Uni Life

How to deal with an asshole tutor

Jackson Langford guides you through making the best of an asshole tutor before they get the best of you.


Everyone knows one – a tutor who is just unnecessarily an asshole to students. They target individual students for some unknown reason and seemingly live to see the despair on already-stressed-to-the-brink students. Unfortunately, because tutors are in a position of authority and are responsible for your grades, people can be a little hesitant to speak out against them. However, you don’t have to experience uni like that and you have every right as a student, paying near heinous amounts for your education, to have a say in how you’re treated in the classroom. Dealing with asshole tutors can be tricky, but it’s not impossible.

The first thing you need to do is really assess the situation. All of us have those days where someone rubs us the wrong way, and before going off on your tutor, you should probably make sure that today isn’t one of those days. If a tutor makes a remark that pisses you off, it might be worth running what they said by your friends, or at least waiting for you to cool off before bringing it up. If you come to the conclusion that what they said wasn’t that bad, it might be worth letting this one go.

Although it delights some of us, obnoxiously talking back to your tutor isn’t the best way to go about things. In fact, it’s rarely the best way to go about things. A better way to handle the situation is stopping the tutor to talk to you after class, or sending them an email. Firstly, you can give yourself time to cool off so you don’t say anything irrational. Secondly, think of your classmates – would you want them to endure the skin-crawling awkwardness of witnessing a tutor/student showdown?

However, in some circumstances you can’t control an outburst, but it might turn out okay. In my first ever uni presentation, a student’s phone began to ring. She decided to answer it in the middle of class before realising what she’d done. After opting to leave the classroom, with me already pissed and embarrassed, the tutor begins to sing the tune of the ringtone. I reacted instantly with “you done?” and he sat in silence for the duration of my presentation. Two weeks later, I discover I managed to nab a HD. Was it the best way to handle the situation? No. Did it work? Damn straight.

Ultimately, the best way to get the message across is via the Student Feedback Surveys. Despite the admitted deliciousness of those free lollipops they hand out in that period of time during semester, these surveys actually help a lot. You can tell the tutor, anonymously, exactly how they were good or not so good, and perhaps give them any tips or pointers that you think they could apply to make the classroom environment more enjoyable and productive. The best part? Tutors incessantly beg for students to fill these out, so if that tutor happens to be an asshole and you fill out the Student Feedback Survey to reflect that, they have noone to blame but their miserable, old selves.



(Image: Dave Appleby, Flickr, no changes made)

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