People Are Sharing Instant Red Flags For Professors That Scream "Drop This Class Immediately," And It's So Accurate That I'm Having Flashbacks

·14 min read

We're quickly approaching back-to-school season — and if you've ever taken any sort of class, you know that the person teaching it can really make or break the whole course. This is especially true in college, where multiple professors teach the same class and potentially hold your future in their hands.

Viacom Media Networks

You know the whole, "If I had taken it with that professor, I'd have gotten a better grade" thing.

So, when u/MildlyAgitatedBidoof asked, "What are some red flags for teachers that scream 'drop this class immediately'?" many people came forward to share their experiences with bad professors as a warning to anyone currently selecting classes (and validation for those of us who've already been through it). Check out what they said:

1."I had a teacher that I loved, but everyone hated: my economics teacher. He was an absolute madman. On the first day of econ, he shouted, 'First rule! Any and all cellphones are to remain off! If I see you using them, I will throw them out the door!' Then, a cellphone rang. It was his. He looked at the class, grabbed his cellphone, and threw it out the door, saying, 'I didn't need to talk to my wife anyway!'"

empty lecture hall
Photoalto / Getty Images/PhotoAlto

2."No one will get an A in this course because [insert some philosophical highbrow BS answer]."


3."One professor claimed that she didn't allow people to step out of class to use the bathroom. 'You're all adults, not children, you can hold it,' she said. Exactly, lady. We're adults, we paid to be here, and adults have to use the bathroom."


4."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.

empty lecture hall

"I dropped that class as soon as that lecture was over."


Drazen_ / Getty Images

5."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.'"


6."I had a drawing professor who put a stack of pre-signed withdrawal forms on his desk. He told us to grab one when we were ready."


7."'These books are required for the class. I wasn't able to get the revision into the bookstore in time, so the only places you can get them from are from me directly or on 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.' I've never seen an entire class get up five minutes in and leave before."

textbooks wrapped in cellophane on shelves
Svetlanais / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."Too many people got A's last semester, so I'm changing my syllabus for you all."


9."When they 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."


10."When they really put down good students for small mistakes."

professor lecturing class


"I had an algebra professor in college who once marked almost an entire test I took wrong because I abbreviated units of measurement such as cm, ft, etc. instead of spelling out centimeters, feet, etc.

"All of my answers were correct, but he gave me a 33% on my test for that. I had to complain to the math department dean, and he had to change my grade."


Skynesher / Getty Images

11."'This is my first time teaching, so you'll be my guinea pigs.' Her test averages were in the low 50s with no scaling. It was great."


12."When they read the PowerPoints word for word. I. Can. Do. That. At. Home. Teach, please."

empty classroom with projector set up


"I had a lecturer who did that, but it was compounded by the fact that she would have a whole page of text appear on the page, letter by letter, with each letter accompanied by either the typewriter or laser sound effect.

"Then, at the end of each slide, she'd say, 'So, you can see by that example that clearly what was required was this...' before clicking again. It was just 'pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew' for about 2-3 minutes, while everyone just waited for it to conclude so the lecture could resume."


Richard Ross / Getty Images

13."Back when I started college, I got straight A's in a class, but when I checked my overall grade, I had a B+. I found it odd and questioned my professor about it. He said that he dropped my grade down because the class was a bit of a pain in the ass (he didn't use those exact words, but that's what he meant). I then asked him if I did anything wrong or disturbed class or whatever, and he promptly told me that I didn't and was a great student. So, I asked pointblank, 'Why is my grade lower then?' and he just gave me the same excuse. I questioned if he was planning to change my grade at all as I had only A's, and he promptly said he wasn't going to change it.

"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, you didn't have to file a complaint about me. I was going to fix your grade.' Yada, yada."


14."'Get out the textbook and work on Chapter 5, Activity 1.' *Proceeds to sit down at their desk to do random things on their computer.*"


15."I saw a course at my college called, 'Digital Media and American Culture.' Sounds neat, I thought. The professor — he was an 80-year-old man — arrived 10 minutes late, got up, and literally asked a student in the front to tell him how many Facebook friends she had and then 'how many REAL friends' she had. He was then 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.

1984 and other books by George Orwell on a shelf

"Yeah, no."


Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

16."I had a professor that, in hindsight, I really should have dropped. It was a class on the history of western civilization. On the first day, he spent the entirety of the class talking about how he missed his old job teaching in Europe because 'American students are lazier and incapable of getting as high of grades.' Then, he showed us intro YouTube videos from his personal laptop that he had hooked to a projector. All of the recommended videos 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. The only students in the class with A's were women, and he would grade their quizzes differently and more leniently. (We 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.

"He would expect you to totally memorize all the chapter, as in, he would quiz on material that didn't matter for concepts. For example, he once asked, 'What was the name of Caesar's second cousin?' when the information would only be found in a huge family tree."


17."When they give you a test on the first day that WILL be counted against you. I had one of my mathematics professors do this."


18."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.'

A teacher writing on a chalkboard

"I may be bad at economics, but I can follow instructions."


