Myth: If your teacher is 15 minutes late, can you leave?

Monica Ruiz

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School rumors can fly faster than updates on Facebook accounts.

Ever heard the rumor that if your professor is 15 minutes late you can leave? Well, don’t believe it. This is not a school policy, and in fact many FAU departments haven’t even heard of it.
“I’ve heard about it and always thought it was true,” explains Cassie Shashaty, a freshman social science major. “My teachers have never been more than 15 minutes late, but if they were, I would definitely leave because they can’t expect us to wait around all day. … They are late, and everyone else is on time.”

The UP called five different colleges and the only response we received was: “I’ve never heard of such a policy.” The Office of the Registrar, which organizes the University Catalog, and the Office of the Provost, which organizes university affairs, were the only two offices that could definitively say that the policy “never existed.”

Senior Ryan Smith thinks it’s wrong for students to leave class if a teacher is late.
“It’s an unwritten rule that people follow. I know about it and I think the people who do it are stupid,” says the communications major. “It’s irresponsible to leave after 15 minutes. If someone does that, it’s an excuse for them not to go to class.”

Follow FAU’s advice: If your professor is late to class, the students are expected to stay unless the professor informs them of a class cancellation. Students are still responsible for their absences and work missed if they leave early.


42 Responses to “Myth: If your teacher is 15 minutes late, can you leave?”

  1. Audrey Seningen on October 17th, 2011 9:06 pm

    How ridiculous! So students should be expected to stay and do nothing when a teacher is late? Where is the responsibility on the teacher’s side? As college students, we PAY for classes. I understand things happen, but a teacher who is routinely late and expects students to stay on their valuable time needs to be held accountable for his/her unprofessionalism. Why should we pay these ridiculous tuition costs if the professors are not going to take the students seriously?

  2. Jonathan Gonzales on April 28th, 2014 4:41 pm

    I feel if the teacher is going to be later that it is the TEACHERS RESPONSIBILITY to do everything in their power to let the students know. There’s a million and one ways to contact people to let them know something. Whether its the school site, Facebook, text messages or even a phone call. If my teacher is late and I got no notification, I’m leaving. Simple as that. I have other things to do to.

  3. Strawhberrie on June 5th, 2015 8:30 am

    Yeah, but why is it not a rule? The teacher is the one being irresponsible and not cooming to the class for fifteen minutes. My teacher literally stands out if the classroom for like about fifteen minutes each day and talks to other teachers.

  4. Sumi Kitamura on October 13th, 2015 3:04 am

    Doesn’t matter, if your manager/boss is 15 minutes late to work, doesn’t give you the excuse to leave work in 15 minutes. You still have to stay and do your job as expected. Maybe try to call your manager/boss. But that’s the responsibility on your part. Just because someone else is irresponsible doesn’t give you the right to be as well. Because that is your own screw up. The teatcher never made you screw up, it was you and you only.

    It’s like if someone steals from you. The only solution you can think of is to steal something from them. Well, woops there was a security camera. Now they have the item back, you’re in jail, they still have the item they stole from you, and they’re perfectly innocent and your sitting in jail with charges.

    So it’s best to not do the same thing to someone that they do to you, and it’s a good thing to start learning this lesson now.

    All you can do is try to report it to your princable or maybe try to have a talk with him on why all the teachers stand in the halls for 15 or so minutes before getting to class. Maybe he’s got the reason why.

    But there ARE some classes that has this policy, but some don’t. Doesn’t hurt to find out.

  5. Kevin Andres Daul on November 18th, 2015 7:15 pm

    Difference is, I’m not being paid to study, at least not yet, I’ll be paid in my job, not at school, so most students have this mentality

  6. adelaide on January 25th, 2016 8:49 pm

    I think that if your teacher is late to class it is irresponsible of the students to leave but the teacher should be o time so it is equally irresponsible for them to be late so I am fifty fifty on what I think.

  7. granny56 on October 25th, 2015 12:48 am

    Something needs to be done regarding this matter because, in every professor’s syllabus they state if a student is more than 15 minutes late they already are marked as a no show whether they stay for the remainder of class and do the assignments or not. So why no penalty on the instructor? Respect goes both ways.

