What To Do If You Get Stuck With A Bad Professor


I’ve been lucky when it comes to my education. I’ve had some wonderful teachers and professors throughout my school career. Moreover, I even have some educators in my family, and I have the utmost respect for the professors and teachers who devote their lives to educating future generations. 

However, that does not mean every professor is cut out for the job. You’re incredibly lucky if you haven’t encountered a few that have been horrendous. For example, a male professor once told me that women are “meant to give birth and die,” and not meant to be equal to men. Let’s just say that was an interesting semester.

Since we are currently living in a pandemic, many schools have switched to online formats, which means you may be interacting with your professor from your own home. Since school life and home life are blurred, it’s even more important to know how to cope with a bad professor. Here are 6 tips to get through the semester. 

1. Remove yourself from the situation. 

If you find yourself in a non-essential class, such as an elective, there is no shame in dropping the class to avoid a nasty professor. If you’re in an essential class but other sections are offered with different instructors, see if you can switch. If possible, take the opportunity to remove yourself from the negative situation. Sometimes you can’t, unfortunately, so keep reading.

2. Remind yourself that one class won’t define your life. 

You won’t like everyone you meet and not everyone will like you — and that’s okay. It’s simply part of life. A professor disliking you does not mean there is something wrong with you, and a bad grade does not mean your life is over. Always remember that you have value. Don’t take a bad professor’s negativity personally, because that one class probably won’t even matter in the long run.

3. Keep your cool. 

No matter what the professor says or does, it’s important to stay calm. You have a right to defend yourself or others if the need presents itself but do so respectfully. Similarly, it’s key to stay calm if you want to actually start a discussion with your professor. Yelling or screaming will likely cause your professor to shut down the conversation. Moreover, it can even lead to disciplinary consequences for you in some circumstances. No matter what, do not become violent unless you have to in self-defense and have no other options. 

4. Find a rant buddy. 

It’s a bad idea to keep your frustrations bottled up inside. Therefore, it may be a good idea to find a trusted confidant to vent your frustrations about your bad professor. Ideally, pick an isolated location so that no one can overhear or tell the professor. Furthermore, do not bash your professor on social media or in writing. Venting to a friend in private is one thing, but publicly defaming someone can cause serious problems for you later on.

5. Put in the effort. 

There are two types of bad professors: The ones who are simply mean, and the ones who don’t believe you are working hard enough. If your professor falls into the latter category and keeps giving you bad grades, show your professor that you are putting in the effort. Don’t skip class, and attend office hours whenever possible. Ask questions to show you are participating and engaged. Always turn in your homework on time, and make it clear you are doing much more than just the bare minimum. 

6. If the situation is severe, it’s okay to speak up. 

If you feel that the professor’s behavior is extremely out of line or if you believe they’ve done something illegal, you should report them to the proper officials at your school. Your school administration should want to help you. Plus, by speaking up you may be protecting other students from that particular professor’s reign of terror. 

Finally, try to remember that the semester won’t last forever. You’ll likely only have to deal with your bad professor for a few months. Then you’ll never have to see them again. Do your best to stay positive and focused, and you will survive the semester.

Featured image via Bad Teacher Movie


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