Running late? Yeah, professors don’t like that.
We get it. It’s college. You can do more than you did in high school and can get away with way more than you will be able to in the workplace. But just because you can wear sweatpants to class or eat an entire meal at your desk doesn’t mean you should. The following are three things to avoid in college, as recommended by professors.
Despite tremendous integration of technology into the modern college classroom, phone use in class is still a gray area that varies by professor.
While some don’t mind and even encourage cellphone use during class time, the professors that refuse tend to have strict policies and punish those who don’t comply.
KC Smith, an advertising senior at Oklahoma State University (OSU), had a professor her sophomore year that was a bit old fashioned when it came to phone use.
“He had a home phone and an office phone,” Smith said. “That’s it. Text messaging was so foreign to him and I think he hated it for that reason. So no, he didn’t try to use our phones as a learning tool. If you got your phone out in that class, you got kicked out.”
In Smith’s case, her professor had stated in the syllabus and in person his negative stance on in-class cellphone use. However, this doesn’t mean that every instructor that does not explicitly ban cellphones during class is automatically OK with them.
Associate advertising professor at OSU Roy Kelsey doesn’t technically have a “no cellphone” clause in his syllabus; instead he observes how students choose to interpret the vague “Be Engaged” part of his syllabus.
“Some students would rather take notes and pay attention in class, and others will be on Facebook the entire time,” Kelesy said. “I don’t say anything, but I definitely notice. And I’ll definitely remember the students who are always on their phone … and not in a positive way.”
Another tip? Trying to be sneaky while texting is just as disrespectful as having your phone out in plain sight. Professors can always tell when you’re texting — nothing in your lap can be that interesting.
Showing up late
Being late to events — be it by two or 20 minutes — isn’t a great habit to have, but when it comes to class (especially major-related ones), being tardy is something that professors seriously look down upon.
Stan Ketterer, an associate journalism professor at Oklahoma State University, was tired of having latecomers to his class, so he created a deterrent to this behavior.
In Ketterer’s syllabus for his computer-assisted reporting class, it explicitly mentions in the 650-word attendance policy that tardiness will not be tolerated.
According to his syllabus, “Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class. If students are five or more minutes late according to computer time, they will be counted as absent.”
Yes, five minutes. Some students think his policy is too harsh, but Ketterer writes that he believes his no-nonsense policy will only help his students in the long run.
“[Journalists] must get to work on time, cover events on time, write accurate and complete stories, and make their deadlines to serve their readers, viewers, listeners and users,” his syllabus states. “Reporters who arrive late for events such as news conferences, miss work or miss deadlines will be fired. … Consider this course as a job and act accordingly.”
While some won’t liken their class to a job, keep in mind that most professors also believe that their classes deserve the respect of at least showing up on time.
Being completely silent during discussion
Students that are used to getting participation points just by showing up to class might be in for a shock. Some professors would actually like you to speak up … and possibly even ask questions.
Yes, we all know how easy it is to sit back in class and completely zone out, but this lack of engagement won’t get you any brownie points with your professors. Speaking up in class may seem like something optional, but to your instructors, it could mean the difference between getting a reference letter or not.
Cheryl Fields, an associate professor of elementary and social studies at University of Georgia, is a firm believer in active participation in the classroom and student interaction with not only peers but also the instructor.
“What I feel like students don’t understand is that talking and participating in classes is easy,” Fields said. “What’s hard is getting your first job and not being able to talk to your boss because you never had the practice.”
“I’m not making you talk in front of the class to mortify you,” Fields said. “Just so you can be comfortable doing it.”
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