How to Deal with a Bad Professor

By Victoria Robertson on January 4, 2018

Over the course of your college career, you’re bound to have professors that you absolutely love and, conversely, professors that you can’t stand. It’s inevitable.

When it comes to good professors, you really won’t experience many problems. But, when it comes to those bad professors, coursework can become much more difficult for you. So how exactly do you deal with bad professors?

Whether you don’t like their teaching style, their personality or their grading methods, you’re bound to encounter a “bad professor” at one point or another. To help you get through these classes unscathed, here are six ways for you to deal with bad professors.

Photo Via: Unsplash

1. Eliminate Distractions

One of the best things you can do for yourself in this situation is to eliminate any and all distractions when you’re in attendance of this professor’s class.

This means, don’t use your phone, block your computer from visiting social media sites etc. and give the class your undivided attention. When you have a bad professor, your undivided attention can help you to better understand, if not the content, then at the very least the context so you can get outside assistance.

2. Get Extra Help

As far as extra assistance goes, visit your professor during office hours for extra help. On occasion, your professor may be of more help to you in a one-on-one environment than they were in a classroom setting.

You can always simply email over questions or stay after class for this as well, but making appointments in a one-on-one setting provides you extra time to get answers to all of your questions and potentially learn information in a new way that’s more helpful to you.

3. Seek Outside Help

If seeking out your professor during office hours isn’t helpful, you may want to consider alternate sources of assistance.

For example, many students opt to hire tutors for specific classes. This can help you to learn the same information in a way that makes sense to you. If you aren’t interested in hiring a tutor, you can always seek out another professor in the same department to see if they can assist you with any content you aren’t understanding.

That being said, sometimes this can be taken negatively as undermining a professor, so I would consider this after you’ve exhausted all other options, as you don’t want to create a negative environment. Of course, if you aren’t learning, you need to do whatever it takes, but again, this should be a last option.

4. Begin Assignments in Advance

Perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do is to get ahead in the readings and write your papers earlier than necessary. This way, you have background knowledge for lectures and can get assistance/ask questions on assignments before it comes time to turn them in.

In this way, you’ll have more time to revise and re-learn information if necessary so it’s less likely that your grades will drop due to your professor’s teaching methods.

5. Dedicate More Time

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that classes with bad professors require much more time and energy on the side of the student. That being said, don’t skimp on this time. The more time you can dedicate to this class, the less likely the bad professor is to affect your grade.

Make sure you are getting ahead in your work, attending all lectures and getting outside help if needed. Basically, do whatever it takes to combat this professor, as the reality is: you’re stuck with them.

6. Voice Your Concerns

Finally, you may want to visit your professor and voice your concerns.

If you’re having problems, let them know and they may be able to assist you once they understand your needs. Of course, not all professors will listen to reason to help you, in which case you can escalate your concerns to department heads etc. if necessary.

While you don’t want to create conflicts, your education is important and one bad professor can leave a mark on your academic record. So voice your concerns in a professional manner and, if not well-received, seek outside assistance and potentially voice your concerns to higher powers in case there is an opportunity to switch classrooms etc.

College professors aren’t all perfect, but there are some that are just extraordinarily bad. When it comes to these professors, simply making it through their course can be a struggle, and can negatively impact your GPA.

Again, it might be due to teaching methods, or personality differences or simply grading techniques, but there are many reasons that a professor may not be a good one in your eyes. And the truth is, any of these reasons can impact you.

So, to help you combat such professors, follow these six tips and you’ll make it through the semester without incident. Good luck!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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