College is hard enough without the added challenge of an asshole professor.
By Kristina Fernandez, Florida State University
Having a horrible professor is inevitable.
Sometimes, it seems like you can’t win, and the professor will hate you for no reason for the entire semester. If you can’t stand your professor and there’s nothing you can say to change how they feel, try to change the way you think about them. The way you feel about the course, or the professor, may translate to the way you present yourself, or your work, in class. If you hate your professor, your work could be suffering.
Change your mindset, and make yourself believe a new truth; tell yourself that you need to make the best out of this class and get through it. Be positive, and try to find interesting pieces of each class to enjoy. This will translate to how you behave in class, making the teacher notice and hate you less.
Try looking at the class from the teacher’s perspective. Think about how they feel when they discuss a topic each day, stare into a sea of disinterested students and get nothing in return. Sometimes, these classes are taught by professors who are passionate about the subject matter and become frustrated when students are not engaged.
Imagine having the opportunity to share something you love with others and then having them all hate you. Instead, try putting in a little more effort in class, participate more and give more attention to the material. Compassion goes a long way, especially toward professors. They work hard, and you shouldn’t forget that. Perhaps they are acting like the anti-Christ because they’re having personal issues outside of the classroom. It can be difficult, but keep in mind that professors are humans too. You have a life that you want your teacher to respect, so you have to consider their lives as well.
Personal matters can take a toll on a person, which may be the reason your teacher is acting the way they are. If your professor is open enough to share the issues that are impacting their performance, you can speak with them and try to relate, but be honest. Don’t try to spin a sob story about how much more difficult your life is.
Try making your professor your new best friend. If you have any questions, go to them. Work with your teachers, not against them. If you’ve given a teacher a bad impression, prove it wrong. Show them that you are not a slacker, and you truly give a shit about your progress and performance, because you do.
Don’t consider yourself a hot shot. Going head-to-head with the professor will not end well for you. If you are not happy with a grade, ask if they are available to speak with you about it. This does not mean you should fight them. Try to understand why they gave you the grade they did, and see if something can be worked out. You will have your chance to speak your piece as well.
If you dislike your professor and, despite your best efforts, they are trying to fail you, it will be difficult to be nice to them. But, in this case, you are going to have to fake it until you make it. You need to pass the class, so don’t let a miserable person get in your way of moving forward. The last thing you want is to retake the class, so slap on a smile and stay focused.
And while you are faking it, don’t think about it as being fake. You are trying to make the best of a situation, and there is nothing wrong with survival. You are Bear Grylls in this situation, and your teacher is the wilderness. Keep a positive outlook. Do not stress yourself out the entire semester about the professor; take one assignment at a time, and keep moving forward.
At the very least, attempt to make the class enjoyable, even if the enjoyment comes from imagining your teacher being fired out of a cannon (anything helps). If there is a serious problem with your professor’s conduct, though, write down all of their inappropriate actions. You will know when it is time to address their behavior.
Sometimes, action from a higher office is necessary to intervene and correct a situation. If you believe that you are being screwed over by a horrible teacher and being treated unfairly, go to the authority figures above them. This professor is not the highest power, so you can do something about it.
Everyone has a boss to report to, and you shouldn’t suffer because of a terrible person. Focus on yourself, and be the best you can be. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your success. You are there to learn, and the professor is there to teach, so if you have to be the one to keep them in check, do it.
Dealing with people is a part of life. At times, you meet great individuals, and other times, you have to put up with difficult ones. You are never presented with a challenge you can’t handle, and no one is mean-spirited without reason.
Try to relate to your teachers, and if they turn out to be a demon, do everything you can to be the best student you can be. Make the professor look like an even bigger jerk.