Common College Professor Pet Peeves and how to Avoid them

Although you may not realize it, you probably already know the majority of things college professors hate. It’s no mystery. Believe it or not, they are the same pet peeves your high school teachers had. Actually, your elementary school teachers were probably the first ones to teach you proper classroom behavior. Well, with the exception of cell phones and other personal electronic devices, not much has changed. Below is a list of the universal pet peeves of any instructor that you should most likely already know:

1) Talking or being disruptive
2) Being late, tardy
3) Being absent
4) Being disrespectful
5) Not completing assignments
6) Turning in late assignments
7) Not participating
8) Breaking the rules

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on to some things you don’t already know. Here are the major pet peeves of most college professors:

1) Email. One of the biggest and most common mistakes new college students make is addressing their professors casually in emails. Professors can get quite testy about this so, pay attention! Your professor is a professional not your friend. I can’t stress this enough. Emails to your professors should be businesslike, concise, and respectful. Avoid using a conversational tone and treat your professor like a prospective employer. Remember, professors have worked hard to get to where they are now and degrading them by treating them as another classmate or acquaintance is a huge no-no.

2) Passing the class without attending. Although it is quite possible to pass a class in college without physically being there, don’t do it. There’s nothing that gets under a professor’s skin more than giving a student who is rarely in class an “A”. This makes your professor feel as if their class isn’t challenging enough or important enough.

You might be thinking, “So what? I got an “A” in the class. What do I care?” Well, what you might not realize yet is that there is a high probability you will have that professor again. Also, professors talk to one another, especially other professors in their departments. Say you’re an English Major. The majority of your classes are going to be English classes and, likewise, your professors English professors. These professors share offices and go to the same meetings on campus and you can bet that they compare notes. It’s not hard to develop a bad scholastic reputation, and the last thing you want is to walk into a new class and already have one strike against you. The courses will be tough enough all by themselves!

3) Participation as a group. In college, the classroom is more of a community than it was in high school, and participation as an individual isn’t all that matters anymore. Professors can get extremely agitated when they repeatedly ask questions and the same three people raise their hands. The goal of any good professor is to actively engage the entire class in discussion and learning, and uncooperative classes can lead your professor to assign more homework or make your exams and assignments harder. To avoid this, participate in discussion as often as you can and encourage other students to as well.

4) Long-winded students. Okay, I understand that you’re Mr. Smarty pants and you know everything about everything, but tone it down a notch. Raising your hand for every question and giving over-descriptive, excessive answers might actually annoy your professor more than impress them. Keep your seven minute explanations on the definition of microbiology to a minimum and wow your professors with the work you turn in. Trust me, arrogance is not a trait professors find endearing.

5) Missing appointments. At many times throughout your college career, you will probably have to meet with your professors outside of class. It is very important to keep these appointments and be on time. You might think you are pressed for time, but you can be sure that your professor’s schedule is 100 times more hectic than yours. Professors can’t stand it when students waste their time by moving back appointments, canceling them, or not showing up to them. Be as respectful with their time as you would with your own.

6) Coming to class unprepared. You’re in college now, not high school, and your professors expect you to act like adults. That means coming to class with the designated handouts, readings, assignments, and proper attitude. In college, you just can’t get away with the old excuse “my dog ate it”, and professors expect a certain amount of professionalism in all their students. Missing an assignment more than once or coming to class perpetually hung-over reflects your lack of respect for the professor and nothing gets on a professor’s nerves more than that. Keep your slip ups to a minimum and remember that your professors are always watching you.

Keep these important things in mind and you’ll be sure to win your professors over!