When registering for classes, the professor is an important detail listed for students. Some would argue this fact, saying that responsibility should lie upon the student for whether or not they pass the class. However, both the student and the professor must be willing to work towards success. A bad professor will cause a lot of frustration as they try to learn the material completely on their own. This means that there is a huge chance that the student won’t learn the material. Ultimately, if they cannot learn, they will not pass the class, which will do some damage. Therefore, when examining the potential professors, stay away from these types.
The School Skimmer
The first day of class is the most important day of the semester because the professor goes over the syllabus. The teacher sets the tone of the entire course, and the worst possible words a professor can utter here are, “Eh, you guys can read that part on your own.” A teacher who has this attitude towards their own syllabus will be like this with the material they teach and blame their students for not doing well.
The Commitment Fearer
A professor who has a schedule and policy set in place and sticks to it is an effective one. A professor who doesn’t is going to lead to a potentially miserable experience. For example, a professor can seem promising in that they come out on day one and say there is no time to waste but then almost immediately waste time by sharing personal stories. Or a professor can tell the students the outline for a paper one week and then completely change the guidelines the next. A professor like this can add a higher burden onto the student.
The Grade Gambler
One of the best things a professor can do for his or her students is offer a way to check up on their grades for dual accountability. However, some teachers might do something strange like just excuse certain students from certain assignments. In this case, some students have more pressure than others. They might just fail simply because the professor didn’t think they spoke enough during class discussions. A teacher who leaves grades up to chance instead of a set system is a risky gamble in which students should not partake.
The Stubborn Troll
In high school, it can be arguable about whose fault it is when almost the entire class fails. In college, however, students are there by choice and want to pass. If an entire class seems to be struggling with the material, then there is a strong chance that it’s the professor. They could be any number of problems, but the teaching sessions are clearly not working. A first test can be rough for some students, but if this is consistent and no matter how hard the students try, then there is a serious problem.
The Unprofessional Professor
It’s a good sign if a professor is there before the class starts, which is great in case a student has questions about the material. However, some professors tend to be very late, wasting class time. Some professors even take it a step further by being unprofessional during class, eating, taking personal phone calls, and so on when they should be teaching their students. Some might find this attitude “relatable” (?) but it can bite them when it comes being unprepared for the test.
The best thing to do is to never even enroll in a bad professor’s class to begin with. There is a website called Rate My Professor that can offer a rating on the possible professors all given by previous students, ranking them on several criteria. However, it would be wise to take these ratings with a grain of salt. A great professor can have poor ratings because the few bad students that fail the course go on the site just to bash the teacher. Likewise, a poor professor can have an extremely positive rating due to their befriending of a few students who would do all they can to protect the professor’s good name. A better option is to talk with someone you personally know who took the class and ask about their professor. If no one you know has taken the course, however, ratemyprofessor.com is as good as any option at that point. Ultimately, though, there is one key thing to remember: a professor can make a class easier or harder, but if is up to the students to work regardless.