As I am preparing for my classes to start on Thursday I want to give you some great advice on professors and what to do when they are horrible. I am going to give you some real advice because you need it because the world isn’t always fair and I love you. Obviously you need to really pay attention to your professor. Are they really as horrible as you are pinning them to be…or are you just studying a lot with minimum results.
Every single semester I have professors that I gravitate to right away, professors that give me the creeps, and professors that I don’t like. By the end of the second week I usually like all my professors though—even if some of them have weird quirks. When you go to college you will meet a wide range of professors: professors with accents, professors with ticks (of the doing an activity over and over kind), professors who weird you out, professors with strange bathing habits even. College is a place where all sorts of behaviors meet and that includes behaviors in your line up of professors.
Here are my tips for minimizing bad professors:
Use Rate My Professors
It is so important that you use Rate My Professors. Go on the site, check out the teachers. Also be aware of the bad rating conundrum. Those who disliked the class the most are more likely to rate the teacher. If you make a good grade you probably aren’t going to use rate my professors. Since Rate My Professors doesn’t have a “how hard I worked to get my grade meter” take everything with a grain of salt. If you are up for the challenge you can pass the class.
Don’t take a class because your friend is
I made this mistake, I took a class because my friend was going to be in it, she ended up dropping the class for other classes before the semester began, so then I was stuck in this class. Turned out okay in the end though because I made a B, but that was a B I worked hard for. Professors don’t work for everyone, so chose your own professors!
Ask friends for their opinions
If you have a class in a certain major area and you have a friend with that major ask them if they have ever heard of that professor. They may have taken the professor or they may know someone who has. Ask and you will be answered!
There are all kinds of horrible professor stories or “horrible” professor stories. I am going to touch on both of them and what you can do to help yourself:
- You can’t understand the professor. Ask if you can record the professor’s lectures. Try to get as much done as humanly possible in class and go back and re-listen to the lecture later—chances are you’ll pick up something you missed before.
- Your professor is going too fast: Again, record them. With permission record the lectures and listen back later.
- Your professor has a hard time explaining things to you: Check out an on-campus tutoring center. They usually have all sorts of subjects so check it out. Maybe another person can explain it better.
- Your professor “gave you a bad grade”: Your professor didn’t give you a bad grade, you earned it. If it is that important to you go talk to them. Professors love initiative and they love to discuss grades with you outside of class. Go to their office hours and get them to explain the grade to you (in a polite manner!) After all is said and done maybe you can ask them how to improve on future tests or projects. As I have discussed, it is important to fight for your grades if you know that you are right. Professors are human and they do make mistakes.
- Your professor gives out too many assignments: Assignments are for your own benefit. The more assignments you get the better your grade will be because you can mess up a bit more. Get a planner and try to schedule everything out. Talk to your professor about time management tips.
These are some generalizations—although professors can really actually be spiteful toward you.
If you honestly think this is happening stand up for yourself—but always go to the professor first before anything. Say if you got a wrong grade as your final grade and you had been tracking your grades all along—talk to the professor before you leave school! It was more than likely just a calculation error—those happen sometimes! If the professor doesn’t fix your grade or refuses to check then go above them to the department chair.
Don’t skip straight to the department chair for no reason though! Part of life is following the chain of command so that things don’t get crazy and you don’t burn bridges with the people that know your collegiate work the most and can offer a wealth of recommendation letters to grad school or any other place you need recommendation letters for.