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Dos and Don’ts of Going to Office Hours

Last updated September 27, 2020

Going to office hours can be a great way to get help, make sure you're on track, and to demonstrate your commitment to the class. Here are suggestions of what to do and what to avoid to have a productive meeting with your instructor.

Do: Have questions and talking points prepared. 

Consider writing down what you’d like to discuss. If you’re visiting a professor’s office hours, you can discuss a grade you received recently, a reading or piece of homework you’re struggling with, or a concept you’re learning that you could use more clarity on. When visiting the learning center, bring specific examples of work you want help with.

Don't Expect your teacher/professor to be able to read your mind. They work with tons of students every day. Help them help you by providing context.

Do: Check-in with your teacher/professor when you've been out sick or have a planned absence. 

This will show them that you are being proactive about your absence and they will be more willing to accommodate your situation

Don't Abuse sick days or their generosity. It's one thing to be out with the flu and another to ditch class.

Do: Let your teacher know when something is impeding your ability to learn. 

Examples could be: small text on lecture slides, or by asking for more elaboration on a concept or idea that was covered quickly.

Don't Hold grudges or personally attack your teacher/professor. This is never a good way to handle difficult situations. Take a breath, pause, and reflect on your words before saying them.

Do: Take responsibility for your success. 

If you think you've answered something correctly, but got low marks, bring it up with the professor and state your case.

Don't Brush aside mistakes until the end of the semester when grades are being turned in. Your professor will be more open to grade discrepancies when you catch them early on or as they happen. It’s likely an honest mistake.

Do: Get to know your teacher/professor. 

Building a professional relationship means putting in the effort to share interests and treating them like a person with feelings.

Don't Think they’re robots. They have lives outside of the classroom too (*huge shocker*)

Read, How to Work With Your Professor and Classmates Virtually for help in navigating distance learning.

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