Livineasi

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Has anyone else come across teachers that are just plain mean? I'm having trouble understanding why a professor would want to make a student feel totally inept and unable to learn, rather than criticize them in a way that lets them know that with enough hard work they can get better. Why would a professor want to bring a student to tears? And how do you deal with someone like this without either a) allowing yourself to break down or b) being completely hostile and disrespectful?
 
Oct 23, 2009
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I know exactly how you feel. I've dealt with some nasty professors. Personally, I think part of it is just the "culture" of dental school, med school and some residencies. Honestly, I just let it roll right off of my shoulder. I don't take it personally because I'm not really in school to become best friends with the professors. I just stay focused on the fact that I want to become a skilled dentist, so sometimes I have deal with crazy teachers to get to that goal.

On the other hand, if some people aren't put under that pressure and yelled at a little, they may not realize the seriousness of the profession we are in and the fact that certain mistakes can't be taken lightly.
 
Mar 10, 2010
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my endo lab professors are so darn rude. one of them is so mean. i avoid asking her anything, and shes not a great teacher anyway.
there's another GP in my endo lab and she's really sweet. i always approach her for help.

i agree with the post above. some professors only want you to do well. my operative lab prof really means well, she helps me out, criticizes me and also compliments when i do well. she isnt very friendly but i dont care care as long as i learn stuff from her.

p.s- just to make you feel better- my prostho lab profs are the rudest. i absolutely hate one of them. i wonder if she even knows how to smile. once, i excused myself and ran to the washroom to cry :( they are so damn rude. but im tryin not to let them ruin it for me. i hope i can do well and leave this hell hole for good.
 
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Daurang

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Don't take it personally and just try to avoid them. There are always a few ahole that are famous for being on a powertrip because their personal life and professional achievement are nothing noteworthy. I looked at dental school as a jail term...you pay your due for four years and then get out.
 

DrReo

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Take what they say with a grain of salt. Don't take their words personality. I appreciate criticism if I understand and can improve my work. That's why I pay them the big bucks. On the other hand, some go into teach because they absolutely love it, some have retired and enjoy teaching, and well, the others are there because if you can't practice it- teach it. Bite the bullet and you'll be out of that cell shortly (hopefully).
 

bigstix808

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they weren't loved enough by mommy and daddy as a child...or...some people are just d bags - so bend over, take it, and then realize you'll never have to see them again when you graduate :cool:
 
Feb 14, 2010
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Because they are insecure...you'll be a way more awesome dentist.

I know exactly what you mean though...sometimes professors can be really upsetting. You're definitely not alone--i've left my share of labs to go cry a little! Sometimes it helps just to calm down a bit. Also, don't take it personally, some people are just jerks!

Sometimes you need to be a bit more assertive--it may come off as being hostile and rude, but hey if you need the help and advice you might need to be a bit more straight forward. Remember you are paying a lot of money for them to teach you. Remember that the squeaky wheel gets the oil! Good luck!
 

SugarNaCl

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VCU, the professors are awesome for the most part. I only had this problem once, and it has been resolved. The professor who did it is actually one of my favorites now. Here are my thoughts and advice:

1. Everyone has a bad day. It doesn't excuse how they act, but you have to understand that it isn't likely about YOU.

2. Some people just need to vent and it actually can make you a stronger person and dentist bc you learn how to manage this even if it is an overreaction.

3. Be tough. People respond better and respect you more if they can't break you. What I did was heard the professor out, nodding that I understood what they were saying and making eye contact the entire time. Don't look smug, but don't cry or look upset. It IS NOT PERSONAL and if it is, they are NOT WORTH YOUR TIME OR YOUR TEARS. Approach it rationally.

Never try to tell them why you are right and they are wrong. It is futile bc they have the degree that you don't no matter who is actually right. You can state your rationale and tell them that you do understand where they are coming from and thank them for their advice. Apologize for not meeting their standards and let them know that next time, you will try to improve.

No one can be angry with that. Usually tames them down right away. It's simple.
 

Demeter

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There is a saying: " Those who can't do, teach".
Many of the meanest instructors are totally inept at private practice, which is why they end up in academia. Often they have no bedside manners, and patients don't like them. Some are such perfectionists, that they could never survive in a private practice setting.
As a dental student I had a really mean professor in pedo. Years later, I graduated from pedo and moved on to an associate position. It turned out that this same professor had been an associate in the that same office and left. When my boss found out that she had been so tough on the students, he started to laugh. He then said:" She did not know anything about pedo, before she came to work in my office. I had to teach her everything, and she only wanted to do exam, because she did not like operative dentistry"
 

SugarNaCl

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There is a saying: " Those who can't do, teach".
Many of the meanest instructors are totally inept at private practice, which is why they end up in academia. Often they have no bedside manners, and patients don't like them. Some are such perfectionists, that they could never survive in a private practice setting.
As a dental student I had a really mean professor in pedo. Years later, I graduated from pedo and moved on to an associate position. It turned out that this same professor had been an associate in the that same office and left. When my boss found out that she had been so tough on the students, he started to laugh. He then said:" She did not know anything about pedo, before she came to work in my office. I had to teach her everything, and she only wanted to do exam, because she did not like operative dentistry"
And some truly do have a valid point. We can learn from them. Take what you can use and move on. There are often various ways to approach the same problem. Disagreements will happen. Be cordial, be assertive and forget it. Some that can do VERY WELL... TEACH
 

Andre3k

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Lol glad you brought this up its at least two at my school. They have to be the rudest people I have ever met in my life. You just have to deal with them.
 
