Surviving an Impossible Professor

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In college, you’re bound to meet that one professor who seems to speak a different language than the rest of the world. They may mutter really fast under his/her breath, talk so soft you can just faintly hear them, or are so scatter brained that only a bouncy ball could keep up with their lectures. Most of the time, these types of professors are incredibly intelligent, just a bit harder to follow in class.

If you’ve ever had a teacher who was almost impossible to follow smoothly, you know exactly what I’m talking about. One of my digital marketing teachers was next to impossible to get help from. He was strict to a ‘T’; every margin had to be just right, the font spacing had to be exactly as per standards, and you couldn’t have a hue off by a grain of salt. When revisions would come around, you’d see that you needed to revise, but had no idea exactly what was wrong with your first take. Upon asking the professor, you would receive a riddle (you know, like the ones Gollum was so fond of in Lord of The Rings). Not only was it frustrating that you had to completely re-design your layout or project, but you had a short amount of time to do it, and no idea what the riddle about “trees” and “wise men” meant. Why couldn’t he just say, you goofed up on the proportions, revise and come again? Sheesh!

Needless to say, I didn’t do so well in the class. Not because I didn’t understand the core principles, but because when I made a small error here and a small error there, they added up quickly. Being able to openly talk to your professor and communicate about where you went wrong and how to fix it is key. But, sometimes talking it out with your teacher just won’t cut it. What are you supposed to do?

1) Find a Friend- Even if it’s an online class (mine was), make sure you make a friend either through the conferences or through e-mail. Try to find someone who lives fairly close to you or is on campus to meet up for coffee and go over the coursework. You will be so much better off if you have a friend to help explain things to you. It could be something so silly as resizing your font or double spacing, but you’d never know unless you ask. Your friend will be your saving grace in this case, as they’ll serve as your mini-tutor. Of course, still ask your professor for help but if you’re not getting anywhere, it’s time to bring in the reinforcements. Cue class friend “A”.

2) Do ALL of the Assignments- OK, you totally got me. I DID fall behind on my work because I was too focused trying to perfect the first red marks that I got wrong that I quickly fell behind. The key here is to really do all of the work given by your professor. Even if it’s a lot of busy work, and a lot of little things that are super tedious to do, do them. They really will help you grasp the concepts of the class and may clear up some confusion. Most of the time, these mini activities directly correlate with the assignments that you’ll be doing for the ‘big grade’ so make sure you pay attention and get any help you need while you go over each section. If you notice a weak spot, call up that friend or sit through your teacher’s riddles until you have some clarity. If not, you may get hung up on one small concept and sacrifice your overall grade.

3) Write an Email- Even if you’re failing the class but trying your hardest, send your professor an e-mail or pull them aside after class. Let them know that you know you haven’t been doing so well, but you’re really trying the best that you can do. If you’ve been doing all of the assignments (on time) and putting forth your best effort, your teacher will see that you’ve really been honestly trying, and may help you out. Even if they talk to you in riddles the whole time, they’ll grasp the point that you’ve been doing all your work, trying really hard and took the initiative to come to them and tell them you’re struggling. They may be able to recommend a study group or extra presentation that could help you out. Or, they may set aside some time for you to come in and work with them one-on-one. Let them know that you DO care, and that you’re really just having a hard time. It’s better that they see you’re making the effort to try instead of just blowing through the class.

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OCM Staff
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