While good professors and teachers become an inspiration you carry within you throughout your life, toxic professors are just as common. Sadly, they make the academic environment poisonous with their words and actions.

From the sense of entitlement and the feeling that they are above the rules to offensive behavior, there are many ways they wreak havoc on your student life. What makes it particularly challenging to deal with difficult educators is that they can be found in every field and at every level of academia, from adjuncts to full professors. And their words carry a lot of weight.

But there seem to be red flags that instantly scream that you would be better off changing the class rather than staying in. “What are some red flags for teachers that scream ‘drop this class immediately?’” someone asked on Ask Reddit, and people started sharing endless real-life experiences. Below we wrapped up some of the most tell-tale signs.

#1

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately I had a teacher that I loved but everyone hated.

my economics teacher was an absolute madman.

first day of econ-

Madman- " FIRST RULE!.. ANY AND ALL CELLPHONES ARE TO REMAIN OFF!. IF I SEE YOU USING THEM, I WILL THROW THEM OUT THE DOOR!"


**cellphone rings**

*its his*

**madman looks at class.. grabs cellphone and throws it out the door**

Madman- " didn't need to talk to my wife anyway! "

swarmleader , NordWood Themes Report

Sylvia Potts
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Finally, a teacher who doesn't think they're above the rules!

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#2

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately WHEN THEY READ THE POWERPOINTS WORD FOR WORD. I.CAN.DO.THAT.AT.HOME. TEACH PLS.

sjcha , Paul Hudson Report

Tams21
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One of the first rules of making a PowerPoint presentation is to keep the text to a minimum - simple bullet points will do. You then verbally elaborate on those when giving the presentation. When there's lots of text people will concentrate on the text and not on you. It also defeats the purpose of a presentation when the same could be achieved through handouts.

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#3

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately "These books are required for the class. I wasn't able to get the revision into the bookstore in time, so the only place you can get them is from me directly or from my website. I will warn you, if you don't buy the books you won't get the login information to be able to take the final, which is 90% of your grade."

"Oh, and no, I can't accept financial aid for them, but it's only $250 so it's not a big deal."

Never seen an entire class get up 5 minutes in and leave before.

inibrius , Katerina Holmes Report

Chucky Cheezburger
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That sounds so scammy...Students should be able to get their tuition payed back to them for the class...straight out of the profs bank account.

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Bored Panda reached out to marketing expert and book author Alex Wong who is better known as the “Hijack” Copywriter. Wong has been on a mission to help small and corporate businesses “hijack” their client’s minds and help them to grow their businesses and sales.

When asked whether he had a toxic teacher, Wong confirmed that he has had a few bad teachers. “Being so young, I didn’t know how to deal with the situation. One of the teachers I had was for an elective in high school, French. I should have just chosen another course since it wasn't worth the misery,” he recounted. 

Another teacher Wong had was for a required course in college so this option would have ben much more difficult. “For both situations, I didn’t say anything and I just tried my best to improve as a student.”

#4

Pride in the difficulty of their course.

If everyone fails, it's not for an inability to learn, but for an inability to teach.

anon Report

#5

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately No one will get an A in this course because (insert some philosophical highbrow b******t answer)

MuscleFlex_Bear , RODNAE Productions Report

Little Wonder
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"No one will get an A in this course because I am not capable of teaching people that well"

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#6

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Had a drawing professor that put a stack of pre-signed withdrawal forms on his desk. Told us to grab one when we were ready.

flipper_babies , Cytonn Photography Report

Having a bad teacher is very damaging to any young student. Wong argues that having a good or bad teacher can mean the difference between thriving or failing a class. “It also negatively impacts your self-esteem and desire to learn. You start wondering if there is anything wrong with you. After surviving the year with my French teacher, I never studied French again.”

But when it comes to education and academia, Wong thinks the problem is bigger than bad teachers. “I believe the entire system needs to be overhauled and improved. Because in the end, who hires these bad teachers and allows them to continue to teach students every year?”

#7

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Professor claimed she didn’t allow people to step out of class to use the bathroom. “You’re all adults, not children, you can hold it.” Exactly lady. We’re adults, we paid to be here, and adults have to use the bathroom.

Mild__sauce , U.S. Embassy Moldova Report

Wood Carver
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love when adults try to tell other adults they aren't allowed to pee.... I once asked my friend with whom we were driving to pull over as I needed to pee.... he said you can wait till we get home.... then he had to pull over because he was bleeding and dizzy all of a sudden to quote John pinette rip

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#8

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Personal experience, I literally dropped 4 classes my sophomore year ....

