I hadn’t expected to start hearing horror stories about the teaching staff at my college during my first semester, but it sure didn’t take long for those tales to start coming out of the woodworks.
One particular classmate of mine recounted in great detail about her self-absorbed dimwit of a math professor. According to her, that particular teacher would spend all of fifteen minutes doing what she was hired for (teaching math) and use the remaining hour of class time to gab away about her personal life.
My classmate said that she felt she would have had better luck staying home and learning the material on her own, since it goes without saying that having an instructor rattle off a list of unimportant details about themselves doesn’t help anyone learn math.
Now, you might be thinking that this problem has a simple fix: talk to the professor’s superiors, politely inform them that she’s a Grade A idiot. Done. Situation resolved. No big deal.
Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t work so smoothly.
Sure, going to the higher-ups and ratting that professor out sounds like a great solution in theory, but I regret to report that doing so didn’t produce any worthwhile results. From what I heard, one student did get tired enough to have a conversation with the head of the math department about this useless excuse for an instructor, which lead Professor Blabbermouth to become highly offended. The professor then proceeded to spend the next class period giving said student the evil eye for calling her out on her bullshit, because God forbid that one of her pupils should actually expect her to teach, right?
However, despite my classmate’s negative experience with her troll of a math teacher, I’m happy to say that I was able to avoid having to put up with such nonsense, and all due to a little patience and research. Each semester, I go through the ritual of handpicking all of my instructors with Rate My Professors.
Rate My Professors is a website designed to help college students pick the most helpful instructors in their particular college or university. To use the site, one only has to type in the name of their school in the Rate My Professors search bar, and they will happen upon a list of every professor currently employed there. All instructors are rated on a scale from 1 to 5.
A 5 represents a teacher of the best caliber, and a 1 gives you a fair warning that taking a certain professor’s class might be where your GPA goes to die. All ratings of the professors are done by students. This way, you know the site isn’t run by college staff trying to make shitty instructors look good.
I might sound like I’m giving a sales pitch, but in all honestly, I just want to testify to how useful the service is. To give an example of how much of a difference it can make in a person’s college career, I’d like to compare the quality of my math class experience to that of Professor Blabbermouth’s student.
My math professor was a godsend, a man who bent over backwards to help his students learn. He offered extra credit on every test, gave the most helpful reviews for exams, and continually encouraged everyone to see him during office hours if they needed tutoring. Not only would he answer any and all questions with patience and an overall lack of condescension, but he would even find it in himself to get worried if no one was asking questions, wanting to make sure we all understood as much as possible.
For a person like me who has been struggling with math since I was introduced to it, taking this professor’s class actually helped me understand the material rather than look at it as a necessary evil. I have never, ever gotten an A in a math class, but this professor’s help made it possible at last. (In case you’re wondering, he currently has a 4.8 rating on Rate My Professors. Top notch guy.)
Now, though Rate My Professors is a wonderful tool, do be sure to take some of the commentary with a grain of salt. The website does contain its fair share of useless information, such as a Hotness rating (because looking at your professor’s ass is way more important than working toward your degree, right?) and posts from butthurt students who clearly don’t understand how college works (one was rather upset to find out that not doing well on the final could actually give you a bad grade overall. Surprise! Welcome to college, fella!).
While some students may not have much to offer in the insight department, others will be perfectly honest about important details that can be crucial to surviving a college class: Is the professor a fair grader? Do they give extra credit? Do they speak in an indecipherable foreign accent? Do their lectures make enough sense to help their students learn?
All of these are highly important factors to consider when choosing a professor. Let’s face it: No matter how much education a professor may have, there are still an abundance of them out there who have no idea how to do their job. If their lectures suck, they can’t be bothered to answer questions, or they just have a negative attitude toward their students in general, then they have no business teaching and are just wasting valuable time and eating away at your tuition money.
Choosing the right instructor can make the difference between being stuck with a Professor Umbridge-like dictator for an entire semester or (for those of us old enough to remember The Magic School Bus) having a pleasant experience with a lovely Mrs. Frizzle-type.
The last thing any college student needs is another condescending instructor who thinks they can look down on you simply because they have a PhD and you don’t. So, the next time you want to avoid taking a class taught by the spawn of the Devil, give Rate My Professors a try.