Strategy for Success #44: Wait! Wait!

Waiting for a professor to show up?  It happens that occasionally a professor misses a class.  Usually, there is some form of notification, especially with all of the electronic means of communication available.  There may also be a note left on the door or in the classroom.

Those situations are easy.  If you know ahead of time, don’t go.  If there’s a note at the class, you have two options.  Leave as soon as you see it, celebrate your free time (not too enthusiastically, please), or use the time to meet with your fellow students to plan ahead for group projects, get questions answered, or even to study together.

If there is no note, how long do you wait for the professor to arrive before leaving?  One tradition is that a teaching assistant rates 5 minutes, an assistant professor or lecturer 10 minutes, an associate professor 15 minutes, and a full professor 20 minutes.

The rumor is that as a professor’s rank in academia increases, so should the courtesy shown to him or her.   Have you done your research to know your professor’s rank?  Some colleges don’t even use rank, only the term “professor.”

Does your college have a tradition for this?  Is it written, unwritten but understood, or just a rumor?  Why not ask the professor before any possible misunderstanding?  Ask with extreme restraint and respect, to avoid creating an impression of hoping for canceled classes.

Try THIS:  “Professor, what should we do if you are delayed getting to class and have no way of notifying us that you are on your way?”

NOT this:  “Professor, how long do we have to wait for you if you are late?”

Student Success Strategy #44:  Wait!  But plan ahead for this possibility so your time isn’t wasted.


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