(Closed) how to approach difficult professor?

posted 6 years ago in College
Post # 3
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Approach him again, respectfully, just as you mentioned. Any reasonable educator should listen and adjust immediately, especially if given reasonable suggestions for HOW to change. If that doesn’t work within about a week and a half (depending on how often class meets), he and perhaps some classmates should approach the college department and ask for advice. Someone out there cares; it’s just a matter of finding the right person!

Post # 4
4478 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@hisprettygirl:  +1

It’s worth trying one more time.  If that doesn’t help, he and other students should go to the head of the department.

Post # 6
658 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Just explain to him that he is unclear of what and how things will be done. I have done it before. Instead of telling the professor they didn’t explain things clearly enough, just blame it on your self. I know that sounds silly, but it has always worked, even with the most unapproachable professors. Just tell him or her  that you didn’t understand things and you want to make sure that you are clear and prepared so that you can get the most out of their class. Its almost like you are talking them up and that may help your case. Gosh, I can’t stand professors like that. Good luck!


Post # 7
5405 posts
Bee Keeper

I don’t want to be negative, but I would guess that’s just how this guy is. Maybe things will improve with the semester. And also, anatomy is one of the classes where, while there are concepts to be taught, it is a lot of memorization. Does he have a TA or lab instructor? Sometimes those people are eons more helpful than your professor in science classes. Your Fiance should try and talk to him again (good advice above, blame yourself and praise them) but this guy may just not be a good educator/communicator. But, I would say luckily, this is one class where he will have to put in his own time anyway. 

Post # 8
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Your Fiance could try sending a very polite email with specific questions – this is more difficult to avoid because there is written proof it has been sent.  If the prof ignores it just forward it back to him and ask for a response again, if that doesn’t work forward the correspondence to someone in charge of the department stating students have approached him in both class and email.  

Honestly, most professors are so busy and teach such a large number of students in classes like this that they will expect students to figure it out on their own.  And if Fiance is going into med school there is a lot of self teaching and individual effort required – its going to be a challenging process so just encourage him not to get frustrated with the system, he’ll have to make it work for himself.

Post # 9
503 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

i would ask for help respectfully but through the course we bulletin board or e-mail, so that way there is documentation in case the prof doesent do anything and it can be forwarded to the department head etc. because a prof can’t just walk away and leave students who are paying an arm and a leg for the course in jeopardy

Post # 10
6598 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Ok I will tackle this from the other perspective, because I am an anatomy professor Embarassed


You mentioned your Fiance has dropped this course before because it does not suit his style of learning. I totally get that, but do you think that this professor just teaches in a way that isn’t suited to your FI?

Anatomy is a tricky subject because there is soooo much memorization and there is an abundance of information. However, if he is a science student he should have a physiology background and this should help with his “understanding” because the form is designed in a way for the structures function. If he looks at each structure this way he will be understanding as opposed to memorizing!

Learning of anatomy, does not occur in the classroom. It occurs during independent self-study. However, I do give lectures to provide the foundation to my students – so I do understand the need for it! What are his labs like? Is it a dissection cadaver lab? Is it with prosections of cadavers (already dissected)? or is it with plastic models?

Does the professor expect the majority of the study to be self-directed?

To answer your question he can talk to the prof again but he doesn’t sound like he cares, which happens quite a lot in academia. I think your best bet is for your Fiance to figure out how he can be successful the way the course is currently set up. If he doesn’t succeed and get an understanding of anatomy right now he will struggle through medical school as well.

If you want to PM me with more questions or even if your Fiance would like to chat with me via email to get some study tips I would be more than happy to help!

Post # 11
2961 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Most anatomy labs I have been in use charts and models for the students to learn the various parts of the body and the lab instructor is merely there to help with questions that arise. Anatomy IS mostly memorization and no instructor can do that for a student. Different instructors have different teaching styles and more than likely, the sub normally does not teach anatomy. Fiance needs to simply use every resource he can (lab book, videos, and study groups) to learn. An instructor can not MAKE students learn but merely guide the way. It’s not HS and students must learn how to study — no more spoon feeding.

Post # 13
1042 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Every school is so different, so my advice may be unsuited to your FI’s situation. In my school A&P was one of the classes used to weed out people for other programs, and as such was insanely difficult. Tests were not on what was studied, lecture was on completely unrelated topics, no one could figure out the models in the lab.

I quickly learned that going to the professor or a higher up was not going to help, the entire purpose of the course was to just be ridiculous, average test grades were in the 30’s. The class wasn’t meant to teach us, we were supposed to do that on our own. The purpose was the see who could make it through it, and who would make it through in the top spots.

Is your Fiance getting a similar feel from this class? If so, I would just recommend that he keep wading through it. It could be one of those situations where they just want you to drop it. I never got higher than a 60 on the tests, but I ended up with an A in the class. It could be a very similar situation in your FI’s class.

Good luck to him, I totally feel his pain.

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