Prior to starting the classes the disability department contacted all of my teachers to tell them that I am deaf and that I would need some form of written/typed paper to follow along with lectures.

"Im completely deaf ....."

"sit closer, i cant give you special treatment"

tigersharkdude , Katerina Holmes Report

Laura Ketteridge
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Illegal in many countries. Once notification has been given that a student or employee has a disability or illness that requires accommodations to be made, it is illegal not to provide them.

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#9

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Think that their students should only focus on this particular class for the upcoming semester as if they should spend all their time on it

Ronnylicious , RODNAE Productions Report

Pumpkin Spice
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My chem teacher, on the first day of school, said, "I will not give you homework on Fridays or anything that is due the next day. I'll give you as little homework as possible; you have seven other classes, after all." He's my favorite.

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“The problem is that even if you do speak out, the board or department may not take your concerns seriously and end up doing nothing. Even worse, the teacher often finds out and ends up taking it out on you in the end. I ended up dropping out of a college program because it was so poorly run,” Wong told us.

The marketing expert argues that there has to be some kind of system in place where both teachers and students are supported and can feel comfortable speaking out if any issues arise in the classroom without fear of retaliation.

#10

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately "No laptops, all code will be handwritten."

Yes that really happened.

Willbo , Polina Tankilevitch Report

#11

Over the winter break of my freshman year I was diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease in my knees which meant I had to use crutches for a while (then eventually a wheelchair for a time). I was late to my philosophy 101 class (due to adjusting to my newfound limitations). I apologized for my tardiness and tried to find my seat without making a fuss. As I was making my way across the classroom my philosophy teacher remarked “everyone, let’s just patiently wait for the cripple here to get to his seat.” It’s possible she had believed I was one of several skiing injuries that the student body had incurred over winter break, but either way after that first day I never came back to that class.

vid_icarus Report

KarmaKing42
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Even if it was a skiing accident, that’s unacceptable.

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#12

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Saw a course at my college called "Digital Media and American Culture." Sounds neat, I thought, I'll go to a lecture during the shopping period. The professor is 10 minutes late, an 80-year-old man, who gets up and literally asks a student in the front to tell him how many Facebook friends she has and then "how many REAL friends do you have?!" Was flabbergasted when he asked if anyone in the classroom had read "1984" and most of the class raised their hands. He was 100% convinced that millennials never pick up books anymore.

Yeah, no.

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Marcello
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bad question too, as 1984 is famously the book most people lie about claiming to have read it.

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#13

When I was 18 I took a Beauty Therapy and Science class. One of the units we had was business studies, I had previously sat an A Level in business so I still had notes and books left over.

We didn't have the usual business teacher because she was signed off sick (Cancer I believe) so instead of getting a qualified teacher in, the department bought in a beauty salon manager who was a b***h. Knew nothing about teaching but thought she knew everything about business.

First class we have, she's doing the "Introduce yourself" thing, then she asks "Who in this class is a Leo?" I raise my hand and its only me .... "Oh because in my star signs I ALWAYS clash with Leos. Sorry". Ok so we have a crazy b***h, the class is sat in a stunned silence as I simply say "Ok cool"

The time comes to write the assignment for the class and me being savvy I used my old business class notes and books and hand it in with the biggest smile on my face.

Results day. Everyone passes with high marks all except me. She has me up in front of my head tutor for "Plagerism" and "She's clearly copied and pasted all of this from the internet" my head tutor explained that "Shakenshake has sat a A-level in business so she should know what she's talking about"

My head tutor re-marked my paper and passed it with a high merit. I later told her about what was said, regarding the star signs and how I felt attacked due to some insignificant fact about my birth sign.

Next lesson she announces she's "Leaving due to my teaching methods being questioned and having a complaint" whilst glaring at me, the rest of the class was relieved.

anon Report

- JM1951
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

At least the college had good procedure to correct the mis-grading and the guts to sack the tutor. However, what were they thinking employing her in the first place?

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#14

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately My tenured organic chem professor asked, 'Any questions?' and 50 hands went up. He then said, 'It's a fairly simple concept, so you'll get there. Let's move on.

polarpeace , RODNAE Productions Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Answering questions is part of teaching, ffs. Especially if EVERYONE in the class raises their hands!

