By Laura Morrison, January 2014
Let's face it, if there's one person you don't want to tick off in the classroom, it's your professor. After all, these educators are the ones who have control of the grade book. So if you're looking to have a successful graduate school experience, it's wise not to ruffle your professors' feathers.
Of course, there might be days when you're going to say something you think is completely harmless. However, you never know how your teacher will take it. To avoid saying the wrong thing, take a look at the following questions and statements you should never make in the presence of a professor:
Did I miss anything important in class?
If you're pursuing a graduate degree, you're going to want to attend class regularly to keep up. Of course, if you're sick or have personal matters to attend to, you may end up missing a few classes. Professors are sure to understand, but be careful what you say to them when you return to school.
For instance, do yourself a favor and avoid asking if you missed anything important while you were away. According to USA Today College, the answer is always going to be "yes." If classes weren't important, why would students be required to take them? No teacher wants to think their lectures and lesson plans are something students can just ignore.
I had too much work to do for my other classes, so I …
As a student, you're expected to be able to balance your work for multiple classes. It's definitely possible, otherwise students would only be required to take one course per semester.
As a result, USA Today College advises students not to say they were so busy doing work for other classes they had no time to devote to a particular professor's assignment. Rather than insulting a teacher, the news source recommends honing your time management skills.
I didn't know it was due today
By the time you get to graduate school, your professors will expect to you complete assignments on time without them having to provide constant reminders. That's why Her Campus says it's a bad idea to say you didn't know something was due for class.
It's likely your professor is just as busy, if not more, than you are. Surviving graduate school is all about being organized and staying on top of your academic work.
I'm only taking this class because it's easy
You would probably never be this honest with a professor, but just in case you were unsure as to whether or not saying this is OK - it's not. USA Today College states that professors can view such a statement as you saying you didn't take the course seriously. This, in turn, could come back to haunt you when your instructor is ready to evaluate your work. If it's all so easy, let's see how well you did on this test or report.
Will this be on the test?
If your professor wants you to know what will be on the test, he or she will tell you. Otherwise, saying "no" gives students an excuse to zone out in class. If a professor is covering something, it's likely important. After all, these educators aren't just babbling to kill time - they often find what they're talking about very interesting, and maybe you will, too, if you give it a chance.
Is this going to be a long class?
Remember, you're not in charge of the class, your professor is. You may have very exciting plans, but you're expected to make class your priority until it's officially over. Your professor may be happy to hear what the night has in store for you, but he or she is unlikely to cut class short just for you.
About the Author: Laura Morrison is a the content manager for GradSchools.com, she has an MBA from Rutgers University.
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