Why did you take this course?

When an instructor hands out a questionnaire on the first day of class, is it inadvisable to honestly answer that it’s one of your required classes?

No, that’s fine. You should also say what program you are in.

It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

If you politely say, “It’s one of the requirements for my _______ program,” he’ll probably understand.

If you say, “I have to…sigh,” he probably will not.

Yeah. Nothing wrong with, “I’m a ___ major and it’s a program requirement.”

Actually, I like to know it is a required class, because I like meeting students in my program, and they are often likely to be serious about doing well, since they need it to graduate.

That’s fine to answer honestly.

If you’re interested in bonus kissup points, consider a version of “I’ve heard you are the best instructor for the /psychology/ department’s required /methods/ course.”

Or, if it’s a distributional requirement, something like “I needed to take a lab science and have always been interested in geology.”

A bad answer would be anything that indicated you were taking it to get an easy A. Professors enjoy smiting students like that.

Yeah, it’s fine. Just don’t say anything that implies that you resent this particular requirement (even if it is a class that everyone resents, including the prof, this will still make you stick out in a not-good way).

Faculty shouldn’t ask questions that they don’t want honest answers to.

If you’re invested in massaging the ego of the prof somewhat, you might want to say “I have an interest in (topic covered in the course), and it’s also required by my department.”

I think the prof might have two motives in mind. One, who are the people really interested in the subject matter and who’s there because they have to be? Two, is there an issue or topic that a number of students are interested in?

Or he/she could be screwing with your head…

I think you probably want to give a better answer than “because I have to,” though.

Yes, it’s fine. The instructor knows it. The instructor may well have no control over the questions, which may be set by the department or college.