Nasty Professors?

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by jefgreen, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. xnfs93hy

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,243
    Likes Received:
    80
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    The question is basically geared towards college juniors/seniors.

    Alright, so, you have been in college at least a year or two. Just like in high school, I'm sure you've had a few nasty professors.

    One thing that literally worries me about college is a professor that just hates me and will fail me. Are all professors like this? How does a professor differ from a high school teacher?
     
  2. Crazyday

    Crazyday Junior in HS
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Professors (and teachers for that matter) can't just fail you on grounds of "hating" you.

    Don't make them hate you in the first place, but they can't just destroy you because they dislike you. Discrimination, unequal opportunity, etc.
     
  3. Bacchus

    Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Messages:
    20,652
    Likes Received:
    1,985
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    If professors hate you they will not fail you. In the words of my wise orgo professor, "If I hated you I wouldn't fail you; why would I want to see you next year? I'd give you the minimum to get out of this class. You'd be happy, but I'd be happier because I won't have to see you."
     
  4. Chemdude

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,648
    Likes Received:
    133
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    English professors can...
     
  5. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
    Physician 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    12,032
    Likes Received:
    60
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Those legendarily awful professors exist, but they're few and far between. They usually get fired in a hurry, too. I'm only aware of two of them at all of UNC, so your chances of running into one are slim, to say the least.
     
  6. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,895
    Likes Received:
    4,111
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
    College classes are much larger than HS classes in most cases. It is highly likely that your freshman seminar profs won't even be able to match your face with your name unless you go out of your way to get to know them. There is just too little time and too many students to have a vendetta against one or two of them. My main goals in life when I was teaching were to get through the grading as quickly as possible, and to discourage students from asking for regrades unless there was an egregious error. I very rarely had to fail a student, and if I did, it was because that person had overtly blown off the class (not turning in HW, skipping class, not studying for exams, etc.) Show up for your classes (or study for them on your own if attendance doesn't count), do your HW on time, come to class prepared for the lesson, ask for help if you need it, and keep your mouth shut while the prof is talking. That will make you a dream student to most profs. :)
     
  7. glowworm

    glowworm inching along
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    I will try not to make my professors hate me, but I have heard of some profs who graded down a paper or two because they didn't like a person's viewpoint on a subject (probably politics or religion). And they probably won't like my viewpoints. Even if you didn't fail, it could mess up your GPA.

    So how careful do you have to be to not make profs mad? Are they really as tolerant as they are supposed to be? From all the stories I have heard, they seem pretty temperamental.
     
  8. katarina90

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I think all my professors so far have been honest, fair, and for the most part, very helpful. I've only had one that I found to be quite rude, but he has a reputation at our school for being very abrasive (he always seemed very annoyed if you asked questions, even after class or at office hrs.)

    Also the advice others have given (don't stick out for something negative, like being consistently disruptive or late to class, always bothering them about your grade, etc.) is very helpful. Most professors will talk about certain behaviors that are "pet peeves" on the first day (such as speaking while they're lecturing, text messaging during class, etc.) which are mostly common sense, but make sure you don't do them.

    For large science classes, those probably won't affect your grade at all. But in smaller humanities classes, I've had teachers that will mark down 'participation points' for things like being late or being caught text messaging.

    But I've never heard of anyone getting a failing grade simply out of the professor disliking them...that would be highly unethical and I honestly don't think professors would feel that strongly about one person enough to want to risk their whole career (reminiscent of movie "Election" lol).
     
  9. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,435
    Likes Received:
    7
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    There are always going to be professors that are more difficult than others (hopefully not to the extent that others have seen).

    The best way around this is to ask around. When you are registering for a class, make sure to get in contact with sophomores/juniors/seniors and ask for their opinion about the professors/classes that you are registered for. In most undergraduate settings, you are allowed to change your classes (assuming space is available in the other class) within the first few days of each semester.

    If one professor is notorious for being a particularly stingy grader, then there's no reason why you shouldn't look into switching into the same class taught by a different professor.
     
  10. DrYoda

    DrYoda Space Cowboy
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    13,817
    Likes Received:
    109
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Profs display the same range of temperments as the general population. Chances are that the vast majority of your professors will fall in the normal range of temperments and also behave in a professional manner.

    It's been my experience that even if they disagree with your opinion, they will make a strong effort to grade in an unbiased maner. I'm sure there's been cases where this sort of thing has happened (what hasn't?), but docking someones grade over a difference of opinion is petty and underneath the vast majority of adults.
     
  11. Chemdude

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,648
    Likes Received:
    133
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    High Schooler/pre-college student, meet your best friend:

    http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/

    Some schools have excellent reviews for each prof(my school has about 30 reviews/prof), others don't.

    It's helpful...
     