Dzalcman / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19."I've had teachers that I just simply couldn't understand due to a language barrier. In hindsight, I should have dropped immediately. I learned that, basically, if you can't understand what the professor is saying, be prepared to teach yourself a lot of the class. I once had an accounting professor and had no idea what she was saying. I remember sitting in that class on the first day scratching my head. I looked around, and a lot of the other people had the same look on their faces. The next week, I showed up to class, and what was once a classroom of about 40 people was down to 12. I should have known right there to drop, but I didn't.

"I stuck it out. A few weeks went by, and it didn't get any better. I got my first test back and completely bombed it. I told myself right then that I was going to have to teach myself the material and that coming to class was pointless.

"I taught myself accounting by using the textbook. Since I didn't go to class, I missed all of her pop quizzes but just told myself I'd make it up on the tests. I only showed up for tests and the final, and lo and behold, I passed the class."


20."'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."


21."When the teacher doesn't even explain anything, he just goes on YouTube and shows the class a video, and everyone is left without a clue of what is going on. I dropped computer science because of this, and I'm glad that I did. Also, when the teacher hardly ever explains anything and insists on 'independent research' — more like 'I can't be asked to prepare lessons, so just go ahead and do it yourself.'"

empty desks in classroom
Five / Getty Images

22."I'll make the class too hard and curve the class average to a C, because C is average."


23."Speaking from personal experience, as I literally dropped four 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 would need some form of written/typed paper to follow along with lectures. When I told some professors, 'I'm completely deaf,' they'd said, 'Sit closer, I can't give you special treatment.'"


24."'No laptops, all code will be handwritten.' Yes, that really happened."


25."'I haven't quite finalized the coursework and grading, so I'll be adjusting them as we go along.' Surprise assignments, surprise tests, and way too many group projects — I should have known."

professors teaching in lecture hall
Skynesher / Getty Images

26."I had a two-hour-long, in-person class that consisted of pre-recorded PowerPoint lectures from 2008, 'because it saves time,' and 'Please, don't ask questions until after the end of my PowerPoint.' This was in 2017."


27."Reviews on RateMyProfessor. There are a few times that the student was just mad that they got a low grade, but more often than not, they are spot on."

screenshot of Rate My Professor site


"I swore by RateMyProfessor when I was in university. By my third year, I knew what type of class format I preferred (as long as you came to class and took good notes, you could just study those and didn't really need to do all the readings; no essays longer than 10 pages; non-multiple choice exams), so I would register for classes with profs whose teaching style I preferred. My GPA went up drastically once I started picking classes this way."


"Ten glowing reviews and one bad one: Probably a decent teacher. Ten bad reviews and one good one: Yeah, look for another class. I used RateMyProfessor all through college, and the only times I ended up with crappy professors were when there were no alternatives."


screenshot of Rate My Professor site

28."You are required to log onto Blackboard at least three days a week. I didn't register for an online class because I've got ample hours in my day to log on and do school work. I take online classes because I have the ability to successfully compete weeks worth of work in one day."


29."I once had a professor say, 'You get two absences this semester — more than two and you fail, it doesn't matter what the excuse is.' Sorry, with older relatives who were sick and dying, and with not being a psychic myself to know if I'd get sick, forget to set an alarm, or experience any number of unforeseeable things, that level of rigidity and unwillingness to compromise isn't worth it."

blurred image of full lecture hall


"I had a class where we were allowed three absences. I got bronchitis and used them up about midway through the semester. Toward the end of the semester, I got a concussion from passing out during an asthma attack. I wasn't allowed to look at screens, read, listen to music, draw, exercise, etc. for a week and a half.

"When I was able to go back to class, I brought him the paperwork from the hospital, but he just told me to 'read the syllabus' and wouldn't even look at my medical papers. My grade went from an A+ to a B-. The thing was, it was a lecture hall with 200 students, so it's not like there was any group participation. Plus, it was a 100-level class mostly for freshman."


"I had a psych professor at community college scream, 'I don't care if your kid is in St. Jude! If you miss the exam, there is NO makeup, and you WILL get a zero!' I wish I was kidding."


Chainarong Prasertthai / Getty Images/iStockphoto

30."If they do ice-breakers not only on the first day but the second day, as well, it means they have no idea what they're doing."


31."When the first thing they say before reading the two-page, 1.0-spaced syllabus is, 'I've been teaching for x years, so I deserve your respect.' That's basically a 100% accurate indicator that this person cannot be wrong, and they will talk to you like you're a [child].

syllabus on a desk

"They can't earn anybody's respect, so they have to ransom it."


Sakkawokkie / Getty Images/iStockphoto

32."There's a HUGE waitlist of students for a different section with a different professor."


33."You are required to use LockDown Browser for exams, have your webcam on, and must give a tour of the entire room with the camera and the volume on during normal working hours. Nah, no one invades my privacy. My normal working hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There's not much I can do about taking an exam before 5 p.m."


Well, did you recognize these red flags from your own experiences, or would you disagree with some? Perhaps you have some red flags of your own to share? Let us know your thoughts and story in the comments below!