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5 Telltale Signs You’re Dealing With a Picky Professor

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Telltale Signs You’re Dealing With Picky Professor

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

Whether you’re a freshman or a sophomore, you’ve dealt with a class that seems impossible to pass. Whatever you do, your professor just cannot be satisfied. Moreover, almost no one manages to uphold their impossible standard. You feel nervous even trying to search “who can do my assignment on assignmentmaster”. Then, you know that you’ve got a picky professor to please.

But how do you tell apart a strict teacher from a picky one? And how to spot early that your professor likes to pick on students more than teach them? Luckily, there’s an answer. Here are five telltale signs that you have a case of a picky professor on your hands.

“C Is the Best You Get” Mindset

You’ve probably heard it in the first class of your picky professor. “The best student gets a C from me.” It could be followed by that geniuses get Bs and As are out of the picture altogether. Someone can describe it as a strict teaching approach. But in fact, it’s just pickiness and intimidation. And honestly, a questionable teaching approach altogether.

What kind of teacher prides themselves on students’ failure? The whole point of education is to help people learn more and boost their academic skills. And it’s not gonna help in a class where everybody’s doomed to do no better than average from the very start. Moreover, this is what sets apart a strict professor from a picky one.

With the first option, you still get rewarded if you work hard. Strict professors do not gatekeep good grades. But with a picky one, it feels like you cannot say anything right. Thus, you spend more time puzzling over how to satisfy them to get that excellent grade.

Too Much General Knowledge Questions

Another sign to pay attention to is random general knowledge questions to the audience. Like asking about an old 1930s silent movie that every educated person was supposed to watch. Or making students feel guilty for not reading a certain piece from the classic literature list.

It could sound like this:

  • Really, nobody has seen the 1927 Metropolis here? And some of you major in film studies?
  • Come one, Captain Flint! Haven’t any of you read your Stevenson?
  • Don’t you recognize this quote? None of you?

And with picky professors, it’s not a one-time thing. This kind of informal questioning happens every lecture. And they can push students to feel not smart enough for their class even more when not receiving the answer.

Technically, none of these questions influence your grade. But they rather serve as confirmation for a picky professor that nobody is good enough.

Signs You’re Dealing With Picky Professor

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Playing Favorites

But let’s say somebody knows the answers to all these random questions. There are also going to be one or two students who’re a bit unconventional. And even though they might be just advanced, in a lot of cases, they tend to be snobs that just know facts. They can’t really process the information critically. But they are always on the hunt for being not like everybody else.

Surprisingly, they also might end up as favorites of picky professors. Maybe, they just match each other’s energy. But the most important outcome here is that picky professors tend to play favorites quite often. See, that’s another difference from a strict teacher. Picky ones do not aim to help their students succeed but rather to dominate the audience.

And what’s a better way to do so than singling someone out to put them on a pedestal? Make no mistake, though. The favorite is unlikely to get an A. The picky professor has a reputation to uphold. But they for sure won’t be scrutinized or brushed off when asking a question.

No Clear Instructions

Picky professors are known to be vague. They talk a lot about high standards but never give clear instructions. You’d hear much more about what they don’t want to see in your paper rather than what they do. There are going to be a lot of warnings about not using certain authors or phrasing. But there are no specific guidelines on what they expect from your assignment.

So if your paper instructions look somewhat like this:

  1. Impeccable grammar
  2. No high-school-level arguments will be tolerated
  3. If you have not interested me with your thesis statement, I won’t read it further
  4. Do not hope for revision from me

It’s quite a sign that no additional questions can help here. Some professors are there to challenge themselves, especially the picky ones. So, don’t waste your breath too much. Do your best, and time will be the judge of your talents.

Aura of Arrogance

This one is more on the intuitive side. But it’s true nonetheless. Admit it: you’ve met people who, just right off the bat, give off an arrogant vibe. There’s something about their whole posture and facial expressions that say, “I’m better than you.” Have you noticed the same in your professor’s behavior when a student speaks at the seminar?

Well, that’s the case of a picky professor right there. And no wonder why. The pickiness itself is the by-product of feeling better at the expense of others. Notably, arrogant people live for that. It’s especially true for academicians who have some kind of credibility to flaunt before students’ faces.

The goal here is not to teach. Picky professors like to hide behind being strict and demanding. They can even claim that they push you to overcome your limits. But unlike truly strict teachers, picky ones just want to enjoy themselves. And that’s easy when you’re making fun of a person twice younger than you. Isn’t it?

Wrapping Up

Here you have it. To spot a picky professor at the beginning of the semester, pay attention to these five signs.

They tend to start their course by setting A (and sometimes even B) grades out of limits. Plus, every lecture comes with a question that supposes students feel bad about their intelligence rather than learning. But that’s excluding favorites who picky professors always have. And even they have to deal with unclear instructions for each assignment.

Finally, remember that picky professors give off an arrogant aura from the start. So, trust your instincts.

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