Professors’ Pet Peeves

Texting in class is an obvious pet peeve of MC professors.
Texting in class is an obvious pet peeve of MC professors.


First impressions are important, especially when you’re kicking off a new semester with new professors. We all try our best to arrive on time and pay attention, but how are we to be certain that we are not playing into our professors’ biggest pet peeves? There are the obvious answers, but what about the little annoyances that we are not aware of? Knowing these can be important when trying to impress professors and now we can know exactly what they’re thinking as they look out into the classroom.

The first thing you can change, according to Dr. Brian Chalk, a professor in the English department, is your reaction and response in class.

“There’s nothing worse than when students just sit there and look at you when you’re trying to get a response out of them,” he said. So, speak up! Participation is vital, especially in discussion based classes. A quiet classroom can be poison when discussing Edward II and Gaveston’s relationship in Studies of Renaissance Literature (as Dr. Chalk would surely agree), along with many other courses.

He also mentions that repeated questions are particularly irritating. “It shows that students aren’t paying attention,” he said.

Finally, he states that improper email etiquette is another great annoyance. “I really dislike when student start an email with ‘Hey,’” he explained. So students: be wary when emailing teachers, especially when asking a favor, and be sure to use a formal greeting. It could be the difference between receiving an extended due line, or becoming part of the problem that fuels certain pet peeves for our professors.

Another English professor, Dr. Ashley Cross, added that her biggest pet peeve is “when a student who has missed class says, ‘did I miss anything yesterday?’ I always want to say, ‘No, you weren’t there, so we all just sat around and stared at each other.’”

She also states that it is very inconvenient “when students leave important or necessary texts at home. Conducting a lesson can be unnecessarily difficult when students are not prepared.”

Another pet peeve, which probably comes as no surprise, is texting during class. “My basic feeling is students should fake it if they aren’t interested–it’s in their best interest,” she said.

This is also includes working on material for other classes. Most other professors also concur that cheating is high on their list, although as Dr. Cross stated, “That’s more than a peeve–that’s a complete breach of trust.”

When asked the question via Twitter, religious studies professor Dr. Natalia Imperatori-Lee replied with similar answers. “Students who text in class, plagiarize, avoid eye contact when they didn’t read. I’m not that clueless.”

Being a professor or any educator presents numerous obstacles, and by treating these dedicated educators with respect (which implies not texting and participating) we can make their jobs less difficult and resist being a part of the problems that annoy them most. By just following these few easy guidelines, you can achieve respect from your professors and maybe learn a few etiquette lessons in the process. So next time you refuse to contribute in class, or pull out your phone to check Twitter, think twice.