Professors can be fickle folk. Sometimes they're laid-back and hilarious, and they couldn't care less if you're texting in class. Other times, they're curmudgeonly and have serious problems with you updating Facebook during their lectures. After the first few days of class, it's usually pretty easy to figure out what a specific professor is going to let slide during the semester, but every once in a while you may find yourself doing things during class that you had no idea would piss your professors off. Wondering what we're talking about? Here are some surefire ways to anger the one person in your lecture you should probably suck up to (at least a little bit).
We get it -- sometimes there just isn't enough time to eat a full meal in the 15 minutes you have in between classes. If your prof is nice enough to let you eat in class, don't drive him or her crazy by making unnecessary noise opening or consuming your food. Apples, carrots and celery may be super healthy, but the noise you'll make eating them in class will drive your prof crazy.
Packaged food is convenient when you're on the run, but opening bags and plastic coverings can be really distracting to someone giving a lecture, not to mention your fellow classmates. Try to choose snacks that are easy to eat quietly, like grapes or yogurt!
Maybe you tap your foot, click your pen or constantly play with your hair. Whatever your vice may be, there's a chance it's becoming a distraction to your teacher. AnnaLee, a senior at Notre Dame who has trouble with fidgeting in class, remembers her "easily distracted" political science professor saying, "Please stop twirling your hair, honestly -- my God, we have to discuss LINCOLN!"
If need be, only write in pencil or tie your hair back into a chic topknot to keep your hands focused on taking notes.
The easiest mistake to avoid is probably the easiest mistake to make in a class: asking the professor a question that's clearly answered on the syllabus. Professors spend a lot of time preparing for their courses, and they use their syllabi as a means to communicate their goals and expectations for the class to their students. It's disrespectful to ask your prof, "What day is our midterm?" or to complain, "I didn't know there was extra reading for today!" when information about both are distinctly outlined on the syllabus she handed out on the first day of class.
Sometimes professors can be nitpicky about the office hours they put on their syllabi and won't even talk to students if they stop by their offices outside of office hours. Florence Christie, president of Her Campus Exeter, remembers going to a professor's office only to be refused "point-blank... as it would ruin his writing flow!"
In order to avoid pissing off the person who gets to decide your grade in a class, re-read the syllabus every now and then to make sure you're staying on top of everything from classroom procedures to due dates. Be sure to write down any important dates in your planner as soon as you get your syllabi as well!
4. Ask a question someone else just asked
Nothing angers a professor (or your classmates, for that matter) more than a student asking a question that someone else asked five minutes previously. This indicates that you're not paying attention in class or you're not being honest when the professor asks, "Does everyone understand?"
Don't be afraid to ask for clarification when you don't understand something in class; professors are there to help you out when you're lost. However, don't tick them off by blatantly ignoring your classmates and then repeating a question that was already covered in class. If you don't understand the answer that was given, ask your professor to explain further and be specific about the details that you're stuck on.
We know you think you're being so quiet in the back of the class while talking to your friend about how her weekend went, but no matter how inaudible you think you are, people in your class are going to hear you. Even if they don't call you out, either because they're too nice or they don't want to take the time to, professors get mad when other people are talking while they are. Wait until a break, or better yet, after class, to talk about your weekend escapades with your friends. We can guarantee that your prof doesn't care about your wild, partying ways.
For even more things you're doing that annoy your professors, check out HerCampus.com!