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What do you usually say in the UK when you come into the class while the teacher is teaching. Is it ok to say "excuse me, sir or miss" or "May I come in, please"? are there any other ways to say this?

  • Depends – who are you? Are you a student arriving late for class? A fellow teacher needing to talk to a student in the class? The principal needing to have a word with the teacher? An alien coming to abduct the entire class? (Just kidding about that last one – if you were and alien coming to abduct the class, you’d never admit it on here anyway.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 17 '18 at 11:38
  • A student arriving late for class. – Falona Dolfa Nov 17 '18 at 12:23
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    I haven’t gone to school in the UK, but I would imagine the most common thing there would also be to say nothing – just quietly open the door and sneak down to find a seat while trying not to interrupt the teacher or diverting people’s attention. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 17 '18 at 12:25
  • In that case you wouldn't say 'May I come in?' because you should be in there already! 'Excuse me' or 'I'm sorry I'm late' would be more appropriate. – Kate Bunting Nov 17 '18 at 14:35
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In line with the clarifications: I did go to school in the UK (primary through to university) and can confirm the assertion posted by Janus Bahs Jacquet. The teacher has the floor, and it would be seen as very ill-mannered to distract the teacher and class by saying anything at all. You creep in, trying to be as silent and invisible and possible. If the door is closed but unlocked, you don't even knock. The only exception I can think of would be a science practical class, in which there might be safety implications to just walking in without any knowledge of what is going on.

I now teach a module of a Translation Studies course at a Chilean university, and this is something I always go over in the introductory talk as it's a cultural difference.

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