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Not-so-sunny Instructors

Maria Tobias on Wednesday, 07 October 2009. Posted in Advising & Support

It happens to everyone. You get that one teacher who just frustrates you as soon as you step into their class. They may talk nonstop for hours on end – never making a point, refuse to answer questions, criticize all of your work, or just gives off a bad vibe. This will probably happen at least once in your college career, so when it does happen, what do you do?

I recently faced this problem in a lab. I had an instructor who made me feel so uncomfortable; it made a difficult lab even more stressful. Luckily, I was able to switch to a different lab section with an instructor who is more helpful and it’s been a great solution. Here are some more tips if you are stuck with that not-so-sunny instructor.

1.      Talk to the instructor. Let them know what’s going on and that you feel like your learning is being inhibited by the situation. You are paying them for your education. Don’t let them take that from you.

2.      If you don’t feel that the instructor is taking you seriously, talk to their supervisor. You can explain why are frustrated and see if they have any suggestions that might solve the problem.

3.      Try to find a different professor for the class. If you really feel like you can’t learn with your current instructor, look around and see if there is someone you might like more. Ask other students for their opinion. There is a website called which you can check out to see how other students rated various professors. Yes, you have to be careful about these kinds of websites since people may just complain for no reason; however, do consider that these people are making an effort to post a complaint.

4.      Talk to an academic advisor for help. Everyone is assigned one when they come to RIT so meet with yours as soon as you can. Your academic advisor can help you with finding different class options, rearranging your schedule or even giving you tips on dealing with a frustrating professor.

5.      Talk to Ombuds office . They help mediate issues between students and faculty members if you are uncomfortable with talking to them by yourself. The Ombuds office also provides resources if you need help changing to a different professor’s section for a class. You can click on "Ombuds office" to be taken to their website.

The most important thing to note is you have to take action. If you are really feeling hampered by a professor, then you must take responsibility to fix the issue. After all, you are paying for your education; try to get the most out of it!