  8. Conner mainly on February 23rd, 2016 3:57 pm


  9. Skyler simonson on March 7th, 2016 10:39 am

    But what if our in junior high school. I go to West Point junior high in UT are the rules the same in middle school

  10. Camden kryder-fontnote on November 10th, 2016 12:35 pm

    I’m am 13 in 8th grade my computer apps teacher Stefine kerns will leave the class or not be there at all it is extremely annoying to not make a grade. She doesn’t enter in grades till the week before report cards are sent out before that i get yelled at bout a 45 in her class till it is brought back up to a 85 or a 90 when she does enter it in. i am tired of being yelled at by the teacher for not having papers that she was sapost to hand out
    but guess what She wasn’t there to administer the assignment or test she is completely not responsible at all she needs to be fired .

    – Camden kryder at bay side intermediate

  11. Erica on November 10th, 2016 4:45 pm

    My professor was 30mins late to class today. no text, no email. half of the class left. One of my classmates told me the substitute came in 35 mins after we left.

  12. James Scott on November 22nd, 2016 8:19 am

    This isn’t actually a made up rule. Many schools enforce this with their students, but if the teacher notifies the students of being late, then the students must wait. If the teacher or professor is later than fifteen minutes, as in they are not present in the building or in the room, the students may leave, it is up to the students to leave and notify the school administrator that the teacher was late. If the teacher shows up later during the class period, the students who left will not be excused (obviously) but it will be on the teacher to give them their missing work and tell them why they were late that day.

  13. Joseph Thao on December 6th, 2016 11:51 am

    I am in high school, and obviously I agree to both sides. Both viewpoints have a reason to as why students should leave or don’t. Personally I believe that students shouldn’t be treated less than a teacher when this happens, especially from the “Up”. The point made with the boss and manager example was great, but that has a different relationship towards a student and a teacher. That example just claims the link between “lower” and “higher” figures. As a highschool student, I do not like the thought of paying for a class that has lost 15 minutes or more for an unnoticed tardy from a professor. Shouldn’t the school ups give it more thought to this? Some teachers may use the “advice” for their own self to mess with the fellow students. Although teachers will most likely not (assuming they won’t), more thought should be given to this matter. Simply saying that students “use” this as an excuse to leave class is nothing but a mere opinion.
    Look at it from this angle: every student have a different life that have their own struggles already, and to be wasting time, money, and knowledgeable chances because of the late person. What is the purpose and meaning of a teacher? I believe it is to teach and prepare the students for the future.
    Opinion from a fellow highschool student.

  14. PJ on February 10th, 2017 4:35 am

    The comparison with the boss is ridiculous – a boss pays YOU, but YOU pay the tutor (via the university).

  15. Speed on March 9th, 2017 10:11 am

    Lol, this isn’t a myth where I live here in South Carolina . This rule was enforced in my middle and high school. It’s even in the policy/rules at the college I am currently attending . Funny enough, today, the substitute who was supposed to take place for my theatre teacher didn’t show up. So as soon as that 15 min mark hit , we all left .

  16. Henry on April 27th, 2017 10:01 am

    All this quarrelling is hilarious because teachers at Palm Beach State College (located inside FAU’s main campus, mind you) acknowledge the responsibility to be on time. If they’re fifteen minutes or more late, the students can leave, and the school doesn’t expect the teacher to hold a class. In short, they mandate the same exact rule this article mocks.

    The fact that enforcement of this rule is on a campus within FAU speaks to the quality of this journalism. It’s a shame this oversight was made and that this paper’s scope is so narrow. As a former PBSC student and current student of FAU, I know many people like myself who could have very easily suggested that this rule isn’t a student ‘myth’ and that it exists just a short walk away on campus. I understand that the two schools are not the same, but to label a rule a myth is to suggest its long-standing invalidity, and implies we students are simple-minded sheep.

  17. Slossy on May 16th, 2017 11:28 am

    I feel that if a teacher has been more that 15 minutes they probably won’t show up. If they are late, it’s their fault! Children should be free to walk around the school as long as they don’t leave school grounds.

  18. Joe on July 14th, 2017 3:50 pm

    It’s a fair rule. Students are paying for the teacher’s time and documentation that they achieved minimal competency in a certain subject area, and it’s their responsibility to show up when scheduled.

    Students have multiple responsibilities and things to worry about, like other classes and part-time (or even full time) jobs. If the teacher shows up late and keeps students over the allotted time, that cuts into the students time allocated to other tasks.

