Weekly Vexation: Annoying Habits

Morgan Felt, Blogger

We all have an annoying habit- chewing with your mouth open, clicking pens, talking loudly in public settings. They are things we can be completely unaware of, yet they can be some of the most frustrating things to hear.

For me, constant tapping (or any other repetitive background noise) is a deal breaker, but many others also view these noises as distracting and irritating.

“Those little noises are extremely distracting. One of the most annoying is when I’m taking a test or quiz and the person behind me taps on my chair’s basket; I’m so focused on the vibration and the sound I can’t focus on the test, and I’m probably already really nervous for it,” Lauren Fontes (17′) said.

It’s not just an annoying habit. It can be very distracting for students like Fontes, causing them to have trouble focusing and therefore creates an unsound learning environment. Taking a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT is stressful enough without having to worry about distractions.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a common behavioral disorder that affects about 11% of school-age children. Students with ADHD have even bigger problems with annoying sounds.

In addition to ADHD, any formal mental disorder can make others’ habits distracting for students. High school students are very stressed with school, sports, clubs, friends and family and these habits make for a less than pleasant classroom atmosphere.

“I have ADHD and it distracts me, and those seemingly harmless noises make me lose my train of thought. And sometimes these students don’t even realize they’re doing it, but other students do it just to be annoying and try to push the limit.” Spanish teacher Silvina Iglesias said.

In order to maintain a positive classroom environment, it is important for these distractions to be kept to a minimum. And I’m not just talking about chewing gum loudly or tapping your foot. Larger distractions like students being significantly late to class or students from other classes stopping class to make up work may seem like simple actions, but students don’t understand the impact of their interruption.

“Interruptions are my biggest pet peeve,” Iglesias added. “Coming into a classroom expecting me to drop everything just for you because you are at fault? Us teachers, we don’t get paid a lot, but we do it because we love what we do and we love seeing that light bulb go off in the students’ brain when they get something.”

Overall, those seemingly harmless noises can make a big difference on students with learning disabilities or might just even be a distracting force preventing them from reaching their full potential. So please stop the clicking, stop the tapping and chew with your mouth closed.