How to deal with a difficult Professor – It’s all about ATTITUDE!

 We have all had a Professor that we didn’t like or who seemed to really hate their job. Indeed, it can be frustrating BUT there are a few ways to handle it. Afterall, YOU are paying for your education. The first way of course is to ask for a meeting with your Professor to discuss your concerns. He/She may not be aware of what they are doing. ALSO, there may be something terrible going on in their lives and they are unknowingly projecting it onto you. This isn’t grade school where you can get your parents to fight your fight. You have to take charge of your education. If you find that discussing it with the Professor truly does not accomplish anything, your next option is to go to your Advisor and even the Student Advocate for your school. It is their job to make your experience at the college as successful and positive as possible. They have a direct link to the Campus Director and the Dean. Now let’s say that doesn’t satisfy you. Then you need to take your issue to the Campus Director and maybe even the Dean.

**Online students follow the same actions. Sometimes it is necessary to file an official complaint. Before you take any drastic steps, PLEASE make sure you have all of your information and ducks in a row. Document each situation, how you tried to handle it and so on.

It’s all about attitude, believe me I know. There were times in the last four years that I just about lost my mind. The stress of classes and life were at their peak and instead of handling the issues as the educated adult I was, I had meltdowns and made a fool of myself. You can’t go to the campus and take a temper tantrum and demand this and that, and just being a plain idiot. I know you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, but guess what? You are not the only student at that College/University. There are thousands. Hmmmm, and I thought I was the most important of all 🙂 .

Now back to the issue. You can request another Professor or do what I have done. Just make up your mind that this is YOUR education and you are going to ignore the Professor’s lack of motivation (or what you see as lack of motivation) and learn everything you can from that class. Don’t blame getting a C or D in the class on “I just did not like that Professor, so I didn’t care”, or “That Professor did not know what they were talking about.” You had 12 weeks to change it or accept the class and LEARN from it. Look, you are not going to like every Professor you have during your college journey, but each one has something to teach you. Get past being childish and be the adult you are supposed to be. Study harder, read more, ask other classmates for assistance or get out of that class. YOU HAVE OPTIONS. Make a decision and move on.

Let’s say you get a grade that you definitely can prove you deserve a higher grade, the University has a policy in place that allows you to dispute your grade. Dispute your grade. Follow the guidelines and prove why you feel you deserve an A instead of a B. I have done this too and what granted the grade change. You again must PROVE your reason.

I am very passionate about my education and I take it very seriously. I take my grades seriously and my GPA. We will falter and have meltdowns when we think someone is making it difficult for us to succeed. Unfortunately I have done that and ALWAYS  walk away feeling like a fool. Think about it this way, would you act like a fool at your job and take a temper tantrum and stomp up and down? NOOO  you would not, unless of course you really did not want that job anyway. College is preparing you for another career and another chapter in your life. Take the challenge gracefully. Think about how you would act at the job. Or think about how it looks (I hate that part 😦 ). Think about the word PROFESSIONAL and ADULT (Ok, sometimes I don’t want to either). Be professional in how you handle your feelings about a Professor. They have been where you are and understand, they really do. I learned that from one Professor I really felt was uninterested in teaching the class. It drove me NUTS! I decided to sit down and talk with her and explain my frustrations. I came across a little harsh because I had allowed it to build up way to long. She listened to me without reacting to me and then when I was finished, she looked at me and apologized. She stated she would make an effort to see how she was approaching the class. She also informed me that during the first week of classes she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer! WOW, did I ever feel like crap. The Professor made a profound statement to me however. She stated “I am the Professor and I should be doing my job so that you get all you can out of this class. I promise to give more of myself to my students regardless of what is going on.”

We never know. Professors are human and I have to believe that they all want to teach their field and to expand their knowledge onto people who want it. Granted there are some grumpy old Professors. Who cares, be selfish and allow yourself to be open to the knowledge they have to offer. Let them be grumpy, just as you can be. As long as you are getting what you need. If not, change it.



2 thoughts on “How to deal with a difficult Professor – It’s all about ATTITUDE!

  1. This is great advice. I think it is especially important that college students understand that they MUST advocate for themselves by doing the things you recommend–meet with the professor, meet with an advisor, etc.

    Savvy students choose their classes, and their professors, wisely. You are not going to like every professor’s style or approach, but that doesn’t mean she is a bad professor, she’s just not the right professor for you. Today’s students have so many resources available to them to get additional information about their professors before they sign up for a class–, faculty home pages, other students. If you really want to figure out if someone is the right prof for you, visit her office hours the semester before you sign up for her course. Sit down, have a chat, and ask some questions about the class. I can’t tell you how many office hours I spend doing work alone. Students rarely take advantage of the opportunity to meet with me, and I wish they would.

    Your blog is great. Thank you for sharing your perspective with other students, I think it is so valuable.

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