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#15

I once had a professor say "you get 2 absences this semester. More than 2 and you fail. It doesn't matter what the excuse is."

Sorry, with older relatives who were sick and dying... and not being a psychic myself to know whether or not I'd get sick or if I'd forget to set an alarm, or any number of unforseable things... that level of rigidity and unwillingness to compromise isn't worth it.

Athrowawayinmay Report

jessica r
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Depends on the kind of class. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the reason for absence, you just have to practice some kind of skill or show during the course that you make progress.

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#16

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately In our first lecture, my professor for Intro to Communications said, 'I don't believe in the artificially inflated grading system we are experiencing, so I grade on a strict bell curve. There are 25 people in this class, so no matter how well everyone does, some of you are getting an F.' You may not care about that inflated grading system, but the job market and grad schools certainly do

MildlyAgitatedBidoof , Wes Hicks Report

Laura Ketteridge
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This shows a basic misunderstanding of statistics and how it should be applied.

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#17

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately 2-hour, in-class, pre-recorded PowerPoint lectures from 2008, 'because it saves time for me, and please don't ask questions until after the end of my PowerPoint'.

This was in 2017.

letsdraw2 , Dom Fou Report

Monday
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's fair to ask people to hold questions until the end...but at least deliver the bloody lecture yourself.

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#18

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Back when I started college, I got straight A+s in a class, but when I went to check on my overall grade, I had a B+, found it odd and went to question my teacher about it, he said that he dropped down my grade because the class was a bit of a pain in the a*s (he didn't use those exact words, but thats what he meant)

Then I questioned him again about my posture, asking if I did anything wrong, or disturbed class or whatever, he promptly said I didn't and that I was a great student, which made me ask again "Why is grade lower then", he told the same excuse from above, then I asked if he was planning on changing my grade at all, since I had only As, and he promply said he wasn't going to change.

Fast forward a few days, I ended up filing a complaint about him and his method of grading students, and the college made him change my grade. After that he approached me and said something like "Hey u/Phorcyss you didn't have to file a complaint about me, I was gonna fix you grade" yada yada.

Phorcyss , fauxels Report

#19

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately I had a professor that in hindsight I really should have dropped. It was a Western Civilization History class, and the first day the entirety of the class he spent talking about how he missed his old job teaching in Europe because "American students are more lazy and incapable of getting as high of grades." Then he showed intro YouTube videos from his personal laptop hooked to a projector and all of the "Recommend" videos all had titles like "grinding with thong", "sexy college babe grinding", etc.


I thought he was just eccentric, but the guy was easily the worst teacher I ever had. He would expect you to totally memorize all the chapter-- he would quiz on material that didn't matter for concepts. (Ie: What was the name of Caesar's second cousin?) When the information would be found in a huge family tree. The only students in the class with A's were women, and he would grade their quizzes differently and be MUCH more lenient. (The students compared quiz results.) Someone in class called him out and he said that he was tired of teaching Americans and doesn't get paid enough. (Literally)

ENGROT , Yan Krukov Report

#20

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Gives a test on the first day that WILL be counted against you. Had one of my mathematics teachers do this.

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Judes
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The idea here is to stop students who don't have sufficient knowledge continuing with the course. If students do badly in this assessment they have plenty of time to withdraw from this course without penalty and find a more suitable course. It's much better than having the first assessment halfway through the course, which basically gives students no chance to withdraw. OK, it's unfair if students aren't aware of an impending assessment, but other than that, I have no problem with this.

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#21

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately When they really put down good students for small mistakes

killthekat , Pixabay Report

RMA
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

‘I know you are capable of much more, so I have much higher expectations of you.’ Guess what? Talented students can be easily demoralised as well.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#22

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately The required textbook is a saran-wrapped package of loose-leaf papers that cost $100, authored by the professor.

kukukele , Tima Miroshnichenko Report

Emily M
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They dont even have the decency to put them in a 3 ring binder for you!

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#23

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately When the first thing they say before reading the 2 page, 1.0 spaced syllabus is; "I've been teaching for x years so I deserve your respect" or something like that. That's basically a 100% accurate indicator that this person *cannot* be wrong and they will talk to you like you're a piece of s**t. They can't *earn* anybody's respect so they have to ransom it.

misterwizzard , Katerina Holmes Report

- JM1951
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

No one deserves respect. It's so easily earned by simply doing a job well.

