American Classroom Customs
Read this, then answer the questions at the bottom of the page.
- If the teacher asks a question, you are expected to give an answer.
If you do not understand the question, you should raise your hand and ask
the teacher to repeat the question. If you do not know the answer, it is
all right to tell the teacher that you do not know. Then he or she knows
what you need to learn.
- There is no excuse for not doing your homework. If you
are absent, you should call your teacher or someone who is in your class
and ask for the assignment. It is your responsibility to
find out what assignments you have missed. It is not the teacher's responsibility
to remind you of missed assignments.
- You must not be absent on a test day. If you are seriously ill, call
and let the teacher know you will not be there for the test. If your teacher
allows make-up tests, you should take the test within one or two days after
returning to class. Serious illness is the only reason for
missing a test.
- Be on time! It is considered rude to be late. Also, it bothers other
students. If you must come in late, be sure to do it quietly. Have your
books and papers out of your bag before you come into the room. Then go
to your seat and sit quietly. In the U.S. it is not necessary to knock
before you enter the classroom. Most of the ELC teachers will give you
a low grade if you are often late.
- Have your book out and be ready to begin when the class starts. Your
teacher should not have to ask you every day to take out your book. Be
sure you have a paper and a sharp pencil ready.
- In America, you should call your teacher by his or her last name, not
"teacher". Also you should use Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. before
the last name (such as Mrs. Smith or Mr. Jones). This is considered polite.
The teacher will tell you his or her preferred title.
- Be courteous to other students. If another student is answering a question,
giving a report or an explanation, you should listen quietly and give them
your attention. Everyone must be treated with the same respect you would
like them to give to you. Also, the question they are asking may be something
you need to know.
- It is considered impolite in the U.S. to eat, drink or chew gum during
class. This is reserved for the break. Also, removing one's shoes in the
classroom is not polite.
- If you must leave during class, do so quietly. There is no need to
ask the teacher's permission. However, leaving the class for something
other than an emergency is not acceptable. (Getting a drink or sharpening
your pencil is not considered an emergency.)
- Copying another student's test or paper is never acceptable. It is
called cheating. At BYU and most schools in the U.S., students
who cheat are expelled (kicked out).
- Posters, bulletin boards, or any other thing hanging on the wall is
considered property of the school and shouldn't be written on or removed
without permission. (A sign-up sheet may be written on, but only put your
name on it.)
- It is not acceptable to put up any sign, announcement or advertisement
without first getting permission from the school office.
- Books, backpacks, lunches--anything that belongs to other people is
considered private and should not be moved or tampered with.
- Entering a teacher's office or any office with a closed door without
knocking first is not acceptable. Knock first, then wait to be invited
- It is not considered polite to yell at people to get their attention.
When talking in a group, you should not speak so loudly as to disrupt others
who are close by.
- Wearing a hat in class is considered impolite by many teachers. Some
teachers/programs may ignore it, but you should ask permission first.
Answer These Questions
Original Text Copyright (C) 1998 by Vera Mello) (email@example.com)