While I didn’t get my Master’s degree in “Classroom Etiquette”, I realize that transitioning from a laid back homeschool setting to a full on classroom can sometimes be daunting. My first years in classroom way back in middle school were crazy and chaotic, but that might have just been because I went to a crazy private school. Even so, for all the high school homeschoolers out there who have an interest in taking college or supplementary classes, I’ve prepared this handy-dandy guide of what you should do and should avoid doing in a classroom setting. And if you’re already familiar with classroom settings, you can still use this guide as a reference!
- Come into class on time. Early is preferable, but not necessary. Teachers feel disrespected when you show up twenty minutes late with no good reason.
- Have your due-in-class assignments with you, even if you only got half of them done. I’ve seen plenty of ticked-off teachers who handed out F’s when a student’s first words to them were “about the assignment for today…”
- Respect your teacher and fellow students. Classrooms aren’t supposed to be hostile environments, and being a jerk can turn your classroom into a passive-aggressive oven fast.
- Expanding on the above point, the classroom is not the lunchroom. Don’t throw stuff, or speak up loudly. If you have to talk, most of the time it’s a safe bet to whisper.
- Take notes and pay attention to lectures. You only get to hear a lecture once – – especially in college. Even if you don’t take notes of anything else, write down what homework you’re supposed to do and when it’s due.
- Ask questions after class and when otherwise appropriate, even if you’re half sure of something. Your teachers are paid to help you, after all!
- Work quickly, but carefully. If you have an in-class assignment, it’s not a good idea to rush it, but classes also have a limited timespan, so there’s often not time to re-do an essay thrice.
- Use distracting electronics in class. Some classes lend themselves to laptop use, but save that Angry Birds session on your smartphone for lunchtime.
- Pester other students. Especially when they’re focusing on the lecture, it’s ideal not to distract them with questions and pictures of your cat.
- Bring a bunch of food items to class. Most colleges have strict rules on this, and no one likes it when their desk is stained McRib red.
- Stick gum to the bottom of your desk. Okay, this one is more of a pet peeve than a necessary guideline. If I find gum hanging onto my desk like a sleeping, rubbery bat, it makes me want to find the person who did it and frown at them so hard that they never smile again.
- Sleep. Aside from causing you to miss the lecture, it’s also disrespectful. (note: this guideline is null and void for 8:00 A.M. classes.
- Argue with the teacher. If you have to do that (and hopefully you don’t) then save it for after class!
If everyone followed these (somewhat simple) guidelines, we’d live in a wonderful world where people flocked peacefully through classroom-shaped fields like fairytale ponies. Of course, they’re just guidelines, and sometimes you gotta learn each teacher’s rules the hard way. They may or may not apply to the classes you take, but attempting to follow them will at least make you feel like a better person knowing you’re improving class for everyone around you.
June 19, 2012