1. The One Who Hates Teaching
Unless you attend a liberal arts college, where teaching is prized, you might get stuck with a professor who absolutely fucking hates teaching and really just does it because s/he has to. Teaching for this professor isn’t their pride and joy, just some dumb thing they have to do to collect their paychecks and get reimbursed for conference travel. The professor who hates teaching gives themselves away straight away with unprepared classes, and in class they’re probably thinking more about the weekend than they are about teaching this stupid class they don’t even want to be teaching r/n.
Level of difficulty: I’m sorry, can you repeat the question? I’m shopping on ASOS.
2. The One Who Is Impossibly Good Looking
We have all had a class with the professor who is just way too hot for his or her own good. Like, it’s the only reason you take that class because you fantasize about this professor and talk about him all the time in your friend group. Like you showed up to a class that could have been boring but then the professor walks in and they are a total babe, so yeeeeeeah. One of my professors in graduate school was SO HOT and every time we had seminar I would listen to him talk and I would see his mouth moving but the only thing I was thinking was, “Hmmm, I wonder what his fav position is? Did he have sex this morning mmm…”
Level of difficulty: Hey, um, do you need anything? ANYTHING?
3. The One Who Is Impossibly Mean
The impossibly mean prof is the one every body hates. I had a professor in college who was mean and strict and she wore all black all the time and would shut you down in front of everyone if your answer was even slightly wrong. The most hilarious part is that she would let you go on and on with your verbose response, letting you talk and talk and fully believe you were on the right track. But then she would shut you down at the end. “I’m sorry, that’s not right. Anyone else?” I thought she was FABULOUS. There’s some gender bias in here, too, because a mean male professor is said to be “hard” and “demanding” whereas a mean female professor is always a “bitch.” Double standards much? But sometimes, especially for female professors, being mean is a strategy to secure the respect of the classroom. A friend of mine recently told me that now that we’re four weeks into the new term, she can start being nice to her students, that she uses “meanness” to combat sexism. So, there you go!
Level of difficulty: everything you do or say is wrong, just drop out while you can.
4. The Grad Student
This person is often still within your age group so the dynamics are pretty awkward. Coming from experience, grad student teachers don’t know what’s going on and they’re still trying to figure out their teaching persona. I know when I taught my first undergrad section I was really freaking terrified, because you have all these people staring at you and they are waiting for you and you are terrified that someone is going to ask you a question that you won’t have the answer to, meaning you are basically an idiot.
Level of difficulty: Whatever, you’re like two years old than me.
5. The Weed-Smoking/Free-Spirited Political Radical
This professor is all about the downfall of capitalism and wears like beach shirts to class and probably/definitely smokes weed every chance s/he gets. When they are not in class they are out organizing protests and demonstrations and connecting the campus to the broader community. When you visit their office there’s all kinds of crazy stuff in there like yoga mats and masks and incense and stuff they found on an African safari.
Level of difficulty: A bong.
6. The One Who Is Painfully Boring
Well there’s not much to say about a boring professor, is there?
Level of difficulty: zzzzzzzzzzzzz
7. The Celebrity
Colleges love having celebrity academics on campus. You know, the Judith Butlers, the Cornell Wests, the people who get paid a shit load of money and are frequently on television or doing a book tour. The problem with celebrity professors, though, is that unless they love teaching, they’re probably half-assing it in the classroom. They are never in their office, infrequently available, and seemingly always somewhere else. You gotta respect the hustle! But hey, at least you got the chance to say you studied with Judith Butler.
Level of difficulty: their books are the only ones on the syllabus.
8. The One You Become Friends With
Some professors have a policy where they don’t add their students to Facebook unless they’ve graduated or are no longer affiliated with the university. Others become friends with their former students as soon as class ends. But this relationship is less a friendship and more a mentorship. This is the person who will encourage you to go to graduate school, who will write your recommendation letters, or who will recommend you when you are up for some other job, or will call their friends and get you published somewhere awesome. They’re the ones who change your life.
Level of difficulty: an emoticon.