What to do if you have a bad teacher

You can choose your school and you can choose your classes. Sadly though, when it comes to teachers to have to just take what you are given. Of course there are many gifted educators out there whose goal in life is to help people learn and love their profession. Unfortunately, there are also some who are not so talented and don’t put their students’ needs first. Hopefully, your degree experience will be filled with the former kind of teacher but there is a chance you’ll end up with the latter at least once.

It should be easy to spot the signs of a less-than-stellar instructor fairly early on in the course. Does she explain the course thoroughly and what you need to do to succeed? Did she introduce herself and appear personable or is she cold and standoffish? By summing up the kind of teacher you have right away you can better navigate the rest of the semester and get the most out of your class.

If it turns out that you have, in fact, run into some bad luck in your teacher assignment, don’t despair. You can still succeed with a little self-direction and peer support. You may have to proactively ask the teacher for information on the course and assignments so don’t be afraid to speak up. Oftentimes, teachers can learn from their students so if the class is requesting more instruction or clarity, she may know for the next class what her students need. When the instruction is lacking, lean on your classmates to help you understand the material.

In some circumstances, the poor professor may simply be intolerable and a complete obstacle to learning. If this is the case for you, be sure to speak to the school administration or dean and make a formal complaint. Don’t be intimidated by the teacher and remember that you are spending hard-earned money to take the class so you deserve a good instructor. Remember that you’re not only doing yourself a favor but future students as well!

Now for the silver lining: a bad teacher can be an excellent lesson in life. Without having an apt instructor to guide you through the learning process, you will discover more about how you learn and what your own educational needs are. In many cases this can be a great way to develop independence and test your own post-secondary motivation. Remember that you are in charge of your learning experience. There are many things that you can’t control but you can always control your response to them.

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