The types of professors you’ll encounter at UNC

Beware the TA who ‘DEFINITELY knows more than you’

Here at UNC, the professors are just as diverse as the student body. We have everyone from the young TAs to their elderly counterparts, and each one has a different way of teaching their course.

We can’t rely on RateMyProfessor to do all the work for preparing us, so here are the different types of professors you are bound to encounter and how to survive their lectures or “new approaches to learning.”

The monotone professor

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With a lack of excitement, it seems these professors would continue lecturing no matter if there were any students at all in the room. They somehow manage to make every single sentence sound as if they are reading out of the dictionary. Chew some gum or chug a cup of coffee to stay wide-eyed in class and try to pay attention to keywords, no matter how little stress they receive from the professor.

The overly excited TA

You may encounter one of these in your next lab, or even in lecture if the teacher has really given up. This TA is young and full of hope…how nice for us. What’s most important is they may not be experts on the subject, but they definitely still know more than you do.  And since they’re young and fresh, they’re eager to help students with any problems that may arise during the class. Take advantage of those extra office hours.

The apathetic professor

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Maybe they’ve lost their spark, or maybe they’ve realized the best way to do their job with as little effort as possible, but the apathetic professor might be the worst one you encounter. How can you be pumped about Eastern European literature if they cannot seem to find the energy themselves? Make sure to ask questions to keep the ball rolling or form a study group in order to establish some type of engagement.

The tenured professor

This professor has their job on lockdown and, therefore, no longer has to worry about your satisfaction in their class. This can either lead you to a devoted professor or another one who teaches class on his or her own terms. The best way to survive is adapting to their plans and staying on track, ’cause they’re not following a road map this time.

The liberal professor

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While your Poli teacher might claim they are “unbiased” when it comes to political analysis, let’s face it, they probably have a Hillary Clinton cut-out in their back office or a “Feel the Bern” bumper sticker. Whether you agree or disagree, the best way to survive this professor is trying to see past the bias to the real information. This may require some research on your part on the other side left out of this week’s lectures.

The research professor

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Science and research are what they’re here for, so they may only teach one class every four years to keep their grants coming. They may be insanely passionate about a singular topic and have a resume that makes NASA look weak, but it helps if you try to understand it. They most likely spent the last few years buried in lab work, so their wardrobe might only consist of dull colors and sensible flats matched with a lecture of criticizing the textbook industry. Just go to office hours though, because they know everything.

The socially awkward professor

Decked out in orthopedic shoes (no matter their age), this professor is most likely to ensure an entire class period full of uncomfortable laughter. The best way to make it through is to keep smiling and form a relationship with them. This will allow both of you to feel more comfortable around each other and the professor should be more willing to help.

The professor who acts nicely, but grades harshly

We’ve all experienced this professor – they encourage us and tell us there are no wrong answers, but then they return your short essay with a large “D+” on it. Once the initial stages of shock and anger set in, it is important to meet with the professor to figure out what they were really expecting from you. It can be hard to get past the first few assignments, but it can only go up from there, right?

Whether your professor is everything you dreamed or the subject of your nightmares, learning how to identify them and survive their classes can make it 100 percent better. Make sure to stay alert and focused, and most importantly, adaptable.

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