Types of Professors and How to Deal with Them

Got a college professor that you are having a hard time dealing with? Before figuring out how to satisfy a certain professor with your finely crafted homework, you have to know that not every professor is the same. While it is easy to see college as the breeding ground of stress and all professors, in reality there are professors that are not as tense as others. Likewise, there are also professors who are laid back and relaxed. In any case, there is always a specific way to deal with every professor. One of the easiest ways is to categorize professors into certain types. This makes it easier to pinpoint the kind of approach you need to make so that you can deal with them in the best way possible. We compiled a list of the types of professors and how to deal with them to make it easier for you to achieve how to reduce stress in college and get the A that you always wanted.

Types of professors

The “Average Joe” professors

This type of professor is basically the baby bear’s bed in the children’s story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”: not too hard, not too soft, but just right. The workload they usually assign you with is moderate, manageable enough on its own while being reasonably challenging on some regards. They are usually approachable and friendly, so it is not very pressuring to try to talk to them. The downside is that the “Average Joe” professor is not too spectacular, so there may be times when you will find their class boring.

How to deal with them: This type of professor sits right in the middle of the spectrum of the strict professors and chill professors. There is no special treatment here; simply follow their instructions and comply with their requirements. In this regard, it is even better if you know how to decode your syllabus for a higher grade. If you do eventually find their classes boring, try to find consolation in the fact that they are a breather in the midst of your other, less lenient professors. Speaking of less lenient...

The “Aim High” professors

Do you have a college professor that makes you work so hard to barely get at least a D? Chances are, you are under an “aim high” professor. This type of professor really pushes you to the limit, making you fight tooth and nail to get a passing grade. Their standards are very high, and they expect much of you. If, previously, you felt relaxed and pressured, having a professor like this can be jarring. 

How to deal with them: It takes a lot more to satisfy the “aim high” professor. Studying hard and having a mastery over expected academic skills such as how to write a research paper are a must. And okay, not every “aim high” professor is not lenient. There are professors that simply have high standards as a professor but are quite laid back as a person. Learning this distinction is the best way to deal with the “aim high” professor. On the other hand...

The “Terror” professors

They are the least lenient of the bunch. They are the nightmares of college students past, present, and future. “Terror” professors are the least lenient of the bunch. Zealously, they make sure that you are up to their standard—zealously, too, they fail you at every mistake you make. They strike terror not only through strict requirements but also in every regard of academics. Your phone vibrated? Talked to your classmate? Daydreamed for even a second? Expect to get sent out.

How to deal with them: Our use of the word” terror” to describe this type of professor is no understatement. Their standards can be absurdly high, and can take a toll on your mental health. The best way to deal with “terror” professors is to make sure that you are ready in every aspect for their classes. Joining a study group to get prepared is an excellent strategy, as it not only allows you to study better but also grants you some form of emotional and moral support. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum...

The “Chill” professors

Sitting way back on the opposite side from the “terror” professors is the “chill” professors. They are much more lenient than the “aim high” and “terror” professors, and are often very likeable and friendly. It is very easy to get an A in their class. In fact, it is for this reason that “chill” professors are also called “easy A” professors. At the end of the day, you can always feel assured that you will never fail in their classes—for the most part.

How to deal with them: “Chill” professors are very easy to deal with—so easy that the bigger concern is trying to deal with yourself. It is tempting to simply let yourself slip in their classes. But just because they are relaxed does not mean you should be. It still takes some amount of effort to get an A in their class; it just does not take as much effort. In other words, the best way to deal with them is to stay frosty: relaxed but alert. 

If you would like to learn more sayings such as “staying frosty,” you can read our short guide on idioms.

The “Rant and Bant” professors

This is the type of professor that you always think, “chill!” The “rant and bant” professors get their name from their teaching style of choice: ranting and bantering. Most of the time, they teach like a volcano, explosive, erupting, and fuming. Do not be surprised if they seem like they are always angry. There is almost never a time that they are not. It is for this reason that it seems hard to distinguish them from “terror” professors, though they are very much different for the reason down below.

How to deal with them: You should never dare to tick off a “rant and bant” professor, lest they make you the subject of their rant. Aside from that, you simply have to make sure that you listen well to their banter. There is a very high chance that it is insightful and that you can learn a lot from them. Perhaps, also, you can learn why they seem angry in the first place. Knowing how to talk to a teacher and being confident can help you best deal with a “rant and bant” professor. Get to know them more, and perhaps you will discover that they are not really a “terror” professor but a college professor that expresses their passion in the lesson in a unique way.

The “Bore and Snore” professors

… But what happens if such passion is barely there at all? And the way you hold your breath from the teaching is not out of awe but to yawn? We are talking about the “bore and snore” professors, those who are just so boring and seemingly dispassionate about teaching. You will find it difficult to figure out how to stay awake in class if you have this type of professor—in fact, you will find it difficult to take it seriously at all.

How to deal with them: Boring or not, they are still professors, and it is their job to teach you. Yes, against even a “terror” professor, a “bore and snore” college professor can be very unengaging and uninspiring. However, you have to understand why you think they are boring. For instance, their soft, low voice is perhaps because they are old or because that is the strongest their voice can get. Or, maybe, it is the teaching style that they are used to. Either way, remind yourself that they are still teaching something that may be valuable, regardless whether or not it dulls your interest.

The “Legendary” professors

Now, with “legendary” professors, you will never have a dull day. This type of professor warrants their name from their reputation for their incredibly engaging, inspiring, and insightful teaching style, one which many students throughout the generations remember even years after they graduate. Along with their unique teachings are some challengingly high standards and requirements, some of which move you to put your words into reflection by taking your own beliefs and values into question—for the better.

How to deal with them: Just as the “legendary” professor has done a lot to take your breath away with their teachings, so should you do a lot to do the same. Very frequently, they will expect a lot from you, as they deeply believe in your capabilities and skills. While not everyone may not be exactly inclined in a specific field of study, the best approach is to have a genuine interest in their teachings. It is easy with the passion that the “legendary” college professor has in their work; it becomes easier if you put in work from your own part.

Final notes

We hope that the list of the types of professors above will help you manage your college life better. There are, however, some things that you must take note:

  • One professor may fit under more than one type. A “legendary” professor can also be “chill” at the same time, just as an “aim high” professor can simultaneously be “bore and snore.”

  • Do not value a professor’s teachings based on their type. Whether they are “terror” or “bore and snore” should not be the reason for why you will degrade the value of their teachings. Even a “bore and snore” teacher can give you incredible insights.

  • Like every professor no matter what. Becoming friends with your professor is something that must be done for any type of professor, as it will pay off in the long run and make your college life easy. Even a “terror” professor can make a good friend.

Again, this guide is here to help you deal with a type of professor—not to rank each type of professor. All professors deserve some degree of praise for their devotion to teach the college youth. So, when your “terror” professor sends you out for talking too much, take it as a way of saying that they want you to listen in class with passion.

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