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#24

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately I took an economics course and bombed the first test. I went to the professor and told her “I really want to do well in your class, what are some suggestions you might have on how I can be successful?”

She looked at the grade on the test and said “you should drop the class and change your major.”


I may be s**t at economics but I can follow instructions.

62frog , Polina Tankilevitch Report

Tams21
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In fairness, I think context is missing here. If the lecturer considered it a relatively easy test to see if students have understood fundamental principles and OP got an incredibly poor result then she may well have had their best interest in mind.

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#25

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately I'll make the class too hard and curve the class average to a C, because C is average.

Stop_Sign , Mikhail Nilov Report

Huddo's sister
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We didn't even have those sort of grades at uni, everything was Fail, Pass, Credit, Distinction, High distinction. The well known phrase is Ps get degrees, because all you have to do to complete your course is get a pass. A pass means you meet the necessary points of the assessment rubric. No shame in getting a pass, but they do want you to aim for more than the bare minimum. Until my most recent job, no one looked at my transcript anyway.

#26

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately "Too many people got A's last semester, so I'm changing my syllabus for you all"

Stop_Sign , Max Fischer Report

Britches are for everyone
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Of course this is an awful thing to say and a terrible orientation, but as a former professor, I can tell you that there is pressure from the top to keep your average class grade down. Administration wants the grade average to be lower so that they can brag about the academic rigor of the school.

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#27

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately "Get out the science textbooks and work on chapter 5, activity 1".

*Proceeds to sit down at their desk to do random s**t on their computer*

anon , fauxels Report

Lene
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Teachers did this in elementary school all the time! Lol. I was ok with it because they usually spent that time grading papers for other classes or something like that. It's not optimal but I'm sure it saved the teachers' sanity and we, the pupils, learned to work on a task without needing to have clear instructions first.

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#28

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately "This class will be using a textbook that I am writing and editing during the semester"

Translation : it's going to be amateur hour. In addition to trying to learn new stuff, you are paying the school for the privilege of proofreading your professor's book.

howtocleanyourpots , Karolina Grabowska Report

Carol Blyth
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I encountered this when completing my Masters - the lecturer had NO experience or knowledge of the subject so the students prepared the lectures for the entire semester. Lecturer insisted on being given a USB containing the lecture material from every lecture. Following year he had a text book comprising - surprise surprise - all of the student lectures. A number of us went to the Dean - partly because he was incompetent and partly for using the notes without our permission or credit to us......it was completely wrong. Refused point blank to attend any class in which he was involved.....

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#29

“You’re All Adults, Not Children, You Can Hold It”: 30 Times People Realized They Needed To Drop A Class Immediately Reviews on RateMyProfessor. There are a few times that the student was just mad that they got a low grade..but more often then not, they are spot on

ExerciseSciencebs , Michael Pollak Report

#30

A prof who is clearly off his meds.

Over the course of my one month in the class, he was constantly rude and unbelievably condescending to literally everyone. Example: We were on a section talking about multiple sclerosis and how its signals misfire from the brain. A student said "my cousin has MS and sais this is how he was told what was happening. Is that correct?". Prof gets red in the face and yells "I DONT CARE ABOUT YOUR COUSIN WITH MS!" and proceeds to rant about how interrupting him with stupid questions is a waste of his time. He never answered the question.

During the second week, less that half the class showed up (or a noticeable chunk). He yelled at us that DID show up about how disrespectful it was, then said we would have to learn this section on our own and that we would be heavily tested on it, then stormed out of class. There was no participation mark in the class.

Also, he stated at the beginning of the semester that more that 50% of students dropped his course. Our grades consisted of a 40% midterm and a 60% final. I took the midterm before dropping the class. It was the hardest test i have ever taken in my life. He expected us to answer questions that we hadnt been taught. When confronted, he said "you should always be applying the course material to future study". Class average on that was 15%. Highest mark was 68%. Next highest was 32%. He doesnt scale.

Want to complain? Talk to the head of the department. SURPRISE! He *is* head of the department. HotD can only be held for 2 year. He managed to hold it for 4 due to a loophole or something (no department head wanted to upset him probably).

Yes, he had been required by the university to take meds to keep his job. I dont think he ever actually took them.

TL;DR: If a prof seems like a looney nut job, they probably are so GTFO of that class. Too much stress for minimal reward.

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Laura Ketteridge
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The Head of Department has as boss too, and complaints can be escalated.

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