The Research Prof
This Prof will make it known during the first week, or even the first day, that he/she does research. Very Important Research. And if you have questions after class, office hours will be held In His/Her Lab. Often, these labs are FAR FAR AWAY across campus, requiring a multi-bus route combo to find, hidden far away from the prying eyes of students. Don't fool yourself, this is done ON PURPOSE. This Prof really doesn't want you to appear during office hours, because you ignorant students just INTERUPT HIS/HER RESEARCH. Other tell-tale signs that your Prof is a Researcher include: loud sighing in class when a question is asked, verbal abuse of said question-asker, extremely difficult exams covering topics only covered in the book, and a general lack of caring in the classroom. Note: The Research Prof never wanted to teach students, he/she ONLY came to the university to do research and/or get grant money for said research.
The Traveling Prof
The Traveling Prof can also be a combo of the Research Prof, or sometimes the Fresh Out Of GradSchool Prof because these Profs are highly regarded in their field, requiring them to attend conferences, give speeches, write books, and all-around, just not make it to class. The Traveling Prof always has speaking engagments and conferences and awards to recieve, and with no regard to your learning, will be absent from class for days or weeks at a time. If you're lucky, your Traveling Prof will not care at all about your education, and cancel class altogether. Otherwise, you will be stuck with a Teaching Assistant pretending to be a PowerPoint Prof, or a Prof who teaches a different section of your course.
The PowerPoint Prof
The PowerPoint Prof is very VERY easy to find. This is a Prof who either has no speaking skills, or maybe a GradSchool Prof who is nervous but for whatever the reason, this Prof is under the impression that creating PowerPoint slides then reading them outloud to a class for the 50-75 minute class period is perfectly acceptable. I speak for all college students when I say, You Suck, Mister PowerPoint Prof. If you are going to read verbatim off of the slides, then why should I waste my time in class? We all know you will post them on your class website. I spent 13 years of early education honing my reading skills, so I'm capable of reading myself. KTHANKS.
The GradStudent Prof
The GradStudent Prof can be found primarily in the summer sessions of classes, when real Profs like to take a break. The GradStudent Prof makes class easy. Waaayyy easy. usually because they either a) Don't Care. b) Want to look like a Good Prof by having lots of A's or c) Don't Care. They may also be PowerPoint Profs, and also Teaching Assistants during the normal school year you know, when real Profs are teaching.
The Teaching Assistant
During the normal school year, the more difficult or larger classes often times employ Teaching Assistants. They perform tasks such as collecting and grading homework and quizzes, holding office hours to answer questions, or stepping in to lecture if a Prof isn't there (i.e. for the Travelling Prof). Generally, the Teaching Assistant is one of the more helpful Profs, because they hold the answers to homework and quizzes, and usually give out really good hints. If you have the time, and hang out in office hours for the Teaching Assistant, you usually will get very good homework grades. They also are more closer to your age, sometimes even undergraduate students who have previously taken the course. If you crush on a Teaching Assistant, that's cool too, just wait until AFTER grades are in for the semester.
The Tenured Prof
The Tenured Prof is generally old, and just doesn't care anymore. He/She has free rein of campus, and has probably been working here longer than you've been alive. He/She may have even graduated college before your parents were born. True Personal Experience: My sophomore year, my math Prof was super old. I'm talking, older-than-my-grandparents-uses-a-cane-and-a-snail-would-be-you-in-a-race old. I did some research on the university website, and sure enough, the man graduated with his Phd in the 50s, making him 80+ years old. His hands shook when he wrote on the overhead projector. You've been warned.
The Fresh Out of GradSchool Prof
The Fresh Out of GradSchool Prof can go two ways, edgy and new, or nervous and scared. The edgy version will have new ideas and ways of teaching, making class time fun. They may even bring candy or let you play some from of Review Jeopardy before an exam. It's somewhat like being back in high school, where the teacher knew everyone's name and let you watch movies. The nervous and scared version is very easy to manipulate they are, in a sense, pushovers. They may be a PowerPoint Prof, and they usually don't know what they're in for. I once had a Fresh Out of GradSchool Prof say on Day 1, "This is my first class teaching in the United States, so we can all learn together." You could practically hear the entire class snicker. Just an easy target.
The Genuinely Helpful Prof
The Genuinely Helpful Prof is as rare as a unicorn. If you find one, hold onto it for dear life. He/She will have an open door policy for help on class material, and willing to sit and help you for hours before an exam. They WANT you to succeed. This Prof will end up being a true friend of yours, and even after the semseter is over, will still stop and talk to you on campus. This Prof will be good if you need a reference for a job or grad school, if you're looking for research or an internship, or need connections of any sort.
originally posted here.