Created By: Glossy on May 6, 2012 Last Edited By: Glossy on May 28, 2012

Class Interrupted

Lesson given by teacher to students will invariably be interrupted before being properly concluded.

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Trope
Class Interrupted occurs whenever a lesson or teaching session is interrupted before it is supposed to end.

Some of the recognisable symptoms are as follows:

  • Bell Of Dismissal:
    Most commonly, a bell will sound, signifying the end of the session. The lesson is always interrupted in mid-flow and never concludes properly. The bell always sounds like an old-fashioned clanging fire bell or alam bell. This is true when portraying any kind of Western teaching establishment of any teaching grade, from juniors up to university.

  • The Silent Observer:
    Often, a protagonist has just entered the classroom to meet with the teacher and stands quietly at the rear or the side of the room, waiting for the class to end, which it does when the Bell of Dismissal conveniently sounds a few moments after their entrance, regardless of whatever point the lesson has reached.

  • Don't Forget Your Assignments:
    On hearing the Bell Of Dismissal, all the students will rise, scoop up their books and papers and hurriedly leave the classroom. The teacher has only just enough time to call out to the backs of the rapidly departing students what their homework/assignments are. These usually consists of reading pages or chapters from some book. In Real Life, lessons are run to a strict timetable and a decent teacher will wrap the session and summarise it before ending it in an orderly and controlled manner. Homework is often given out before the class ends, sometimes even at the start of the lesson (I speak from experience!)

  • Arrested Development:
    A class will be terminated when the police enter the classroom and arrest (or otherwise apprehend) the teacher. This always involves handcuffing the teacher in front the the surprised students and marching them out through the centre isle of the class. As they leave, one of the cops will turn to the bemused students and make a off-hand remark like "Class dismissed." The police never arrive at the start or the end of a session, always in the middle. This interruption can also be applied to a student who is arrested and hauled off in the middle of the session.

  • Just Enough Time for The Disruption:
    An incident occurs in the classroom, such as a toe-to-toe face-off, an outrageous comment that stuns the others or a fight breaks out (or all three). The Bell of Dismissal will always sound a few moments after such an incident, usually averting any further escalation and ending the class.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • It seems like poor Onsen-Mark never gets to finish his class in Urusei Yatsura. Can he really help his jerkass tendencies if his class is always targeted by aliens, mythical spirits, or martial arts challenges?

Live Action TV

Literature
  • Exploited by the protagonist Nicholas in Frindle. He often tries tricking his teachers into speaking for too long near the end of class, so that they'll forget to announce the homework for tonight and the students can dash out by the bell before the teacher remembers.

Film
  • This happens in the classroom scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, complete with the silent observer (Marcus Brody) and Professor Jones giving additional instructions to his students after the bell.
  • During Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy gets cut off from his lecture when Walter Donovan tells Indy that his father had disappeared upon making a major breakthrough in his research on the Holy Grail.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: The Brody Expy takes Jones out of yet another lecture to tell him that he was being fired from his teaching position because the United States Government accused Jones of being a Soviet agent. In all of these instances, he has let several tests, quizzes, essays, midterms/finals, and homework assignments left ungraded to the point that a crowd of hundreds of his students (and one assistant) practically swarm him and demand that he give the results of months-, even years-old assignments.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • May 6, 2012
    Stratadrake
    It is too bad we can't call this Saved By The Bell.
  • May 6, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
  • Actually, there is some Truth In Television. I've been in classes where the teacher was interrupted by the bell. Some teachers get very enthusiastic and plan to teach more in a class than they actually get to. It's usually not their fault, especially if there is a lively discussion in class, or students ask a lot of questions that derail the conversation, or there happens to be a class disturbance that causes the daily lesson to go a little long. Some teachers are aware that they'd be cut off by the bell, but will still attempt to lecture as much as they can before the bell goes off. What does tend to be unrealistic about television depictions is the students walking up and out of the classroom as soon as the bell rings. I've been in classes where the teacher has a philosophy that "I dismiss you, not the bell." So it'd be more likely for teachers to keep the students after the bell while they assign the homework.