  19. Sierra on July 24th, 2017 12:31 pm

    I really thought this was a rule, considering it was one of my professors who informed me of it in the first place. Sure if you have work to do, you could sit there and work on it and wait to see if they show up. But 9 times out of 10 you don’t have work because the professor isn’t there to assign it. If your boss/manager shows up late, they usually call the store/business and let them know. At my job, we have to have the managers card to clock in, therefore if he/she is not there on time, we cannot clock in and work on time. It is not the same situation with work and classes. I get paid to work, so that’s less money for me if I don’t stay, oh well. But I if a professor is late, I’m actually paying for them to waste my time and let me sit there doing nothing. 2 years in college and only twice has the teacher actually shown up when we left early. All the other times, they never showed up and just apologized at the next class

  20. Protestor on October 15th, 2017 3:37 pm

    Ok it is not irresponsible for the students to leave if the teacher is the one who is being irresponsibly late. Someone related it to a job and you shouldn’t be late if the boss is late, but this is a whole other matter. If you are in college you pay for those classes and you expect to get what you paid for, in other words the teachers actually being there on time!! The difference between a boss being late and a teacher being late is this, whether the boss is late or not you should stay cause you get paid! In a class you shouldn’t have to stay because you are not paying them so you can sit in a classroom and do nothing.

  21. person on November 2nd, 2017 10:43 am

    this is a violation of student rights we are expected to be on time and if we arent we are pretty severely punished even if we are ten seconds late so if a teacher isnt there within fifthteen min we are still expected to wait? if we are late that badly we get an absence for the day and are still expected classes so a teacher can just not show up and as soon as we leave we are in trouble?
    someone should make a petition…

  22. Naoise corrigan on November 4th, 2017 9:35 am

    As a a student in secondary school (high school) in Ireland most of us have definitely heard of this rule, not exactly from our teachers but from other teachers we had as substitutes. A lot of the time if a teacher isn’t in we will get a substitute teacher and in thag class we revise other subjects or do our homework given from other classes or simply read a book. Our school policy is, if a teacher is 15 minutes late one person from the class should go down to the main office and find find out where he/she is. I don’t disagree with leaving class but I also don’t agree with it. I’m sure in most colleges/schools you should have plenty of work to catch up on or study for other things. Leaving the school all together is ridiculous and we would definitely get punished. Walking around the school disturbs other classes. I’m sure if people are gonna leave the school the most they are going to be doing in the time left of that class is chatting to friends, so why can’t you chat to your friends in the classroom. Teachers have been late on various occasions for me and in all honesty we as students were quite happy for them not to show up. Really when u have 9 classes a day I’m sure u wouldn’t care to have 8.

  23. Janet on December 1st, 2017 9:43 pm

    It might be a rule in some colleges, but some might not. In my opinion, however, I think it is perfectly okay for students to leave if the professor is more than 15 minutes late. Comparing work to college is not a good example because they are very different situations. It is because you are paying them for the education, they are not paying you to learn. If you were to compare the two, it would be a reason it should be a rule. If you were the owner of a restaurant, if an employee was late or was absent, they would not get a full days pay. If a professor is late or absent, they should apologize to the students as soon as they next see them. If the students are absent from class if and when the professor is more than 15 minutes late, they should email the absent students the assignments that they have missed for a chance to get the most out of their money. It would be unfair if they marked the students absent since it would be like marking your boss absent, and they paid their money to get there education and most likely have better things to do than wait around for a late or absent professor.

  24. Melissa on December 21st, 2017 1:34 am

    I had a professor who was constantly late for class. He would show up late nearly everyday and many times he would be more than 15 minutes late. Many of my classmates would leave class if he was more than 15 minutes late. When the professor did come strolling in, about half of the students had already left after the 15 minutes, so he was unable to teach a lesson that half of the class was not there to hear. Although it was annoying that I was paying for a class that was not being taught I think that the students who left had the right to do so. It was not their fault that class wasn’t being taught, it was the disrespectful professor who was late and thought that his time was more valuable than that of his students. I think that it is a good rule actually, students shouldn’t be expected to wait longer than the 15 minutes they already had to wait. They shouldn’t be expected to wait the entire length of the class to see if the professor is going to show up. A students time is just as valuable as a professors.

    At the end of the semester I told the administration that many of our classes were cancelled due to the tardiness of the professor and I told them that I didn’t think that it was right for me to have to pay for that class. A college is supposed to cater to the students; the students are the customers and they need to have a service that is worth paying for. If I hired a landscaper to mow my lawn and they didn’t do a good job then I would withhold the payment. It should be the same for colleges. I had to fight and make my case to several people all the way to the president of the school and let him know that my time was wasted and that I wanted a refund for that class. Finally I got a refund and the professor was fired.

  25. Rhys on January 8th, 2018 6:50 pm

    I just dont turn up at all.. non of this 15mins bs

  26. Kevin on January 22nd, 2018 4:38 pm

    I think if actual teachers say it themselves we should be allowed to go home after 15 minutes.

