Is there any reason not to check them before you go into class. I have one but I would always turn it off when I got into the parking lot before I got into school. Grrrrrr. I bet your presentation went well though Marie!

babynurselsa, RN

Specializes in ER, NICU, NSY and some other stuff. Has 12 years experience.

I also like Mercy's idea. Begin by asking everyone to take out their cell and please turn it off. Then state I also will grant each and every one of you the same courtesy whenever you are speaking........


Has 4 years experience.

This has happened in our class a couple of times. You have to leave the class if your phone rings and you are not allowed to come back in until the class is over and you are counted absent for that class. A good policy I think.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Sam - I love that idea.

I teach public speaking and English. Cell phones in class are an ongoing problem.

In speech class, anybody who even touches anything electronic during someone else's speech (I sit in the back) automatically loses ten points off his or her speech for each incidence. If a phone goes off, twenty points. The policy helps.

This topic is now closed to further replies.