Dealing with the Subpar College Professor: 7 Quick Tips

By on August 26, 2014

You signed up for the wrong class at the wrong time, or maybe you decided to take a risk others were telling you not to take. Either way, you are now stuck in a class with an instructor who insists on reading 50 Shades of Grey during class while their pet monkey teaches you calculus.

Let’s engage in positivity: you will have stories to tell for those awkward ice breakers.

The number one way to avoid this dilemma is to check the professor’s reputation. Talk to students who have already taken the class or take a gander at Rate My Professor online.

Otherwise, here is what you can do:

1. Switch classes before the drop/add period ends.

Obvious. Though, this only works if you catch the red flags soon enough. The add/drop period ends after the first week of classes, so if you miss this deadline, you can ….

2. Sit in on another lecture.

Some classes have more than one section with different lecturers. Ask a professor of a different section if you can sit in on their class, and they will probably oblige. You would then be able to get lecture notes from one class and get the grade from another’s assignments. Make sure you are still meeting all the requirements for the one you are registered with, however.

3. Get some tutoring on the side.

UAB’s Academic Success Center, folks: They offer free tutoring for many subjects. Or, if you have too much money on hand, some deity must be blessing you, so hire a professional. Whatever you decide to do, outside help can be phenomenal.

4. Be independent; learn the material on your own.

I have skipped classes. Now, I do not advocate it, but let’s face it: sometimes, your time is worth more than what the professor invests into their own class. So long as you know what you are doing, go for it.

5. Are they offensive? Bring attention to it.

Do not call them out in class, because, then, you might as well shove your grade into a volcano.

Contact your advisor or the department head. This might work! Or not. It really depends on how the department wants to handle an offensive instructor—and on whether or not you are the only nay-sayer in the class.

6. Drop the class before the withdrawal deadline.

If you just can not stand this person and want a re-do in life, withdraw from the class before the withdrawal deadline. This does leave a “W” on your transcript, even if you decide to retake it, and you do not get a refund. So, beware.

7. Deal with it.

There are times where you did not realize you stepped into a hellhole before it was too late. Many of us can relate, so do not worry. You just might have to pull up your britches and grit your teeth; it is only 14 weeks of hell, right?

Be extra studious with the schoolwork, and be extra diplomatic with the professor. You will pull through and might be able to get “Grade Forgiveness” by retaking the class later.

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About Rhiana Simon

Neuroscience student. Aspiring researcher, writer, and avid insect collector.
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