The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Classroom étiquette for the oblivious
Illustration by Cory Walker // [email protected]

They haunt our classrooms. They are unaware or simply do not care. The crinkle of a potato chip bag, the whispers during a lecture, the irrelevant questions and the rude interruptions are proof of their existence. They are the oblivious and often inconsiderate students.

As adult college students, our class schedule is just a small segment of a much larger life schedule that includes work or family obligations—and disruptions often mean missing some piece of critical information.

Like most schools, City College has a student code of conduct governing student behavior. The code is a general list of rules and penalties that primarily address serious issues like cheating, plagiarism, violence and criminal activity. Unfortunately, there is no student guide for appropriate classroom behavior.

So in the interest of conserving students’ time and professors’ resources, we would like to offer a few tips on classroom etiquette to the uninformed or oblivious.

• Find the syllabus. It is frustrating to listen to our fellow students ask the same questions over and over again regarding assignments and due dates. The syllabus was that handout given on the first day of class. (It might be online, too, on D2L or the professor’s website.) It contains dates, information and details about how to succeed in the course. Refer to it. If you don’t have it, ask a classmate for a copy.

• Phones have no place in class. Girlfriends, boyfriends and second cousins can all wait 75 minutes for your next Facebook posting. But if you really want the professor to know your name, pull out a smart phone. Texting and talking on the phone in class is a good way to cut your grade in half.

• Be on time. And if you cannot arrive just before class begins, do not make a grand entrance. No one wants to hear your excuses or apologies, especially the professor. Enter quietly and have your class materials unpacked before you enter the classroom. If there is a lecture or another student is giving a presentation, wait until there is a pause or conclusion before entering.

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• Be prepared for tests and quizzes. Begging and borrowing gets old. Pencils and Scantrons are cheap in the bookstore. Otherwise, pay the markup price to the guy in the back of class. And always remember to mark quiz and test days on calendars—they are usually listed in the syllabus.

• Be polite to each other. Respect is a must in the classroom. We are all entitled to our own opinions or beliefs, and when expressing yours, keep them relevant to the discussion or lecture. We really do not care how they did things back on the farm (see the next rule).

• Think about what you want to say before you say it. When commenting during a class discussion or asking questions, think first. Make sure your comments and questions are relevant to the lecture or discussion. Otherwise, please keep your mouth shut and listen.

• Professors keep office hours. If you do not know what grade you are getting, you probably do not want to know. For class questions outside of the day’s lesson plan, visit professors during their scheduled office hours.

• Do not come to campus contagious. It sucks to be sick when you need to be in class. But do the right thing and keep your snot to yourself – ask a classmate to take notes for you, email your professor, and stay away from the rest of us.

This list is just a guide. All professors are different, and no two classes are the same. But how we interact in college is very similar to how we will be expected to act in our future professions. Our time in the classroom and on this campus is finite. And, as students, we are here to learn, but we also need to be mindful of how our actions impact the learning process of those around us.

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