How To Deal With A Nasty, Plain Old Mean Professor

If prompted, every college student can look back on their academic years and pinpoint that one person that made their life a living hell for a semester.

You definitely aren’t alone in this situation — and while you might just want to explode in anger — it’s important to keep your cool. Here are some questions to consider:

How Are You Dealing With the Situation?

If you think sending snarky emails to a professor is going to get you somewhere — here’s a newsflash … it won’t. Treat your professor with the respect that you would like to be treated with. If the situation has you really upset, try to avoid passive forms of communication like email because you’ll be more likely to come off in a rude manner than if you actually approach him or her. The best time to approach him or her is to go to the professor’s office hours. Trying to grab them before or after class isn’t going to work — especially if you have a more private issue you’d like to discuss.

What Is He/She Trying to Teach Me?

Are you open to the lessons that your professor is trying to teach you? Are you willing to learn? If you’re too concerned with earning back those five extra points on your essay instead of grasping the bigger picture,  you will be missing out. While all professors are nowhere near perfect, you have to remember that somebody down the line decided that this person would be a good educator and that he/she had something to offer to students. Try to find out what that is. Once you can pinpoint this, you’ll be able to focus on what’s important: learning.

What if the Problem is Out of My Hands?

If the tension between you and this professor cannot be solved between the two of you, it might be time to consult a department chair or an adviser to mediate the situation. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to one of these people, talk to a trusted professor or other professional who can give you appropriate advice on the situation. While your friends might make great people to vent to, they probably don’t have the experience that you need to deal with this situation in a respectful manner.

Ultimately, you need to remember that educators aren’t there to trip you up or make you fail. They are supposed to be there to help you learn so that you can succeed in life and in your future career. Remember this as you proceed forward.

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One thought on “How To Deal With A Nasty, Plain Old Mean Professor

  1. I agree with some of this but unfortunately sometimes you might get a professor that truly doesn’t care. I’m only a Sophomore and can say i’ve had more good professors than bad, but my freshman year I had a writing professor who honestly couldn’t care less.
    She spoke to each and every one of us with snark and malice and each and every class we were spoken to like we were less than and didn’t deserve to be there. She was in no way trying to teach us anything. The entire class evolved around the students critiquing each others papers and the professor on the computer. I worked harder because I wanted to prove her wrong, this didn’t work. No amount of office hours helped me improve in anything she said was wrong and when i ended up in my advisors office crying because i felt so incredibly stuck, all my advisor did was tell me it was ok to cry and she wasn’t sure there was anything she could do.
    I will never respect either of their decisions to one act they way they did and two, feel that its perfectly ok to get away with it. I’m paying for my education and I give every one of my professors respect, how is it not a given that I receive that in return?

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