Not every professor you have in your post-secondary career is going to be a life-changer. However, the sole reason absolutely every individual who becomes a professor does so is because they were that 11th grader getting a little misty-eyed while watching Dead Poets Society in English class.
After they snag that PhD, professors can go one of two ways. They either A) become a soulless cretin whose joy of knowledge has been ripped from their bodies by kids who communicate solely through memes and dabbing (there’s no hope for you, David), or B) press on through all the trials and tribulations for the betterment of their students.
We all know how to deal with the first group: Attend the lecture with your face planted firmly against your desk and avoid all interaction with the monster screeching about a PowerPoint while that same abomination gives the entire class little paper idiot hats to wear. Following a semester of this, you laugh about your C- average in what you thought would be a “breeze of a class” then write terrible, terrible things on Rate My Professors until the bones poke through the ends of your fingertips. Simple enough.
If, by chance, you are lucky enough to encounter a teacher who falls into the latter category, congratulations! You have run into what we refer to as a green-light professor. Here are five tell-tale signs your professor would take a bullet for you and your GPA.
1. In the course introduction, they talk about how they don’t care about grades and care more about what you take away from the class
Then they send you off with, “If you don’t do well, it is me who has failed you.” A little more common in communications-based courses, but wow, what a nice idea: Giving every student a 100% and being able to actually focus on genuine discussion. If I didn’t know any better I would think you’re a communist bastard, but regardless this is still a pretty good indicator that getting good marks with this teach isn’t going to be difficult.
2. They don’t believe in taking attendance and the study guides given to you for tests are suspiciously similar to the tests themselves
Okay okay okay… First, you gave me hope by saying you valued my participation in class over my marks, then you told me you won’t punish me if I don’t show up, and now this study guide is literally just the test? Are you in love with me or are you dying? Because I really see no other reason that this could be happening.
3. Class is constantly being cut early or just straight-up cancelled
Fuck, I guess he doesn’t want to be here either. I mean, the class is only like an hour and twenty minutes long and we spent the first 45 minutes talking about how “Seth Rogen is the undisputed greatest actor in the world.” Following that he just said, “I feel like we’ve got a lot accomplished today” and dismissed the class to more than likely go buy a dime bag off of one of his students, pick up a nice bottle of pinot grigio, and head home to bang his overly hot wife whom he talks about constantly.
4. They’re very, VERY lenient with due dates
Maybe he’s still rolling off that dime bag Eric from Intro to Philosophy sold him last week, but this dude does seriously not give a fuck about assignments. You’re three weeks late on a worksheet that would take you 5 minutes to do and his response (if he even mentions it at all) is, “I understand how hectic life can be. Just get it to me when you can.”
5. At the end of the semester, you’re walking away with a grade that you legitimately believe you do not deserve
And it feels incredible. Five cancelled classes, seven skipped classes, countless Jonah Hill references, and 3 months later you’re walking away with a grade above 80%. You still have no idea what the class was even about, but you feel more fulfilled as a human being. You caught a break in college, which is rare. At the end of the semester, he takes you all out for drinks and sends you off with his well wishes. A real-life angel, the green light professor is off to watch more Dead Poets Society knowing he made a difference in the lives of kids still scarred from the paper hats they’re made to wear in their four other classes..
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