# Why are Professors Always Grumpy?

1. Sep 7, 2007

### qspeechc

Ok, not all professors are grumpy, and those that are are not so all the time. But I mean give me a break! Today I asked my prof. for my dynamics course about a certain question in the tutorial, and he replied "Do you go over your notes aat the end of the day?" To which I said no, as I usually do that over the weekend. He then started telling me how, that if I summarise and go over my notes everyday, ones' marks will go from 30% to 80%.
He justified this remark by saying it had happened to a girl in a course he was lecturing, who got 20% in the mid-year exam to 80% in the final exam by following his advice.
Now that's all good and fine, and I certainly believe him, but was he insinuating that I am stupid with that comment? I mean, I got eighty-something in the mid-year exams.
And further, he was also helping out some other bunch of people who were stuck on the same problem, but he never made such a comment, and I had actually gotten further in the problem than them.
So what's the deal, does he think I am stupid or not? Or just grumpy?

2. Sep 7, 2007

### cristo

Staff Emeritus
Perhaps he'd just got sick of telling everyone the same thing. There could be a million and one reasons for his being grumpy. However, I'll give you one piece of advice: never answer such a question as you did with "no." That's like him asking "did you do your homework tonight" and you answering "no!"

3. Sep 7, 2007

### Jimmy Snyder

Take his advise and you will get 320% in the final.

4. Sep 7, 2007

### Cyrus

Go over your notes before you speak then.

5. Sep 7, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
That's more likely the point, and what was bugging him, if he was just inundated by people all asking the same question if the approach to the solution was covered thoroughly in the class notes and nobody has bothered to read them before asking him for help.

6. Sep 7, 2007

### qspeechc

Hey, I had gone over my notes, it turns out, I was just missing a scaling term in my solution, ie. an 'r' somewhere, then he goes on this long rant about cramming the night before, and ''you're going to fail, and second and third year will be impossible'' blah-blah-blah.
And tutors too, usually cranky when you ask thm something, even though they are paid to be there. Anyhoos, it's all hunky-dory.

7. Sep 7, 2007

### Cyrus

Just point out mistakes he makes on the board, constantly.

I will say this. I had one professor who was like that. He was a good teacher, but pretty arrogant. Actually, very arrogant. It was a junior/senior course so he didnt say the things your teacher said, but he was very arrogant. So I made it a point to correct him in the middle of the class of 60-70 people as much as possible. Eventually, he stopped calling on me when I raised my hand because he knew what was coming. I still got an A in the class too.

Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
8. Sep 7, 2007

### moose

Haha, it's unbelievably how many tiny mistakes professors or anyone else who is explaining something makes. They usually fix them within 10 or 20 seconds, so it would be devastating if the instant they made a mistake "HAHHAHA YOU IDIOT, THATS SUPPOSED TO BE A TWO NOT A ONE!!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA LOOK OVER YOUR NOTES BEFORE CLASS, YOUR RATE OF ERROR MAKING WILL GO DOWN FIVE FOLD AHAHAHA MUAHA!"

9. Sep 7, 2007

### siddharth

IMO, he's just trying to help you do better. Just take the advice, and ignore the rest.

10. Sep 7, 2007

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
I really don't know.

Is it possible he was paying you a compliment? Maybe he thought you were more capable of learning by self-study than the others.

Just trying to look at things from all angles.

11. Sep 7, 2007

### Cyrus

Some teachers are simply A-holes. The teacher I had *no one* liked. Not a single person in the class. I dont even think other faculty liked him.

12. Sep 7, 2007

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
So are some students.

Any category - teachers, students, engineers, doctors, etc. - runs the gamut (from bad to good) in terms of characteristics and qualities of people. Also, it's fairly easy (for anyone) to have a bad day, hour, or minute.

13. Sep 7, 2007

### Cyrus

No, this guy was an A-hole the entire semester. You'd go to this office and ask him a question and he would respond with a question, "I dont know, you tell me?"

14. Sep 7, 2007

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
I was thinking more in terms of gspeechc's example. Maybe his prof had a bad couple of minutes. You (or anyone) can say that it shouldn't have happened, but everyone is human, and thus gets frustrated at times.

15. Sep 7, 2007

### scorpa

Oh that is a pet peeve of mine! I had a prof that did that to. I would go to his office to ask him a question, thoroughly explain to him what the problem was, what I thought about it, showed all the work I had been able to do at the time, and ask a specific question about where I was getting hung up and his response......"I don't know, you tell me?!" Needless to say I didn't get much help from him.

