Advice, Please?

  • I've been wondering if there is any way to resolve this. I'm planning to go back to school next year. I took a leave of absence because it just got to be a toxic situation. There's one professor who just keeps saying nasty things about me and unfortunately he has a very strong influence on some of his students. A counselor believes that I've been the victim of harassment. She has said that I should never take another class with him again. A counselor at the school advised me not to pursue any action against this professor or talk to him about his bad behavior. I feel like he may not change and that I should get out of taking any additional classes with him. But, I'm worried that I'll get stuck taking him again because I may need another class with him to graduate. If I take another class with him, do you see things getting better? Or will it be more of the same? The things he said were so bad that there were people who wanted nothing to do with me. I used to feel sick before his class.

  • Do you have any evidence or witnesses of this harassment? He shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. Perhaps there are other victims of his around who may want to join you in action. Why did he pick on you?

  • I do have witnesses. But, the problem is that they seem to be siding with him. The only person who has come close to experiencing what I have is unaware he has been picked on. This professor picks on me because he perceives me as an outsider. I wish there were more people involved because then it would be easier to take action. It really is a bad situation.

  • I wonder what a professor could say that would make people want to avoid you....or make you feel as if you are being singled out.

    Can you give an example?

  • Well, he has told people that I have a severe mental illness that I do not have. He told other students that I refused to talk to him and that I lied about him in a failed attempt to have him fired. He has also told students that I don't like him because he is gay. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Sorry- I didn't know that word wasn't allowed. He has students convinced that I don't like him because of his sexuality. It's ridiculous.

  • Mh83, this is indeed a very complicated situation. My advice is - if possible, do avoid taking classes with this teacher. If there is no way of avoiding it, then just bite the bullit and go there with an open heart, ready to give him a second chance, radiating friendliness, warmth and quiet confidence. This way it will be obvious to everybody else in the class that the problem is not you, even if it takes time for them to get convinced. But you have to make sure that your own behaviour towards him is impecable. Chances are that the reason why this teacher does what he does is that something about you triggers his own insecurities, probably connected to his sexuality. Maybe you remind him of someone who did speak badly of him in the past, or a similar kind of situation. My guess is - is trying to make YOU feel what HE is feeling, so that he would feel better about himself.

  • Thanks to everyone who responded. Volply Soply- I think you are right. But, I still don't understand what it is about me that makes him insecure. Perhaps I should have been friendlier towards him. I received the advice that I should "keep him at arms length." I think he mistook my distance for dislike of him. I really hoped that things would be different. He is one of the more popular professors at the school.

  • VoplySoply, the last part of your post reminded me- yes I did think that he was trying to make me feel the way he feels. But, after awhile it got to be very draining. I tried to be as sympathetic as I could be. But, sometimes you just have to leave a bad situation.

  • Yes, I agree, it would be much better to leave the bad situation, but if there is no way around it and you are basically stuck with him, you have to at least try to try to minimize the damage.

  • This counselor was wrong this teacher needs to be confronted about his actions. His job is to teach "everyone" fairly. If he has issues he shouldn't be allowed to teach. It reminds me of the teacher who was a bully when my daughter was young & some one needs to remind him he is a teacher not a bully. Report him to the dean or chancellor of the school. And you should not have to be in any of his classes

  • Well, I emailed him and contacted the dean. But, to be honest, I feel like it won't do any good. He wants to meet with me as well as the dean. The prof denies that he did anything wrong. Despite the fact that I heard what he said and so did some of the other students.

  • I agree that he needs to teach everyone fairly. I feel like he singles out students he perceives as being inferior in some way or another. It could be a student with a mental or physical disability or just someone who is different. Unfortunately, a lot of people perceive me that way.

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