Educators are quite often key people in shaping who we are, even more so than we think. Maybe it’s a method of approaching things in life, or a concept that we still apply to the work we do—regardless, it’s quite likely you can fondly remember something about your teachers and professors.

However, not all professors are built from the same stuff, and some are better than others. A Reddit user by the nickname of u/malformed_data has recently shared a story of a rotten egg in his academic journey. But wait, there’s more—besides explaining what happened, there was also some very satisfying malicious compliance involved that didn’t end well for the professor.

More Info: Reddit

Professors come in all shapes and sizes, and, alas, they can sometimes be poor educators

Image credits: Shaylor (not the actual photo)

So, the story goes that Reddit user u/malformed_data, with whom Bored Panda got in touch, had a computer science class with a professor who seemed like he had given up as an educator—maybe showing up for office hours, rarely showing up for labs, and even being absent half of the lecture time.

But that was just part of the problem. The bigger issue here was that he would do this thing where he would fail half the class, regardless of how students performed. And this seemingly happened at random, so students who got similar grades could be on different sides of the passing spectrum.

This Redditor shared a story of how his professor wanted to fail him, but he wasn’t having any of it

Image credits: u/malformed_data

“I’m sure at one point he really enjoyed teaching and was a good teacher, which is probably when he got tenure,” elaborated the Reddit user on whether and why the professor was at the uni for the longest time. “It’s obscenely difficult to fire any professor with tenure. You throw on top of it him being a [person of color] in a heavily majority non-POC campus that has had a rather fraught history of kowtowing to race-hustlers along with so called ‘racist’ incidents blowing up that turned out to be complete nonsense and not bigoted at all, it’s easy to see how he could slip under the radar.”

He continued: “I also think a lot of these terrible college professors get away with what they’re doing through low expectations of their students and the imposing nature of the higher education machine. As a student, you look up at this institution and think ‘How could I stand up to this? What’s the point? They’ll just take his side anyway.’ I was lucky that I was a non-traditional student with a little more life experience so I wasn’t intimidated at all.”

Image credits: u/malformed_data

As it turned out, the Reddit user was one of the unlucky ones to “fail” the class. When he confronted the professor about it, the educator’s response was “[there are] many ways I grade my students and you failed. If you don’t like it, you’re free to appeal the grade but you won’t get it.”

Cue malicious compliance. He went ahead and appealed the grade. Oh, but it didn’t end there. He got everyone in the class who was unsatisfied with their grade to appeal too. And you can imagine how 20+ appeals were ceremoniously brought to the department chair’s office.

What really helped was that the process of appeal also involved other professors, who for the most part weren’t all too happy about Dr. J either.

Image credits: u/malformed_data

“The other professors seemed more exasperated than anything else, although there was a hint of schadenfreude there as well for the world of hurt that was coming down on Dr J. Having to be lumped into the same ilk as Dr J grinded them for a while,” Mal explained the other professors’ as well as students’ reactions. “My fellow students were nervous and scared, as if standing up to Dr J and making a stink would somehow make them go into some kind of karmic debt against the uni and it would catch up with them later. What does that say about our systems of higher education? What kind of leaders are they educating? No leaders I’d want to follow, that’s for sure.”

Image credits: u/malformed_data

Long story short, everyone’s appeal was approved. What is more, Dr. J was also formally warned by the university with some of his courses taken away from him. But how he was able to get away with this for the longest time, let alone with an answer like “[there are] many ways I grade my students and you failed” when there is standardization involved, is beyond surprising. The Reddit user expanded upon this:

“At my college, the syllabus was supposed to be, sort of, the contract between the professor and the students. That was actually the basis of my appeal: we did, MAYBE, 30% of the work that was prescribed on the syllabus. None of the due dates matched up nor did the grading scale. Now, the syllabus wasn’t supposed to be taken at face value as some kind of binding contract, but professors were expected to follow it as close as humanly possible.”

“Dr J threw it out the window the day he walked into class, which was his fatal fault. Had he simply followed the syllabus and not gone completely off the rails, my and my fellow students’ cases would’ve been much more challenging, although I’m still confident the end result would’ve been the same.”

Image credits: u/malformed_data

Needless to say, the post got quite a bit of attention, garnering 24,000 upvotes and engaging people with over 1,100 comments. This was besides the fact that Mal got over 100 Reddit awards for the post.

Many in the comments shared their own bad professor stories. While some sought justice, others were simply lucky, passed the class, and forgot the experience.

Besides gaining 24k upvotes, the post also encouraged a handful of people to share their own stories

So, what are your thoughts on this? How would you have approached this situation? Let us know your devilish schemes in the comment section below!