Mar 22, 2010
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I know exactly how you feel. I cry a lot after clinic. It's really hard not to take things personally, especially since the criticisms are probably warranted but it's the method of delivery that's completely inappropriate. It's really hard to separate sometimes, especially after a long, frustrating appointment where things don't go the way you want them to. It seems like the instructors are only there to tear you apart, and not to be helpful and supportive.

One of the ways I deal with it is to compare stories with my classmates. I'm generally against gossip, but when we discuss the nasty things that profs have said to us, we usually all end up laughing. It almost always makes me feel better. :)

Here's a few of mine:
-"I hope I didn't completely humiliate you in front of the patient, but that was really awful."
...When what was said in front of the patient was "This is terrible. You need to dismiss the patient and sit down in the lab with a textbook."

-"You should feel REALLY bad about what you did there." And when I replied "Okay, I understand," his response was "No, it's NOT okay." And then in a condescending tone, "Are you crying?" (Which I denied, then made a hasty exit!) But just when I managed to pull myself together, he came back and ripped into me again. I decided I was going to finish dental school and pursue another career option. :)

-"There was nothing good about that appointment."

-And after doing something completely new for the first time, in an appointment where the treatment plan had just been determined on the spot by the instructor, leading to a completely frustrating appointment...."I felt that you were really unprepared for this procedure. You were very disorganized."
 

teeth63a

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I'm going to play Dr Phil for a moment. A lot of bullying profs and row instructors are out there because like someone else said before, they suck at their private practice. And of course, for the most part, most instructors are excellent clinicians who want to teach their skills. While I see a lot of sympathy posted here, let me give you some advice.

Whenever a prof puts you down, here's what you do:

1) Call them out on it:

Dr _____ are you having a bad day?
Dr _____ have I done something to upset you?

2) Tell them how it makes you feel:

Because the way you're talking to me isn't helping me.
Because what you just said embarrassed me in front of the patient.

3) Correct the situation:

I know I'm a student, and I'm not going to get a perfect the first few times, but I would appreciate it if you could be a little more constructive.

I realize now that I should have gone about this a different way, and I see that, that's why I'm here to learn, but I would appreciate it if you could be a little more constructive.

If I've done something really out of bounds, I'd appreciate it if you pulled me on the side and told me, because I don't want to lose my patient's trust.

Be humble and respectful. If that doesn't work, step up your game a notch:

Dr _____, it's obviously I'm not going to learn anything from you, so I think I'd better see a different row instructor (and if you pull this card, you have to back it up by seeing someone else).

Dr _____, I feel like I haven't communicated how I felt to you completely, so I think I'll talk to the dean/dean of students/etc (and walk out for dramatic effect).


Parting shots if you want to stick it to them:
1)Seriously Dr _____. Why are you here? Is it to help us or not?!?
2)If you're here to guarantee my failure, I'll tell you right now you're right on track!
3) So what you're trying to say is I should quit right now? Just quit?
4) *quote any humanistic teaching model that the school incorporates*
...ensuing responses may be comical.

Of course, it takes a certain amount of self assurance to pull of steps 1, 2 and 3, and then balls of steel to pull off stepping up your game, and then god-like powers to pull off the parting shots.

Use these at your own risk. Practice them if you have to. Edit/add/create your own phrases. Be confident, and don't break down. Be ready to think on your feet if they come up with a smart response. I went to a school with a stellar humanistic teaching philosophy, and we've only had one problem with one row instructor. Enough of us complained to the higher ups, and her attitude quickly shifted a week later.

Don't cry. Elevate yourself articulately, and by doing so, you'll pull them down and show them how much of an ass they're being. If you run away and sniffle, you'll be victimized your entire dental school career, and possibly by your future employers and partners.

Stand up for yourself. Push back if you have to. Yes you're dental students, but yes, you're human beings too.
 
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Livineasi

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Thanks for all those lovely quotes...but unfortunately, I don't think Dr. Phil -ing the situation will really work in dental school. If I had the professor for just one class those comments would be great. But most professors that teach the labs also end up being in the clinic or in other labs, so even if you beg them to be more constructive and less of an ***hole, they will often only continue to come down harder on you in the next class.

However, there are definitely some situations where a lot of those lines will work - I'm gonna keep a print out with me just in case! ;)
 

Daurang

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Playing Dr. Phil isn't gonna work; it'll just make your life more miserable the next couple years.
 
Mar 10, 2010
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i was making a denture once and showed my work to a doctor. she said it was okay but i need to carve the wax around a bit. next lab i go with my work to another doctor and he said somethingi will never forget :( he said 'this is one of the worst denture i have seen in my life'. he said that in front everyone, even in front of another super rude instructor. next thing i know im running to the washroom to cry my heart out. i might try the dr.phil thing. i have a really rude endo lab prof and im gonna use it on her. im sick of her acting so self-righteous. like she never screwed things up in her life ever. i tend to break down, but i seriously have had enough.
 

panino

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Hmm. I think two things to not do are a) cry and b) stick it up to them. Crying is to admit defeat, and giving them one more thing for them to mark you down on. Sticking it up to them, as right as you may be, may make your life a living hell from now on. Now why do we need to make dental school even worse?

Just remember you are there to learn. So learn whatever you can from that scenerio, be it what to do as the student (how to make that denture or whatever), or what not to do as an instructor (how not to relate to people you are in charge of), and move on.

Oh I know how it feels. I've come home on the verge of tears more times than I care to count. But it's just not worth the tears. Just keep on improving, do the best you can do - that's the best revenge.