How many times does your mind wander during class? Once the teacher’s voice becomes disengaging and your eyes move to the classroom’s window, what do you do next?
According to Associate Dean Lisa Redding, distracted students have been leaving their classes to roam the halls, causing crowding, suppressing education and leading to the absence of students from classes for what administrators believe to be an inappropriate amount of time.
Students call this action “taking a lap,” Redding said, and that this is a recent phenomenon.
“I was a student at Brookline High School many years ago, and we never had something called ‘the lap.’ It was the same building and layout, but there was nothing called a lap,” Redding said. “When I came back to teach here in 2001, there also was not a thing called a lap.”
According to Redding, the phrase was coined by a Sagamore writer in April 2008. The article, “Go ahead, lap it up” by Chris Mercurio, calls walking around during class “a necessary practice” that “enhances the overall productivity of a student.”
However, Redding says she hopes to erase this phrase and the practice from the high school’s vernacular.
“It’s not a thing. Students are not entitled to it,” Redding said.
According to senior Haley Barnes, not all of her teachers are strict about students exiting the classroom, but some of them require explanations for leaving.
“I’d say about half of them don’t care, and the other half say that you can’t leave unless you have a good reason,” Barnes said.
Barnes said that in order to keep students engaged, focused and in their seats, some of her teachers rely on their sense of humor.
“If you’re not paying attention you won’t get what they’re saying, because it’s a joke,” Barnes said.
According to sophomore Cait Donahue, one of her teachers only allows students to leave class a certain number of times to ensure that students only leave when they truly need to.
“You don’t have to ask, but you can only pee four times (a semester),” Donahue said.
Redding said that she tried walking around one of the floors at the high school and timed herself doing so, to figure out how much class students are missing on average.
“My guess is that the average lap is about seven minutes. If they stop at the bathroom it would be ten,” Redding said. “If you’re out of math class for ten minutes, you are missing some serious content.”
According to Redding, she wants to educate new teachers about this problem to keep as many students in class as possible, and to make sure that every student is receiving the most out of their time in school.
“A lot of times the kids who are walking in the hall are the ones who need class the most,” Redding said.