Waiting on the Professor: the 15 minute rule!

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We used to pray it would happen.

Every time my friends and I approached a classroom, we would cross our fingers and hope for the best. Hope, that our professor would send a last minute email canceling class, or else choose to just not show up at all.

The number one most frequently repeated conversation, as we waited for a professor running a minute or two late, was what we would do with the free time. Stop in the gym, go grocery shopping, finish that essay, or take a long nap. The possibilities always seemed endless. It was kind of silly, considering that we were paying for those classes. But the prospect of an unexpected free hour was too irresistible; besides, we had nothing else to look forward to except exams and homework.

But it wasn’t worth the cost.

We so avidly anticipated a day off that we would dash out of the classroom the second our professor was officially 15 minutes late.  But that didn’t win us any awards from our professors. If they did show up eventually, we often received a blistering lecture at the next class about becoming responsible adults.  And more often than that, we later got a homework assignment emailed to us, to make up for the lost class time.

So even though I rarely got the opportunity, I did learn a few things about how to take full advantage of the freedom. So, if you ever get lucky keep these survival tips in mind. Your professor doesn’t have the right to make you wait in an empty classroom all day, but taking a few precautionary steps, before you flee, can make you look good in your professor’s eyes.

1) Every school has a different rule, so be cautious before you decide to flee the classroom. Make sure that it really is 15 minutes and not 20 or 30. It’s usually clearly written in your student handbook or syllabus.

2) Don’t expect your teacher to be pleased with your decision to scramble. Sure it may be his fault he’s late, but it’s more likely that circumstances out of his control delayed his arrival, maybe there was an accident on the highway. Either way he won’t be happy if he arrives to find a deserted classroom.

3)  If you do have a contact number, and it’s nearing the moment of escape, don’t hesitate to use it. Checking in is a sign of a respect, and it’s proof that you put in more than the required effort to attend class. Don’t be afraid your professor will be angry that you’re getting ready to bail. What’s the worst he can do?

(Tip: If you’re really nervous, just call as a third party…I’m calling on behalf of your soc260 course. We were just wondering if you’re running late today and if you’ll make it on time?)

4) Someone in your class is bound to have a smart phone or computer on them. Send an email one minute before the official wait period ends. Don’t accuse your professor of skipping out on class, simply ask if class was canceled and let them know your just checking in to make sure everything is ok.

5) Instead of actually taking off, consider what you can do with a free hour in the classroom, especially if you have another class in the next period. Everyone else will probably leave, which means you can just sit in the classroom and finish that essay on your laptop.  Or you can spend the hour googling the best price for those new sheets you’ve been eyeing.  Either way, at least you’ll still be there if your professor does arrive, and you still got to enjoy your free time.