Classroom Etiquette and Manners

Good classroom etiquette could improve your grade and help develop a good relationship with your professor. Listed below are common classroom practices.

1. Practice common courtesy

Private conversations with your neighbor and cell phones ringing in class are two of the biggest pet peeves of professors. Most professors don't mind if you whisper a question to your neighbor to confirm something discussed in class but more than that is distracting. Your classmates deserve your respect and support.

2. Please be on time 

One cannot control their arrival time if their car breaks down or if the previous class goes into overtime. Normally, however, students should plan on arriving on time. Entering the classroom after the professor's presentation has started can be distracting both to the professor as well as to other students.

Students who arrive late should consult other students about any announcements made at the beginning of class. Quizzes missed by late arrival, in most cases, cannot be "made up."

If you are going to miss class it is a good idea to contact your instructor before the class if possible and if not to follow up as soon as possible.

3. Avoid walking out halfway through class

Students should not normally leave or re-enter the classroom during the class period. Doing this can be distracting, and can give the impression that you do not respect the educational process taking place.

4. Show patience toward the end of class.

The professor has the right to finish his or her thought at the end of the class period. Please do not start putting books away, closing up notebooks, and zipping up book bags 5 minutes before the official end of class. (There is a separate list of rules for professors. On that list is a rule that says "Do not routinely keep students more than a minute or two after the official end of the period.") 

5. Common things not to ask your professor

If you have missed or skipped class you will want to retrieve any missed information. There are certain ways you should not retrieve this information. Don't ask these questions, which are classic annoyances for professors:

  • "I missed class.  Did we do anything important?"
  • After chatting with your friend for five minutes: "Could you repeat that?"
  • As your only question about an upcoming assignment: "How long does the paper have to be?"
  • In the middle of a fascinating discussion on a new concept: "Will this be on the test?"
  • At the end of the semester after missing numerous assignments: "Is there extra credit in this class?"

Instead, enlist the help of other students you trust in class who can give you any needed information or handouts given in the class(es) you missed.

6. Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be honest and ethical at all times in their pursuit of academic goals. Class members who participate in any violation of academic integrity will be subject to disciplinary action.

Plagiarism is a serious violation and one that professors take to heart. Some professors use software and other aids to spot plagiarized material. If you are unsure what plagiarism is, or are unaware of how to "cite" information you find, talk with library staff and faculty.

Violations include (but are not limited to) cheating on exams or assignments, informing others of exam questions, submitting work of another person without giving due credit to that person, and using study aids not authorized by the professor.