Professors. They’re either good or bad, and I feel like there’s really no in-between. This semester, my first ever, I got blessed ((heavy sarcasm)) with a bad professor. When I say bad, I mean badddd, but not the I-don’t-know-anything-about-this-subject bad. They actually were really intelligent when it came to what they were teaching. However, what made them bad was their attitude. Throughout the semester, time and time again, they were just rude. They didn’t show any care for their students. They constantly made snarky comments and would make all of us feel stupid if we got an answer wrong. On top of that, they were a really hard, unfair grader. If you wrote in pen, it was a zero. If you didn’t use 12 point font, it was a zero. If they couldn’t get our Scantron to fit in the grading machine, it was a zero. If you didn’t put an answer in the exact words they wanted on a quiz or test, it was wrong… seriously, the list could go on. There are so many stories I could tell about this professor and class. I literally started making a list of all of the things they did in class that I thought were inappropriate just in case it ever got too out of hand. So, I feel like I’m a seasoned vet now that I had a whole semester of that, and this is my advice to those who are in the same boat.
Drop. The. Class.
I know this is a bold statement to start off with, but I think it deserves to be first. If you are already having bad feelings about the professor that’s teaching your class within your drop/add period, the best advice I can give is to drop it and find a better professor. I wish I would have done this. It would have saved me my grade and sanity. It’s not worth it to force yourself to see if you can make it through the class to realize part way through that you just can’t do it anymore because, by that point, you’ve already missed the drop/add deadline and can only withdraw.
Talk to Your Advisor
Advisors can’t fix every problem, but if your professor really is an issue, bring it up to your advisor. They might be able to give you some advice or tell you whether or not you can drop or withdraw from the class. For me, dropping or withdrawing from my class wasn’t an option because I needed it for my major. However, just being able to tell someone else of higher authority helped me because at least someone was made aware of the issue.
Report the Professor!
You aren’t without a voice! Most colleges want to know when something like this is going on because they desire for their students to feel welcomed. It’s important that we, as students, are taken care of in a kind way. Think of it like this, students are the customers. For a place to stay in business, there has to be money coming in. If bad professors are causing them to lose customers (money), they want to fix it. I really wanted to complain about my professor, but I just didn’t know if I would really be heard and ultimately see a change. However, when I went to my advisor about the issue, the first thing she said was to report them. She told me that if even on the second day I didn’t feel like I was being treated right to report them, and I think that’s important info to share. She even took the time to give me all of the information needed to get in touch with the head of the department to make sure that it would get fixed.
Take the Surveys
At the end of the semester, most colleges send out surveys for their students to fill out and rate their class experience. If you didn’t feel comfortable reporting your professor, this is the next best option to get your voice heard. When you see these surveys, please take them! While it may just feel like a spam, it isn’t. It’s the school actively trying to make campus life better for their students by actually asking us what it’s really like. There’s no better way to learn what to fix than by hearing it directly from those of us who experience it daily. I was so excited when I saw that my college sends out surveys because I was ready to rate this professor. Honestly, it was therapeutic, lol.
I’m sure there are many more tips on how to handle a bad professor, like talking to them personally. While I never did that because it wasn’t really an option, it might work for you. Depending on what your professor is like, you have to handle the situation in a way that you think is best. Also, if you want to read an article about what kinds of bad professors there are and how to deal with them specifically, HerCampus wrote a really good and relatable one.