The 15 Commandments of Classroom Etiquette

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8. You shouldn’t fall asleep during class. I know, I know, 18th century literature isn’t exactly a motivating wake up call. I’ve watched some of my peers sit at their desks with their eyes closed, a gapping hole in their faces, while snorkeling sounds detonated from their mouths. The trick is to master sleeping with your eyes open. Remember daydreaming?


9. Professors hate it when students are tardy–although they exempt themselves from this decree–because it’s disruptive to the class and it hurts their egos. Set your clock and watch to college time. “Real” time isn’t good enough, whether their time is off by, oh say, five minutes, 10 minutes, none of that matters in college. I’ve known professors who rattled off with lecture for 15 minutes after the class was officially over. I know you really want to listen, but art history is waiting for you to do an analytical presentation on the color-choice palettes of Jackson Pollack.


10. Dust off the attic of your brain because college kids love to talk politics. Where else would they share all of that useless knowledge? The good thing about this is that you were probably alive when John F. Kennedy was president. The bad news is, with age, your memory is the first to go.


11. Spouting off about your favorite song or recording artist from the 60s, 70s or 80s is probably not a good idea. These students don’t know the Mary Jane Girls from The Bee Gees. Now if you mention Hip-Hop Artist Ludacris or Justin Timberlake, you might get some buzz.


12. No matter how tempted you are to use the slang of your fellow budding students, don’t. They’ll recognize you as a fraud; you want to sound hip. Guess what? They don’t use that word anymore. It’s been thwarted off along with the words “groovy” and “ya dig?” Although the word “awesome” has been spotted from time to time like a Vegas-style Elvis.


13. You don’t like it when someone preaches to your choir, so avoid the Reverend Sal E. Who role. The last thing you’d want to do is remind the other students of their parents. This will get you a first-class ticket to ostracism. The semesters can be long, so fight the urge to lecture them. Yes. Even when they do something stupid in your presence.


14. Don’t squeal on the students too much. You’ll be pegged as a tattle-tell. College kids still play this game.


15. Sexual harassment is not tolerated in college. Period. Probably back in your day, telling a woman, or man, how attractive she or he was in a hot outfit was acceptable. Grabbing them on the shoulder and showing them how hot they were in those garments is a sure fire way to get yourself into some deep dodo.

Also, be careful using the words “suga,” “sweet-heart” or “darling.” These are words of endearment, something you’d call a loved one, not a stranger, let alone a college professor or fellow student.


In a Dzied and Weiner report study, 30 percent of undergraduate female students experienced sexual harassment from at least one of their professors. Schools that had no sexual harassment policy seemed to have higher incidences of harassment and had no training program for staff and students*.


* Levy, Anne C. & Paludi, Michele A. Workplace Sexual Harassment. (62-63) New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1997.


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