Tyler: I wasn't looking at my phone.
Me: Regardless, put it away. Okay, so, the favorite fruit of the marmoset is, by convergent evolution, also the favorite fruit of my nephew George, and does anyone know what that is?
Dan: The muskrat?
Me: Okay, so, let's see. A fruit is what, Dan?
Dan: Has a seed inside.
Me: Does a muskrat have a seed inside?
Dan: [thinking hard] I don't think --
Tyler: [interrupting] Muskrats are wacky!
Dan: [lost train of thought] Yeah?
Me: [long breath] Okay. Tyler. When you interrupt class like that, especially when someone is thinking and trying to come up with an answer, it undermines the whole process of learning. I won't put up with it.
Tyler: What? I was just agreeing with you!
Me: I am not arguing with you. I am telling you. These outbursts stop, and the texting stops.
Tyler: I was just --
Me: I don't care. Just say 'Yes, I understand.' That's all I want to hear from you right now.
Tyler: Why are you such a dick to me?
Me: I am a dick to anyone who interrupts my class, because these people here are all paying quite a lot of money to be here, and I have a responsibility to make sure they get their money's worth. That means they're paying for me, an expert in my field, to help them understand a complicated topic. They're not paying to hear your comedy routines.
Tyler: You're a jerk.
Me: Yes. I am. Moving along, Dan, you were saying that a fruit had a seed in it . . . ?
Probably not best practice, having that conversation in front of the whole class, but I lost my temper. It did have a couple effects. Dan came up, thanked me for stopping the interruption, and asked if he could move further away from Tyler ("Sit where you want, man, you're an adult."). And a girl came to my office visibly trembling and almost crying because she wanted help with a paper and she thought I might yell at her. Man alive. There's no middle ground, is there?