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Have you ever had to deal with a bad professor? Do you have one of those professors? You know, the ones that spend the entire class talking about something totally unrelated to the class subject, let the slacker kids in class disrupt class time with stupid (and I do really mean stupid) questions, or does such a crappy job of teaching you what you need to learn that you fail all of their “this-is-freakin’-impossible” tests?

Fortunately, I have been quite lucky. All my professors are really great and easy to learn from, and I have had no trouble with them. But I have had some friends who come to me with their woes of their horrible professors and asking me for advice. And if your bad professor is anything like some of my horrible high school teachers, dealing with them should relatively be the same. Here are some ways to deal with a bad professor:

Suck it up and self teach yourself the material.

This is pretty much what most people tend to do when they end up with a horrible professor. Now, it’s not a bad option if you actually understand what you’re doing and following the book is relatively easy. If you also have been passing all of your teacher’s tests, then I say go for it. Yeah, you may just want to stab a fork in your eye rather than go to that professor’s class every day and hear them lecture, but if it’s an easy class for you to pass, might as well get it over with and recieve the credit. However, if you’re in danger of failing the class and you can’t seem to self teach yourself, then you should…

Drop the class entirely

For those of you who have already started classes, it may be too late to drop without a W on your transcript. And while that will make you reconsider dropping the class think of it like this: Would you rather have colleges see you dropped the class or see that you failed the class? Once you think of it like that, it’s obvious what the better choice is. And don’t worry, dropping a class and getting a W isn’t as bad as you think.  People, just like you, do it, and like I said, it’s better than having an F on your transcript. Always better to be safe than sorry. For those who still have a chance to drop it without an W: if you really can’t stand the professor, drop it and see if you can get the same class with a different teacher. If not, save it till next semester. It’s better than deciding to just stick with a professor you can’t stand, trust me.

Look at your professors before classes start.

For those who started already, it’s kind of too late to do this now, but definitely keep this in mind for next semester. And to those who haven’t started yet: Rate My Professor. You want to know how I ended up with all good professors? This website. Since uses student reviews, you actually get a feel for how you, as a student, might see the professor by reading others’ comments. Most of the reviews tend to be pretty accurate. But do also keep in mind that there may be some students who are biased and may give a really good or really bad review based on how they personally saw the teacher. Try not to weigh your decision of the professor too heavily on those ones. And don’t just read one review if more than one is available. Read as many as you can, so you can get a better idea of how the professor is like and how their class is going to be like. If, by the reviews, you feel you can’t handle the professor or class, you can always drop the class before it starts so you don’t have the consequence of getting a W and you can get refunded. Or if you’re not entirely sure what to think of the teacher by the reviews, it doesn’t hurt to attend the first few days. After you get a look at the teacher yourself, you can still drop without a W as long as you drop before the deadline.

Ask former students.

Like using, you can always ask students who took the class beforehand how they liked the professor and class. This way is always good because you get a firsthand account of how a student felt about the professor and class. And, if they’re your friends, they’re more likely to know your personality and whether you would like the class or not. They also might be more honest with you in sharing the professor’s pros and cons. They’re also great to go to if you ever need advice about the class or professor.

All students get at least one bad professor in their lives, and you either just have to deal with them or just drop the class. Whichever you choose, just make sure it’s not something you’ll regret doing later on.

Photo courtesy of me and the sysop via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Do you have any experiences with horrible professors? Post comments below!