    We had outdoors school one Friday and it was freezing cold outside. We waited for 20 minutes before we started to go home we called the principal twice and after an eventual 45 minutes someone finally came. I was dead sick that weekend. Waste of time and a perfectly good weekend i could’ve spend with friends.

  27. Nicola on January 23rd, 2018 5:31 am

    At my high school the 15-minute-rule was understood by everyone. Including teachers. I had one teacher forget to unlock the door on the classroom he was in. After knocking several times, we left. He never looked up. I agree with others here, that a penalty for tardiness should go both ways. And a manager who deliberately walks in very late everyday, with a smug look, may soon find themselves without a workforce.

  28. B on January 26th, 2018 4:07 pm

    I disagree…

  29. b on February 1st, 2018 12:25 pm

    I just did leave after 20 min of no teacher. What’s that look? I did nothing wrong.

  30. Angry College Student on March 1st, 2018 8:07 am

    I think college itself is total BS and you should quit it doesnt matter if its 15 minutes or 1 minute just leAve thank s.

  31. Meghan on March 8th, 2018 10:22 am

    I think that we should be able to leave because if a teacher is late the students are not learning anything by standing in a hallway. So the teachers aren’t doing their job then we should be able to leave. If we are late we get marked absent or marked tardy, so the teachers don’t get anything. We should be able to leave because we could be going to another class that we are struggling in but at my high school we are told no matter how late our teacher is we have to wait in the hallway.

  32. Aussie on March 31st, 2018 5:21 pm

    You guys are all lost and have something wrong with you. If your teacher us late you suck it up and read a book or catch up on other studies… your going to be shocked when you enter the real world. I feel sorry for most Americans……

  33. starstriker on March 31st, 2018 9:45 pm

    To be honest i think that we should be able to leave because were paying them to teach us not to show up late so what I think is if theres a policy saying that you can leave if the teacher doesn’t show up in fifteen mins then you should leave your paying them to teach you and quit with the boss comparison bull crap the boss is paying you your paying the college or the tutor

  34. Weirdo on April 3rd, 2018 11:08 pm

    Honestly, why should students have to deal with their teacher being late? I believe this rule should be a thing, but if a teacher shows up, they need to deal with being absent.

  35. Not A Normie on April 4th, 2018 1:44 pm

    Its a legal thing. YOU ARE legally allowed to leave.

  36. Disgruntled College Student on April 11th, 2018 10:21 am

    My teacher threatened to give us all zeros if we left

  37. yes on April 12th, 2018 11:54 pm

    personally I believe that people should be able to leave but i also believe that you shouldn’t just do whatever you please but go to a class of the same subject that has a lower amount of people i think this because again your boss will pay you less if your late but if the boss is late you get ready in advance but with teachers you cant just stay ready for 10-7 minutes but you have to do somthing

  38. Antti Hujanen on April 13th, 2018 3:02 pm

    My teacher was 30 mins late so i vent like F*** it. I’m leaving. When i was at the door the teacher came in. I sill left.

  39. SetStudentRights on April 23rd, 2018 5:36 am

    In my country (Central Asia), if a student is late for even 1 minute, they are marked as a now show. And after a while, wheter that late student comes in the class telling his/her excuses, they are not listened, and ordered to leave the class!!! However, if a teacher is late for 15 mintues or more, they are not punished or ordered to leave the class!!! They just simply mark the whole class (if there is no presence of students) as now show!!! And they just report to “heads” that this class has had a very bad attitude to the subject and disrespect for the teacher!!! But that is dishonest, actually!!! Why are teachers not treated for their irresponsibility for their job?!!! We need legacy to set the fair!!!

  40. David Turner on July 15th, 2018 7:06 am

    At my school if a teacher is 5+ minutes late students can report the issue to the school office. Then people just play games on their phones or draw in notepads.

  41. Sierra on October 18th, 2018 11:41 am

    Again, you GET paid to be at work, I PAY for an education. Why stay in class twiddling my thumbs? I have other shit to do than waste my money. Circumstances come up, everyone is human, but if a teacher misses most of the class period, odds are they won’t be there in time to get anything useful across to their students. Now I respect my professors, but they expect a million and one things from me in a class period, sorry that I expect them to be there to teach, just as they expect me to be there to learn. And if they aren’t then I’m leaving. Simple as that

  42. njknj on March 12th, 2019 9:10 am

    i play minecraft

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