PSA for University Students
If you have a prof who genuinely scares you or makes you feel unsafe…just drop the class. Don’t just take it from me; both of my parents are teachers and they’ve stressed this to me, as has my old classical voice coach: you can’t learn properly in an abusive environment.
Toughness is one thing. My Latin class is difficult. We go through the material quickly and we have a demanding amount of homework. But the prof is tough in our favour; he encourages us to not be afraid to ask for help, and he teaches us useful strategies so we can deal with a heavy workload well. That’s a good kind of toughness, one that challenges students but makes us prepared to take the challenge.
If they’re tough and against you, that’s another matter. If they make you feel afraid to talk, refuse to accommodate disabilities, don’t respect your race, gender, sexuality, etc., give you unreasonable amounts of work without teaching you the relevant skills to handle it…that’s when you get yourself out of that situation.
Just because somebody is an authority figure like that doesn’t give them the right to bully you. An abusive teacher can screw you up big time, and taking control of your life and saying no to that will help you more in the long run than weathering it. One of the most important skills you can ever learn is to not let people just push you around, and that still applies in the classroom.