Are you really a LECTURER?

It seems like a trend now. Graduates with Masters to apply for lecturing job. I am not sure what they have in mind while applying. Maybe they think that this is the easiest task in the world? I admit that this job gives you room of flexibility so you are not always tied up with fix schedule of 8-5 or 9-6 like working in an ordinary office. 

University, Lecture, Campus, Education

Nevertheless, are you also ready and brave enough to face the music in the education industry? It would be fine if the music played is Beethoven's or Mozart's or any other instrumental piece which sometimes serve as lullaby to our ears. But I am talking about the hours of preparation as a lecturer for lectures and tutorials... Hours. 

It irked me when a lecturer can't deliver his or her lecture in class even after being in the industry for so many years. Surely you should have learnt something along the way or else, what are you doing here??? Be truthful to yourself. Maybe also do yourself and the audience (students) a favour, question yourself.. always. Am I a lecturer or just a TV news broadcaster?

Microphone, Mic, Mike, Voice, Audio

There is nothing in this world that can't be improved. When I was in my early years of being a lecturer, I had never heard of the word pedagogy #hardtruth. In fact, when I heard it for the first time, I thought they were talking about a new fossil of dinosaurs that had recently been discovered. Well, who ask them to give it such a unique name... pedagogy. See, nothing in the word 'pedagogy' that resembles teaching, or even education in it. 

While LCD was not common nor was it in every classes like the present, the whiteboard was our saviour. I jumped from being a mere undergraduate student to a lecturer at the age of 24. Well, I was usually a backbencher when I was a student (yeah... student being student) and out of a sudden, I am now standing in front, being the centre of attention for hundreds pairs of eyes. Oh my! 

But even in my first class, that introduced me to this education business, I delivered a lecture. And did not read from the slides. I remember I had around 2 weeks to prepare for my first class and boy, did I REALLY prepare... I did not want to be a laughing stock and of course, it was a responsibility assigned to me so I would like to discharge it perfectly.

During that time, I had to teach law to non-law students. They initially thought, plaintiff... is just another word for kuih lapis, hahaha. Ok, I am kidding. But yeah... it was their first time learning law anyway. Whiteboard was my best friend. So many scribbles and drawings on the board for me to explain the sections and cases. I always felt satisfied when they finally understood about a case.

White Board, Startup, Start-Up

Let me tell you something about myself. I was not an active and outspoken student. The only time you can see me standing in front of my classmates would be during presentations. Which I dreaded much. Public speaking made me go haywire, and it would usually started a week before the date of the presentation. I admit, I do not have oratory skills back then. You can ask all my classmates. They will tell you that I was just an ordinary student, reserved and quiet, a good girl, very hardworking and determined... Ok, I got carried away, hahaha. The point is, I was not a vocal student with only 0.244% of oratory skills. 

Back to history, at the age of 24, standing in front of students who are sometimes older than me, of course, shivers ran into my spine... everytime. But, to overcome this, I worked hard to prepare for every lecture and tutorial. Come on... you are teaching someone else, don't look dumb in front of them... pardon my language! 

I would and will always be ready for my lecture. Throughout the years of being a lecturer I think I had taught more than 20 subjects and yes... some of the subjects are those that I am not familiar with. This should not be an excuse. You must always find ways to improve and prepare before each lecture. Read, and ask the seniors. Get the ball rolling if you want to complete the task given to you. 
Gentle reminder: The task is a responsibility which will be questioned in the life hereafter. 

I had some experiences sitting as panels interviewing new lecturers before. Oh emm geee... some of them looked like they were lost in the city. Qualification wise... yes of course, no objection there. Many are better than me but they just COULD NOT TEACH! Reading from the slides, word by word, slides after slides... and mind you I was interviewing lecturers for law subjects... You would have thought that law graduates have oratory skills embedded in them right?

That happened years ago, but recently a friend of mine who is trying to find a Law Lecturer for her college was also perplexed because out of the 12 candidates that came for the interview, 12 were rejected. Yeah, you read that right. ALL were rejected. Main reason? All candidates were reading from the slides and some of them even drove the panels to go into deep sleep... during interview. 

I served as a Coordinator once and I received complaints from students regarding this particular lecturer under my supervision, but I turned a deaf ear. I rarely listened to complaints from students. And also the fact that the lecturer was new and yeah... young too. To me, she should be given the chance to prove herself. So I ignored this situation. Until one day, I received a call from another Coordinator reporting the obvious about her. Well, I could not jeopardize the name of our Department. I had to do something. 

Auditorium, Classroom, Lecture

It took me 3 days to think about what actions should be taken. Frankly speaking, I do not like to reprimand people, especially when we are working together. That's just not my style. After thinking thoroughly, I decided to call that lecturer and ask. I wanted to get the other side of the story. As a leader, you have to listen to both sides right? So, the lecturer admitted that the subject was new and was not enthusiastic at all to teach the subject because it was a dry subject. By that reason, the lecturer told me the subject was hated by the lecturer, and the students. 

I had to agree. The subject in question was indeed a very dry and boring subject but then you were the educator, you have to do something to spark the interest among your audience. So I offered to be in that class and deliver a lecture on one of the topics taught. I told that lecturer to observe my teaching and my interactions with students which I made it a point to her... I only learned through my years of experience as a lecturer. Yeah, I had never been in any pedagogy or dinosaur-like class. Experience was my teacher in teaching.

I sincerely hope that lecturer had picked up a point or two after sitting in my lecture. I heard after that from the students that this particular lecturer had really improved. Always prepared with examples to illustrate in class and no longer sitting behind the desk reading the textbooks, like how the classes were conducted before.

Lecture, Lecturer, Man, Profession, Work

You see, I know there are lecturers who had been in the education industry for years and still read from the slides. This kind of lecturers are usually the same lecturers who would not take questions from the students. I am not sure why though. Are they afraid that they will be looked down if they can't provide an answer. Come on... Nobody knows everything in this world. I had times where I couldn't answer questions from students too. Just be diplomatic. Tell them you are not really sure at the moment but you will try to ask around and will be back with an answer. It's a bonus for you too... You are also learning some new points. Don't let arrogance ruin your life-long learning process. Please.

After reading this post, if you are holding the capacity of being a lecturer, ask yourself. Who knows yourself better than you. If you are still reading from the slides, find ways to improve. Especially on the oratory skills. There is a reason why Microsoft Power Point is named as such. So that only the points are stated on the slides. They would have name it Microsoft Power News if they had the intention for it to be read like a news reading by the person presenting while using it.

Lion, Wild, Africa, African, Felines

As for me, I would rather be known and remember as 'THE LECTURER WHO RESEMBLES A LION' but a good educator rather than 'THE LECTURER WHO IS CONFUSED WHETHER HE/ SHE IS A LECTURER OR A TV NEWS BROADCASTER. Or in simple words, THE LECTURER WHO COULD NOT TEACH. Sorry, but I don't stand to be corrected on this

Read The Art of Teaching

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