    But this tends to be the type of thing that differs from class room to class room, teacher to teacher.
  • May 6, 2012
    elwoz
    It might be worth explaining the US high school system of dividing the school day into several "periods" (usually roughly an hour each); most classes last for one period. There's a short break in between periods, just long enough for students to visit the bathroom, get a snack, and walk to their next class. Not all schools that use this system ring bells at the end of each period, but many do.

    I don't know how widespread this is outside the USA.
  • May 7, 2012
    Arivne
    Class Dismissal Bell, to make it clear that there's a bell involved?

    Film
    • This happens in the classroom scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, complete with the silent observer (Marcus Brody) and Professor Jones giving additional instructions to his students after the bell.
  • May 7, 2012
    Rognik
    I've seen a few TV shows where the bell rings conveniently as a point is wrapped up. Same trope is applied, though, where the teacher gives homework as the students gather their books and leave.
  • May 7, 2012
    Glossy
    Ok, my trope name was a little lame. Class Dismissal Bell sound better. Or possibly, the more dramatic-sounding Bell Of Dismissal?
  • May 7, 2012
    sliz225
  • May 7, 2012
    NightNymph
    • Happens often in Boy Meets World. It sometimes seems like the students barely get to class before the bell is signaling that class is over. Even funnier and sometimes lampshaded is that - with an exception or two - no matter what the class, the teacher is almost always Mr. Feeny.
  • May 7, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Literature
    • Exploited by the protagonist Nicholas in Frindle. He often tries tricking his teachers into speaking for too long near the end of class, so that they'll forget to announce the homework for tonight and the students can dash out by the bell before the teacher remembers.
  • May 8, 2012
    Glossy
    I figured that this trope is less about the bell and more about the class being interrupted, so I reworked the original entry to reflect this more general approach.
  • May 10, 2012
    Glossy
    Call for more examples, please.
  • May 11, 2012
    Surenity
    • I'm pretty sure Freaks And Geeks did this a lot. I'll be on the lookout for examples.
  • May 11, 2012
    Glossy
    What do you have to do to get a goddam hat round here?
  • May 11, 2012
    elwoz
    I really do not like the current title. How about Class Cut Short or Class Interrupted By Bell?
  • May 11, 2012
    BrentLaabs
    ^^ You have to edit the description to include the examples, for one, to get a goddamn hat. Links to other related tropes would also be highly appreciated.

    Anime and Manga
    • It seems like poor Onsen-Mark never gets to finish his class in Urusei Yatsura. Can he really help his jerkass tendencies if his class is always targeted by aliens, mythical spirits, or martial arts challenges?
  • May 11, 2012
    Gatchaman432
    On the Indiana Jones example above:
    • During Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Indy gets cut off from his lecture when Walter Donovan tells Indy that his father had disappeared upon making a major breakthrough in his research on the Holy Grail.
      • Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull: The Brody Expy takes Jones out of yet another lecture to tell him that he was being fired from his teaching position because the United States Government accused Jones of being a Soviet agent. In all of these instances, he has let several tests, quizzes, essays, midterms/finals, and homework assignments left ungraded to the point that a crowd of hundreds of his students (and one assistant) practically swarm him and demand that he give the results of months-, even years-old assignments.
  • May 19, 2012
    Glossy
    OK, Sorry about that. I have finally realised what I am supposed to do with the original entry. Rolling Updates are now in progress.
  • May 19, 2012
    Bisected8
    I can recall a few examples of the second from the last variety havng a student arrested rather than a teacher.
  • May 28, 2012
    Glossy
    Yes, you're right. I'll add it to the sub-trope description. It still counts as an interrupted class, though, so the main trope description still applies.
  • May 28, 2012
    Generality
    • Happens at least once in Jonny Quest The Real Adventures. In this case, the teacher was giving her conclusion when the bell sounded, and the students waited to be given their assignment before leaving.

    College classes, which are often far more informal, can actually be like this, especially if the professor likes to ruminate and goes off on a tangent. Writers probably recall this experience and apply it back to grade school. Homework, on the other hand, is usually in the syllabus, and these days on the class website, so that there's no need for the professor to remind the students of it in a hurried fashion.
  • May 28, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    I could swear we had this. Like, swear it. I know I read it way back when. Could have just been a YKTTW, though...
  • May 28, 2012
    Fanra
    In X Men The Last Stand, Professor Xavier interrupts his own class when he senses something important happening.
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