You Have a Horrible Professor - Now What?
April 15, 2013
So you got the short end of the stick with professor what's-her-name. You can still stick with the class, right?
The first day of a new class always starts with a mixture of anticipation, nervousness, and excitement. If you take enough classes in college you are sure to run into the dreaded “bad professor” who seems to ruin your hopes of having a great semester.
Every instructor has his or her own style. Sometimes the way a teacher teaches isn’t conducive to you doing well in the course. So what do you do? Drop the class and try to take it again the next semester? Maybe.
There are, however, some things you can do to stick with the class and finish successfully.
Schedule office hours. Every professor has office hours during which a student can schedule an appointment to go over issues they are having in the class. Try writing down a list of questions about your assignments, the class flow etc., and discuss them with your professor during your appointment. During the one-on-one time the professor will likely be able to fully answer your questions without the need to rush on for the sake of the rest of the class.
Create a study group. Often times someone else in the class will understand what you don’t. If you are a part of a study group, you are more likely to be successful in the class. Another student may be able to answer some of the questions you have over the course material, and inversely, you may be able to answer questions for other students. You will understand the material better through teaching one another and asking questions.
Try tutoring. There is tutoring for every subject taught in college. If you simply don’t understand the homework, you can go and see a tutor. Tutors are able to walk you through each step of your assignment, and make sure you understand the material.
There is usually no charge for tutors provided by the college, so you can go as many times as you need to. If you need more help, there are also private tutors who can work with you for a fee throughout the semester.
Look up help online. If you have questions about a certain math formula, or the proper way to cite a research paper, the answers are often available online. The internet provides a wealth of information that will help you to succeed in your course.
Just be sure the sites you visit are reputable. Sometimes it’s good to check more than one site to be sure the information you are given is correct.
Talk to the head of the department. If your professor is particularly bad, you may need to speak with the head of that department. For instance, if you have a math professor who is in some way rude or demeaning, you can send an email or call the head of the math department to express your concerns. You can usually find contact information for the head of the department on the school’s website.
Most professors in college are very passionate about the work they do, and they are very good at teaching. Occasionally, you may come across that one teacher who isn’t really cut out for the job. Rather than dropping the class, which wastes time and money, try some of the tips above to see if you can finish the class on a high note.
What other advice would you add to this list?
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