On the plus side I am really lucky this year. All of my professors are amazing so far!!!!

16. Sep 7, 2007

### Cyrus

Makes ya wanna smack them in the face, eh?

17. Sep 8, 2007

### mathwonk

*** you! what do you mean??!!

we are never grumpy!!!

and if yuou dont like that you can ^^&&%%##@!!!!!

and never come to my office hours again!

Last edited: Sep 8, 2007
18. Sep 8, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Ah, but when he asked you if you went over the notes, you answered "no." That's all he had to go on. As George Jones pointed out, maybe he knows you're capable of doing better and this was his way of pushing you to achieve your maximum potential. He might expect you're pulling a B and thinks you're doing that without really working, so figures if he pushes you to review your notes more often, keep up on things and not wait until the last minute, etc., that you could be the A student in the class. It may be why he was shorter with you than the other cluster of students asking essentially the same question...he might be resigned to them being mediocre students, but wants to push you harder to be a top student.

19. Sep 8, 2007

### qspeechc

Yea, I think he's not the grumpy type. He was just grumpy at that moment at me, which is unusual, because I had never seen him grumpy with anyone else before. What is it with Applied Maths professors? They're always angry at me. I've had 3 so far this year, and omg, the 2nd one really had it out for me. Shouting at me in tutorials and telling me to shut up. Yes, he really said 'shut up' to me. I don't have any problem with the professors from other departments. Are Applied Mathematicians a special breed of professors or what? Makes me think twice about majoring in Applied Maths.

Last edited: Sep 8, 2007
20. Sep 8, 2007

### Chi Meson

OK.

How many professors and TAs etc get annoyed with you, specifically you? IF it is more than one, and especially if it is more than two, then you might want to look inward.
Speculation: Are you you particularly interested in your math classes, so much that you regularly ask questions, and then pursue the answers with ongoing details? While in other classes, you sit with a more mild attitude? Unless that one professor tells a lot of kids to "shut up," then I'm thinking there's one student who isn't aware of how interrupting he can be.

In my experience, some of my most exhausting students have been the ones most interested in the subject; they can continuously drag out a simple concept and consume vast quantities of class time with inappropriate detail.

21. Sep 8, 2007

### HallsofIvy

If your experience is that professors are always grumpy, perhaps the question you should be asking is "Why are professors always grumpy when I'm around"! In other words, think about what you might be doing to make them grumpy. (Or maybe it's a matter or timing- do you always show up at their offices before they've had their morning coffee? I strongly recommend against that!)

22. Sep 8, 2007

### Cyrus

:rofl: I think you would punch me in the face if I came to your office :rofl:...awesome.

23. Sep 8, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Very true! Or, if you're frequently interrupting in class with questions that should be saved for office hours, or have more than a quick question at the end of class, that again would be better discussed in office hours rather than when the professor is trying to get through the long line of students waiting to ask the quick questions and needs to get to another meeting, class, appointment, lunch, or just plain get out of the room for the next class to get in, you might be wearing out his patience (and perhaps that of all your classmates too). Also, if you're showing up at their offices outside of office hours and without an appointment on a frequent basis, and/or with lengthy questions, they may be getting annoyed at the interruptions. If you have a lot of questions, attend office hours, or make an appointment to talk to them, and do so only after you've reviewed your notes and the text chapters to make sure your questions aren't something trivial that you could answer yourself with a little reading.

I had a classmate like that in my chemistry class when I was an undergrad. He was one of the top students in the class, but irritating as all get out, because he'd interrupt with a question at least 3 times in every class, and they were always such quibbling, picky points that there was no need to interrupt to ask rather than save the questions for after class. I never knew his real name, we just all called him "Weasel." (He kind of looked like one, and his personality seemed to fit.) He'd raise his hand, and we'd all groan that Weasel was interrupting again. If you're frequently inspiring grumpiness among your professors, make sure you're not being the Weasel of the class.

Last edited: Sep 8, 2007
24. Sep 8, 2007

### scorpa

Lol I had a guy like that in an ochem class I took in first year, we weren't as creative with names as you were though, the rest of the class just called him "annoying question guy".

25. Sep 8, 2007

### ekrim

I don't blame professors, when so many unmotivated students think that they can get private tutoring if they didn't go to class or can beg for a grade change at the end of the year. I think I'd set my office hours to be 5-6:00 am on sunday morning