Lecturers — they can be the bane of your existence or a close confidante. But what really goes on behind that intimidating glare, severe disposition and quiet judgement?
In this article, we’re revealing 8 things lecturers wish they could tell their students but probably never will. Prepare to be surprised.
#1. They’re normal human beings
You might view your lecturers as dispassionate creatures that exist solely from 9am to 5pm. After all, it’s easy to forget that they have actual lives outside the classroom. However, this is far from the case.
In truth, they are parents, siblings and allies who can empathise with the struggles you might be facing outside the classroom. Remembering that they are just like the rest of us will allow you to communicate more openly with them, especially if you’re having a hard time at university.
#2. They’re easier to impress than you think
It doesn’t take rocket science to get into your lecturer’s good books.
The first step? Be punctual to lectures. During classes, choose a seat that’s in their line of sight (and not some dark corner at the back), ask relevant questions and participate in discussions. Getting involved throughout the semester shows a genuine interest in learning and may even boost your overall marks.
Whatever you do, don’t go overboard with flattery. Nobody likes suck-ups and lecturers can spot them a mile away.
#3. They remember what it’s like to be a student
It might feel as if your lecturers have skipped the first 30 years of their youth and landed on earth as adults, destined to suck the fun out of everything. However, they were once students too — and you can bet that they remember it!
Envisioning your Statistics tutor as a 20-year-old college student might be a harrowing experience in itself, but they probably know what it’s like to juggle 5 other classes, struggle through an 8am lecture after 3 consecutive late nights and attempt (and even fail) to keep up their grades!
But no matter how gruelling their journeys were, they made it through alive and expect you to put in the work so that you do the same.
#4. They don’t bite
Don’t let your lecturer’s tough demeanour keep you from utilising those coveted consultation hours or simply approaching them for a chat. You’ll find that even the toughest of cookies are far more approachable when they aren’t trying to keep 200 restless teenagers engaged throughout a 2-hour lecture.
Although building rapport with your lecturers is often misconstrued as brown-nosing, you’ll find that it is easier to ask questions, come clean about problems you’re facing and cite them as a reference in your curriculum vitae (CV) once you’ve established a good relationship.
#5. Asking questions is helpful
Are you that one person who’s dying to ask a question at the end of the class but don’t want to risk looking like an idiot in front of all your classmates? Just let it out! It’s actually incredibly helpful to lecturers when students ask questions as it makes them aware of what it is you don’t understand.
However, it’s important that you first attempt to solve the problem on your own before you give up and resort to asking your lecturer for help. If you hit a stumbling block in any of your lessons, try spending 15 minutes working it out on your own and documenting all the solutions that you’ve tried. Not only does this show initiative, but it also reveals exactly what it is that you need to know.
#6. Grades are not a mark of intelligence
A First Class Honours looks great on a CV, but it’s been proven that grades are only one measure of intelligence as they merely reward the final outcome and fail to take into account more important qualities such as consistent effort and hard work.
As a result, you may find students who display exemplary traits but aren’t top scorers and are therefore deprived of the recognition they deserve. Nonetheless, you can bet that your lecturers are incredibly perceptive and are able to suss out those who are set up for success and those who will probably miss the mark.
#7. There’s more to life than what’s in your textbooks
Yep, you read right.
Throughout your stint at university, your studies may seem like the be-all and end-all — but there’s a whole world beyond your campus walls. Now, we’re not trying to undermine the importance of obtaining a formal qualification, but the endless pursuit of good grades may cause you to lose sight of life’s more important lessons.
Trust us — in the grand scheme of things, your grades play a secondary role. Having to navigate the big, bad world upon graduating will expose you to the importance of underrated values such as being a team player, having a diverse skill set and being compassionate towards those around you.
#8. They’re on your side
Are you convinced that your Economics lecturer is out to get you? Can’t shake off the feeling that your Business tutor is doing everything in their power to fail you?
We know — it’s hard to believe your lecturers could possibly be rooting for you when they heap on impossible deadlines and exams, most of which can only be described as near-death experiences. But most educators will tell you that the greatest satisfaction they get from teaching is celebrating their students’ successes — no matter how big or small.
The tough love you’re receiving is meant to prepare you for the relentless demands your future profession may entail. So while your lecturers are going to do everything in their power to help you, they sure aren’t going to do it by handing everything to you on a silver platter.
We can’t speak for all lecturers but these little revelations hold true for most. So the next time you see your Physics lecturer walking down the hallway, stop for a second and wave hello instead of turning the other way. Or if you’re feeling bold, invite them to enjoy a meal with you. You probably have more in common than you think!