STUDENT ETIQUETTE WHEN VISITING YOUR INSTRUCTOR DURING OFFICE HOURS
William Broderick, Professional Tutor
There are many misconceptions that students have about visiting their instructors. A prevalent misconception is that the office visit is a negative experience; however, the exact opposite is true. The visit is the time to make a personal connection with the professor who is there to be a positive source of advice. For instance, if you are doing a research paper, the instructor can recommend well-balanced and scholarly sources, or stress ways of narrowing the focus of the research. Another misconception is that only students who are struggling in the class must visit the instructor. The reality is that the successful students are the ones who make the most visits.
The successful students also know the etiquette involved in the visit. Some of the rules of etiquette are basically common courtesy; however, there are other less evident rules. The most prevalent breach of etiquette is not arriving on time. The student must realize that others are scheduled. One student’s lateness will disrupt the opportunity for all involved, including the instructor. It might sound obvious, but the student should call when running late and reschedule. When arriving at the office, the student should knock on the door, even if the door is open, and then wait for the instructor’s invitation. It is crucial to turn your cell phone off. Do not set it on vibrate, so you will not be tempted to answer the phone. Putting the instructor “on hold” while you answer the phone is definitely not a good idea.
Never arrive at the meeting unprepared; it is one way to turn a positive situation into a negative. The instructor is there to help you with your work, but is not there to do the work for you. The student should not under any circumstances say or imply that s/he does not have a clue of what the instructor wants done for the assignment. A better approach would be to remind the instructor of the assignment and show what you have done so far. Bring a note pad to write down the instructor’s recommendations and enjoy your visit.
The office visit is one good way to lessen academic stress!