Since I was an undergraduate I have been a tutor many times, either a drop-in tutor or a private tutor. However, somehow these students politely turned away from me for reasons I do not know. In all conscience, I am very meticulous in preparing lecture notes and every class. I thus am tempted to think that if it is possible that I just have no that kind of teaching charisma.

Is it still possible for me to become a professor?

Please first let alone the other various necessary conditions for becoming a professor.

  • I am not sure what you mean by "drop-in tutor". Would you please give a brief explanation?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 4:10
  • Oh, by "drop-in tutor" is meant just a short-term one-to-one private teacher.
    – Yes
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 4:11
  • 2
    I am really confused by the question. What does it mean to "insist on becoming a professor"? Do you mean, to yourself? Second, you are asking for counterexamples to the claim that you do not have teaching charisma?!? I don't see how people on the internet could possibly answer that question. Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 4:14
  • Thank you. I am just editing my question so that it is more readable. Is it?
    – Yes
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 4:16
  • 1
    @scaaahu Many schools have rooms where students can "drop in" for tutoring without an appointment. Students who have been hired by the school for this purpose wait in this room to offer their tutoring services to any of their peers who might stop by.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


There are many possible interpretations of why the students turned away from you. You should not jump to the conclusion that you are bad at teaching. For example, it is possible, judging from the information you gave in the comment, that the students simply did not wish to have a tutor, despite the good intention of the parents who hired you. This is especially common in certain East Asian countries where competition for educational resources are fierce. Moreover, depending on the type of students you tutor, your experience may not speak to your potential as a professor at all. After all, the academic need of a high school student is quite different from that of a college and graduate student. Your teaching style may work well for college students, but not so much for the high school ones.

Finally, even if teaching is not your strongest suit, the experience you gain as you finish grad school and post-doc should help you build the necessary skills (yes, teaching can be an acquired skill, not just an innate charisma). So depending on where you are along your education, there may still be time for improvement. Also, depending on the type of university you work in, the relative importance of research and teaching can vary considerably. So even if everything else fails, working in a research-oriented university should help a bit with the problem.


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