The Types of Professors in Your Lecture Class

The Types of Professors in Your Lecture Class

There are certain archetypes that reoccur in the students around you in your lecture class, conveniently fleshed out in last month’s issue. Fortunately, since life operates by stereotypes, your professors can also be placed in several easy, reoccurring categories for easy digestion and comprehension. Which of these lovely professors have you been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to encounter?

The Professor Who Is Far Too Intelligent

You are often mesmerized by the vocabulary of this professor. Sometimes they will say a word and you will be too busy thinking about the archaic book in which the professor must have learned such a word, missing the rest of their sentence. Typically, these professors are actually very enthusiastic, receptive to students, and generally friendly. The primary problem with this professor is that they are so intelligent that, while they understand what they are saying, no one else does.  You appreciate that your professor understands his content, but you wish he could explain it in such a way that doesn’t make you feel like a failure.

The Professor Who Doesn’t Go to Class

Like the student who doesn’t go to class, this professor simply does not see the importance of attending lecture at all. In order for the professor to get away with this, they are often tenured, and as a result, essentially invincible. This professor usually sends last minute e-mails cancelling class, has random friends substitute in their class, or sometimes just leaves the students awkwardly waiting for 10 minutes before the class decides to bail. You would go to their office hours, but you fear they might not be there either. You suspect this professor might be eternally out for a good time on 6th.

The Professor with an Incomprehensible Accent

To compound your inability to understand this professor, the class is usually in some horribly scientific foreign language, such as Calculus. At the beginning of the semester, you try extremely hard to listen and take notes. You diligently attend every class and try to decipher the words muddled by a thick accent and take good notes so you can succeed. Eventually, though, you give up because once you try and study your notes, you will realize that your efforts were futile. If the professor has PowerPoints accompanying their lecture, then you might be okay, but otherwise… just hope no one else understands the professor either, and the curve is in your favor.

The Professor Who Inspires Fear in your Heart

Sometimes you’ll consider asking this professor a question, but quickly decide against it when you realize you are afraid of their response. Often this professor is fairly intelligent, but a rather unfriendly fellow or lass. At the beginning of the semester, some poor soul had their hopes and dreams crushed by a professor dismissing their question, or by the professor answering it as if the student should be ashamed for not already knowing the answer. Sometimes they make fun of students. This professor does not seem to actually like teaching, but is unfortunately required to by the University. You suspect their research lab involves harvesting the life energy and hopes of students and puppies as an alternate renewable energy source.

The Professor Who Is an Adorable Geek

This professor’s voice always radiates with fulfillment and happiness, and their enthusiasm is unmatched by any previously described professor. You can tell that this professor is beyond excited to share their passion about their field with their students. They often have quirky stories, perhaps relating to their research, and like to do demonstrations and make students act scientific concepts out in class. Sometimes they go on long tangents, but it’s okay. Even though they aren’t necessarily the best professor, you don’t mind going to class because you always leave feeling a bit more enthusiastic about your education.

The Professor Who Goes Above and Beyond

Finally, a wholly positive stereotype. This professor is often the one who makes you passionate about whatever you are working towards for your degree. The enthusiasm, teaching ability, and personality of this professor all make them ideal. This professor is the epitome of success in their field, and typically it is well-known among the student body; good luck getting into their class. Surprisingly, this professor does not always give fantastic grades, but people are captivated by the stories and are willing to take a GPA hit. The wait-list on this professor is usually massive, and only a lucky few will get to experience the above and beyond.

Unfortunately, professors are much more difficult to avoid than students if you want to get your degree, so you will have to build a certain tolerance to these geezers. Not all are bad, though- keep your head up, go to class, and push through the tangents, the accent, the rude behavior, and the confusion. Unfurl from the fetal position and wipe away those tears. Maybe next registration period you’ll get a professor whose ratings and grade distributions don’t make your stomach drop. Your dream above-and-beyond professor will come soon enough.


Are there any professors you feel deserve mention? Leave a comment below! If you feel a professor is exceptional enough to deserve an article, don’t hesitate to write about one. Remember, the Catalyst is available to all students for submissions—just shoot an e-mail to

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