I do not get upset if a student’s cell phone rings during class (unless the student answers the phone). If a phone rings while I am teaching, I ignore it, laugh, or make a joke about it, depending on the situation. It doesn't happen very often, so it is not a major annoyance.
What I forgot to do today before class is quit the Skype application on my laptop. It wouldn’t have mattered for most classes because my laptop is typically not connected to the internet during class. Today, however, I needed to show the students (yet again) how to find online review questions for the upcoming exam, so I logged in and showed the class how to find the information. It still amazes me that some students can’t figure out how to find online course information (despite instructions about this on the syllabus, despite in-class demonstrations, and despite email from me about it), but that’s another topic.
So, in the middle of class today, when I had an image projected on the big screen at the front of the room, a colleague called me using Skype. The Skype window popped up on the screen and was superimposed on my Science Image, accompanied by the sound of a phone ringing (perhaps I should change that setting).
The resemblance between Rudy Giuliani and me, however, ends there. Well, I hope it ends elsewhere as well, but in terms of this story, it ends there. I did not answer my Skype call – I hung up on my colleague and quit Skype, then emailed him after class to explain why I went offline while he was calling.
I suppose it might have been sort of entertaining to answer the call in class and point the webcam towards the students, but I was on a roll with an explanation of an extremely cool scientific concept and didn’t want to interrupt that. Furthermore, although opportunities for me to emulate the former mayor tend to be few and far between, the thought of copying Giuliani's recent cell phone stunt was less than appealing.
7 months ago