What Makes A Bad Professor
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What Makes A Bad Professor

Some of those "little" things professors do that ruin a class.

What Makes A Bad Professor

We've all had our fair share of bad teachers. Sometimes they're super boring and monotone, or maybe they just really don't seem to like you and are always marking you down for silly little errors. These people aren't really bad teachers, they're just not necessarily good ones either. Yet, everyone once in a while, you get a professor who is especially awful. These teachers are a rare breed, but when you get stuck with one, it can ruin the entire experience of a class that could have been super awesome. Especially in college, when we're pay a lot of money for every individual class that we take, it sucks to sign up for a course just to have a crappy professor. These are some of the things that push a teacher over the line from being "bad" to being "terrible".

1. They seem to "have it out" for you.

Now, we're all human beings, and sometimes we make mistakes. But sometimes we walk into class on the first day and the professor just decides that they don't like your face and they're going to spend the semester making your life miserable. Usually, these professors are being totally irrational in their behavior towards you. It can mean that while your peer gets marked down half a point for missing a comma, you get marked down two points. And that's just not fair. (Tip: This is also illegal and if a professor is this blatant in their distaste for you, follow your university's discrimination policy to take action.)

2. They LOVE to talk, and not about the course material.

Admittedly, sometimes we all get off on a tangent while having a conversation and we completely miss the point of what we meant to say. But when you sign up for a class, you expect the professor to actually talk about that subject. If I'm in a history class, I want to learn about history (well, maybe I don't want to, but I should). So when a professor starts telling a personal story that has nothing to do with the class, it can be really frustrating. Sometimes, if they're story takes 30 seconds, this isn't a big deal, however, when professors take up valuable class time and spend ten minutes talking about themselves or another unrelated subject, it goes from "annoying" to "poor teaching". (Tip: Talk to the professor about it after class, or go straight to the department head and report the problem if it keeps happening.)

3. They don't answer your questions.

This is one of the worst things a professor can do. Be it during class time or during office hours, professors are there to teach us a subject, not judge or disrespect us. This can happen in a number of ways. Sometimes, professors start to answer your question but they end up just going off on a tangent, forgetting what the question actually was, and then never really answering it. This is annoying, but try rephrasing the question and hopefully you'll have better luck next time. What's worse is when the professor judges you just for asking a question. I once had an art professor who, when asked to show the class some painting techniques, condescendingly replied "Why would I do that?". Um, I don't know, maybe because it's a painting class and you're the teacher. That's just rude and disrespectful, and honestly it kind of defeated the purpose of taking the class in the first place. (Tip: Keep trying. Sometimes you simply need to rephrase the question. Sometimes, you really have to convince the professor to teach you. But when you're paying money for a course, don't let them get away with it.)

4. They have an "attitude".

This goes along with the previous item. While professors are humans just like they rest of us, they're also professionals, and they should act as such. Sass and sarcasm are fine, but in any professional setting they should be used carefully and sparingly. A truly bad professor won't recognize the line between a "joke" and flat being rude or obnoxious. Even worse is when they don't care. (Tip: If you feel comfortable enough, talk to the teacher outside of class, and mention specific comments that made you feel uncomfortable or disrespected. Otherwise, go straight to the department head. Either way, have specific examples of what they teacher said that shouldn't be allowed.)

5. They don't know the material.

There are teachers who are bad because they don't know how to teach - either they don't know how to simplify the material for the students or they aren't able to handle a classroom setting. And then there are the teachers who simply don't know what they are teaching. Maybe the professor got handed the class at the last minute or they used to teach at a different school and now the curriculum isn't what they're used to. Regardless, when the professor is learning the information themselves right before class starts (or worse, waiting until class starts to look at it) it makes it that much harder to learn the information. (Tip: If you're having trouble understanding the material because your professor doesn't understand it either, do some research outside of class and teach yourself).

6. They have unrealistic expectations of the students.

Ever have a professor that gives hour upon hour of homework? These professors seem to forget that we are taking multiple courses and aren't free every hour of the week that we aren't in their class. Most colleges count four - six courses a semester as full-time, and when you're in class upwards of 12 hours a week, 6 hours of homework per class can be super overwhelming. Of course, learning time management skills and how to handle the stress is something every college student goes through. But there's only so many hours in a day. Storytime: I did a summer study abroad program in which I and 9 other students took two courses meeting every other day. During the first week, one of my peers still hadn't gotten one of her art materials (a very minor material, too). The professor told her that if she didn't have it by next class he would fail her. He seemed to forget that we had classes on the days we didn't see him, and the art store's hours didn't match our schedule very well. When we mentioned this to him, he said "I have a lot to get done too, I have to go grocery shopping and do my laundry..." as if we didn't also have to eat, wear clothes, and attend a class outside of his. (Tip: Stay calm, and when you're feeling overwhelmed, confront your teacher and explain the situation. If they're still not helpful and continue to be unrealistic, talk to your advisor.)

7. They don't make themselves available outside of the lecture.

A lot of professors around the country are adjunct professors. This means they aren't school faculty, and usually they're working in their field and/or teaching classes at other universities. It also means they only get paid for the time they're in class teaching. Often, these professors only come onto campus when they have to be there, and since they're required to have office hours, make them one hour once a week the same day of the class they teach. This is understandable, but what if you're in class during their office hours and you have a really pressing question about last weeks reading? You could try email, but this isn't always the most reliable form of communication. A good professor will find a way to make themselves available when their students are struggling. A bad professor will tell you to "deal with it" and ask the TA for help. (Tip: The teachers assistant might actually be able to help. Make sure your professor knows you're frustrated. And then try forming a study group with other kids in the class. Chances are you're not the only one struggling, and maybe together you can finally understand the homework.)

8. They give you "busy work".

In high school, busy work was pretty typical. We all know what this is: those boring worksheets that basically just repeat information you've already learned 12 times. These always felt like a waste of time - probably because they were. But now that we're in college, this is even more of a waste, and about ten times more frustrating. Of course, lectures can be boring, but at least you usually learn during them. Busy work is really just there for when the professor ran out to time to plan a real lesson, and you may as well have just stayed in bed that day. (Tip: Do the reading and homework assignments that make up most of your grade. You can talk to the department head if you feel it's a real problem, and maybe don't sign up for a class with that professor in the future.)

10. They don't respect your school.

When a teacher disses your school, this is just plain unprofessional. Maybe you're taking Gen-Ed courses at another university or you're transferring credits for a study abroad program. Whatever the reason, professors should never talk poorly about any other school, especially not one that you attend, and especially not in front of students. (Tip: Whether they roll their eyes when you say you attend another school, or call your school a "piss-poor institution" [yes, a professor said that to my face], you should go directly to their superiors and report the comment. Incidents like these are entirely unacceptable.)

11. They turn a fun subject into a miserable course.

Whether your professor does one of these things or all of them, it's really a bummer when a crappy professor makes a course that's exciting on paper dreary in real life. Maybe your professor didn't do any of these things and they still managed to turn something as exciting as free pizza into your biggest nightmare. Whatever it was, don't sweat it. Time goes on, the semester will end, and soon enough your terror of a professor will become a funny limerick that you can't tell enough. And if that doesn't get you through it, making fun of them on snapchat might help you feel better.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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