  12. PeepshowJohnny

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    7
    Status:
    Medical Student
    The legendary bad professors are few and far between. Most "bad" professors I've had tended to not be great because they didn't like the class they were required to teach.

    For example, one of my intro calculus classes was taught by a VERY senior faculty who was forced to teach undergrad courses because our university was trying to cut down on the number of "basic" classes taught by TAs. So, this guy was just not interested. His "lectures" were him, standing at a chalkboard, back to us, either just doing nonstop problems super fast while explaining little or doing elaborate proofs just to show us he could. However, the class had a really good TA you could go to so it all worked out.

    The only issues I've heard of people having issues with where the intro English classes where you'd get some really weird mismatches. The university always scrambles to find TA's to fill the massive demand for these requrid classes and you get some characters. One only wanted people to write about Native American topics. And you always hear rumours about some crunchy granola hippy who fails the students who don't agree with her political views because they're "a bunch of little fascists, maaan!"

    However, these classes are VERY easy to switch to a different section if you get a bad vibe and there a whole host of other options to fulfill this requirement if you're clever and can take it in a defined topic. I did mine on medical ethics and got a GREAT professor who really did value both sides of the argument.
     
  13. theslave

    Removed

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    I only had one "bad" professor in my college days. I had a couple of professors who appeared to just do the professor thing because they couldn't hack the research thing anymore (I went to a small liberal arts college).

    This bad professor was a divorced lady who had a tough time finding a soul mate because of her looks and physical features (really ugly hair and as flat chested as a lady can get). She would always try to talk about going out to the bars last night and a bunch of other stuff. If you ask me, she was just a lonely person that wanted to be loved. It didn't help that her research expertise was researching sounds made by frogs (good luck getting funding with that interest).

    Besides that, the only other thing I noticed was two professors who had a tough time being able to socialize in a normal way. Everyone else was normal.
     
  14. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,072
    Likes Received:
    49
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I've had my fair share of bad professors ( most from freshman year when I didn't know about websites that rated professors) but mine were bad because of their teaching skills not because they specifically hated students. In science courses your grade is based on your performance in exams and labs. There really isn't much room for subjective grading to give them the opportunity to "fail" you. In non-science classes there is a little more wiggle room but as long as you are not a jerk I don't think a professor would risk their reputation to fail you for no good reason -- so don't give a good reason :laugh:
     
  15. Transcend

    Transcend Hopeful Student
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Pharmacy
    No, not all professors are like that. I haven't encountered any awful ones thankfully, though they do exist. RateMyProfessors.com and PickAProf.com are useful.
     
  16. GZA

    GZA Marcel who?
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Yes, yes! This site could not be espoused enough; even if all the cherubic voices in the firmament were to sing its glory!

    Use it from day one.
     
  17. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
    Physician 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    12,032
    Likes Received:
    60
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Make sure you contribute to it, too. More informed opinions means better information for future students.
     
  18. xnfs93hy

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,243
    Likes Received:
    80
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Been on it already haha.
     
  19. DrReo

    DrReo "Thread Necromancer"
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,117
    Likes Received:
    12
    Status:
    Academic Administration
    It's just like your high school. There are professors who absolutely love teaching. You will enjoy them. There are professors who are there for the money. They do not really care about you. Also, at the larger institutions, you'll have professors who live and breathe research and not dedicate time to research. There is a large variety professors and the websites listed above are an asset.
     
  20. ButImLETired

    ButImLETired Prodigal member
    Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,281
    Likes Received:
    75
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I have had some bad professors, and I did in fact have one who had a personal vendetta against me (a premed one too- how lucky am I?), and who actually told me I'd be getting into med school "over his dead body". I spent half the semester trying to work harder than the rest of my class and jumping through the hoops he only had for me, but when it looked like there was nothing I could do to get a decent grade in his class, I gave up and withdrew. He had sent me some really nasty, inappropriate emails that I forwarded to my dean of students with a note from me being like "I'm not paying your tuition to be treated like this by a member of the faculty". Turns out the guy had a tendency to find one person in each year's class to be his punching bag, and the school was planning on firing him as soon as they got a replacement because of all the complaints he'd gotten. It messed up an entire semester for me (I ONLY studied for that class, basically, and ignored the rest) and my whole premed schedule, but oh well.

    Moral of the story: they exist. They are outstandingly rare, but they exist. Don't let yourself be bullied- drop the class, even if it makes you change your schedule entirely, and take it with another professor. Then report him/her to every dean you can think of (this works best if you're at a relatively small private university, I guess).
     
  21. dahdah

    Removed

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    I contributed a few postings to that website. I really laid the death of hate on one professor, lol. She was god awful and I wanted to make sure other future students knew the truth.
     

Share This Page