What to Do If Your Professor Hates You

Regardless of your intentions, you seem to have stumbled into a less-than-ideal situation: you’re convinced your professor hates you. Whether it’s the way she reacts to your questions in class, the grades you’re being given for your assignments and exams, or just an overall feeling, you’re pretty certain there is some kind of issues going on. Now what?

First and foremost, take a step back. 

Chances are, your professor doesn’t actually hate you. 

Now, there may be some disagreement — your professor may not like your attitude, may think you aren’t trying, may think you’re being disruptive in class, or may simply think your opinions and beliefs are ill-informed — but actually hating you is pretty serious. (Side note: If you do think there is something personal going on, like sexual harassment, definitely talk to your dean of students, academic dean, or any other ally on campus as soon as possible.)

It’s much more likely that there’s some kind of miscommunication or personality clash going on. Try to reflect back on when things started to become tense between you and your professor. Was it gradual? Or was there a key moment when you felt things shift? Similarly, see if the way you’re being treated is pretty normal (e.g., your professor is just a moody genius) or if you’re feeling particularly singled out. Trying to look at the issue one step removed can be a smart way to gain perspective.

Think about an ideal solution to the situation.

Don’t worry about consequences when first thinking through what your dream situation would be.

Do you just want to drop the class? Have to interact wit your professor less often? Change to another specific professor who, in contrast, seems to adore you? Or do you want to stick it out, stay in the class, and show the professor you’re not who he thinks you are? Similarly, if your ideal solution is to get your professor fired, you might want to challenge yourself to see if the disdain goes both ways here.

Think about a realistic solution to the situation.

Alright, so regardless of the reason, you’re pretty convinced your professor doesn’t like you. So what can you do about it? Can you stick it out for another few weeks? Or are you concerned that, because your professor seemingly has it out for you, that you won’t get the grade you earn (note: not necessarily deserve, but earn)? Can you transfer to another section of the same class? Is it too late to transfer to a different course altogether? Do you need to just drop the class, or is getting an incomplete a better option? Can you think about some feedback your professor has given you and, consequently, can you try to approach the course in a different and more productive way?

Make a plan of action — with a deadline.

If you’re convinced that your professor hates you, that she has absolutely no reason for doing so, and that there’s nothing you can do to change her opinion, it’s time for Plan B. Of your ideal and realistic solutions, which ones seem most feasible? What can you do to help yourself make the most of your situation? Look to your friends, your classmates, tutors, other professors, and anyone else who can help. If you can’t change your professor’s opinion of you, you at least owe it to yourself to make sure you still get the most that you can out of your courses this semester.