Sometimes, we get a great professor. They love their subject, they’re intelligent, AND they’re good at teaching. This is a rare combination. Sometimes we aren’t so lucky. We get a horrible professor. When rate my professor fails you, or even worse, only one prof teaches that class you need, you might end up stuck with a horrible professor. It happens to all of us. In my time in college, I’ve dealt with multiple horrible professors, and I want to share with you the types that I have met, and how to deal with them.
The Disorganized One
This horrible professor will drive you crazy. Especially if you are someone that needs deadlines and guidelines. This professor is usually making it up as they go along. This may sound fun, but it is really stressful when you have a 5 page paper due sometime next week and have no idea what you’re supposed to be writing about. These professors never answer your questions (because they don’t know the answers). You will have no idea what your grade is until the semester ends, and you will often be frustrated by the lack of direction. Here’s how to deal:
- Try and find someone who has taken the class before. Look for people in your major, upperclassmen, or community facebook pages for your university. Ask them what the professor was looking for and how the class went for them. It will help you get a grasp on what the professor is expecting.
- When you are working on an essay or project, check in with the professor before you turn it in. Ask them what they think, and if there is anything you can do better. This will help you have a better idea of what they are looking for an get a better grade in the class.
- Go to the professor’s office hours and talk to them one on one. Tell them you are struggling with understanding the class due to the lack of organization. If the professor doesn’t help you, go to the TA. One of them should be able to shed some light on the class.
The One Who Can’t Teach
This professor is likely highly intelligent. Unfortunately, he or she cannot teach to save their life. They might have a doctorate in their field, but that has no influence on the fact that they have never learned to teach. No matter how intelligent a professor is, it can be hard to learn from them if they aren’t teaching you the right way.
- Go to the tutoring center and get help from other students who major in that area. If they can’t help you, try the TA or students you know who are good in that area.
- Read the textbook. Hopefully, even if the professor isn’t able to get information across, the textbook can. Read the assigned pages (don’t just skim) before class. Doing this can help make some sense of whatever it is your professor is trying to teach that day. If you have a bad textbook (this happens), try using your library and the internet to find other resources to help you learn the material!
- Ask questions in class. Asking specific questions will force the professor to address an idea you are confused about. Don’t be afraid, because it’s likely there are others that have that same question!
- Go to the office hours of a different professor who teaches the same course. Email them first and ask if it is okay, and then go in with your questions. They should be able to help you, since they teach all the same material.
The One You Can’t Understand
This professor may or may not be really intelligent and good at their profession, but you seriously cannot understand anything they say. They either have an accent, are really old, or they talk so fast you can’t get down half of what they say. Here’s how to deal:
- Record lectures. Sit towards the front and use a recorder or recording software to record the class in addition to your notes. After class, play the recording back at half speed and add things into your notes – pause and repeat if necessary so you can get all the ideas down.
- Find a friend! This is very important. Start chatting with the people next to you, commiserate about how hard the professor is if need be. Get each other’s numbers and meet up to do homework and study, maybe other students will understand parts that you didn’t and vice versa.
- Once again, look to your resources. Use anything you have – youtube videos, khan academy, textbooks, and other professors. Supplement your class with whatever you need to get that A. Don’t let an accent get in your way. (See what I did there with the rhyming? Sorry – it’s late).
Have you ever had a horrible professor? Have you had any of these? Let me know how you deal or have dealt with them in the past in the comments below. These tips will help you survive next time you come up against a horrible professor like these!