College and University Blog

My Teacher Hates Me: How to Deal with Difficult Professors

Over the years, you’ve probably liked some teachers more than others. Just as all students do not learn in the same way, different instructors prefer different teaching strategies. During college, there’s a good chance you will wind up with at least one difficult professor who seems to make your life a living hell.

“Those Who Can’t Do, Teach”?

It’s often said that teachers go into teaching because they love kids. That may be true in elementary school, but college professors didn’t necessarily want to become instructors. They generally have the highest degrees possible in their fields. They went to school for a long time to get where they are today and some might act a little bit high and mighty as a result. Others would prefer to write or conduct research and resent the fact that they have to teach.

Withdrawing from the class is one potential solution, but it could be just about impossible if you need the course to graduate or it’s too late in the semester to drop the course without affecting your GPA. Before you drive yourself insane, here are some tips to keep in mind if you find yourself stuck with an instructor who seems to have it in for you.

Go to class and stay on top of your assignments.

Show up for class—on time!—and make sure you do all of the required reading and assignments. Make a sincere effort rather than give up all hope.

Speak with the professor.

If your instructor is being unreasonable or giving you a hard time, talk to him. Approach him after class or drop by during office hours. Mention that you feel like you’re being singled out and would like to know why. Bringing it to his attention might be enough to cause his behavior to stop.

Ask for extra help.

If your “problem” with your difficult professor is actually due to the fact that you’re having trouble understanding the material, ask for help. Ask if there is anything you could do that would help you succeed such as additional reading or practice quizzes.

Don’t feel intimidated.

Bullies bully people because they like the feeling of power. Appearing afraid of a rude or verbally aggressive professor can make you an easy target in his or her eyes.

Watch your mouth.

Don’t talk back. Being disrespectful can cause even more problems. If you insult or threaten an instructor, you could wind up getting in trouble.

Keep track of what goes on.

If you’re having problems with a professor, make note of everything that happens. Write down the things that were said and done, as well as the date and time they occurred. If your professor’s actions are illegal or against school policy, file a complaint. If you have problems with the professor that aren’t against the law, be sure to fill out an accurate instructor review once the class is over.

You will have a lot of professors during your college career, and you won’t like or get along with all of them. Even though the situation might seem unbearable at the time, remind yourself that classes don’t last forever.

Learn More:

Professor Evaluations: Are You a Satisfied Customer?

Hot for Teacher: Students Rate Professors on Their Looks

We’re on Twitter, are You? Follow us @StateU!


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.