Professors with favorites dilemma

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

What do you do when you have a professor who has favorites in a class? What do you do if it is affecting your grades?
Should I stand up for myself and risk detention or stay quiet and hope things change?

Also what if a professor is lazy and won’t answer my questions? What should I do?
Teacher Issues

My dear Karissa,

You ask an excellent and most delicate question. It can indeed be frustrating to put forth your best effort in a classroom only to feel ignored or slighted in favor of other students. No doubt you are aware that Mr. Potter experienced a similar situation with Professor Snape and Mr. Malfoy. You might do well to remember that things are not always as they appear on the surface. In his own way, Professor Snape cared a great deal about the students he seemed to dislike.

It is impossible to see inside the heart of another and read their behavior, but I find that it helps to give every person the benefit of the doubt. Teaching is an extremely difficult profession, and it has been my experience that if you continue to show kindness and consideration to a teacher, he or she will respond positively. If you truly feel that you have been graded unfairly, I would suggest asking your professor to explain your grade in a way that does not appear angry. If the explanation is unsatisfactory, confiding in an adult parent or guardian might be worthwhile.

You sound like an extraordinarily conscientious student, and that is certainly commendable. But do not be overly anxious about grades, Karissa. While they are important, and I’ve no doubt you deserve high marks, they are not the greatest part of your education. Expressing curiosity about the world and expanding your capacity for understanding and generosity toward others, even if they’ve treated you badly, is a much greater sort of learning that will serve you well in life.

As for “lazy teachers” who don’t like to answer questions, many of my earlier points still apply. Be considerate and empathetic. Professor Kettleburn became rather less enthusiastic about his classes after the loss of several limbs. Teachers do suffer what Muggles refer to as “burn-up” or possibly it’s “burn-out”, In any case, sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do about this except wish them well —with perhaps an early retirement. Of course, you could also challenge yourself to ask questions that are so enticing that even the most reluctant teacher would want to answer. But don’t place undue pressure on yourself. I feel that when school becomes too stressful, the best course is to listen to some chamber music, purchase a new pair of socks, or this time of year, to devour a fresh strawberry tart. Preferably with a large dollop of whipped cream! I believe whipped cream may have as many magical uses as dragon’s blood. It’s just a theory I’m working on at present. More research is needed.

Thank you for your thoughtful question.

Kindest regards,
Albus Dumbledore

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