The 5 Best Types of Lecturers To Meet At University (And How To Survive Them)

Today’s post was inspired both by the amazing lecturers who have guided me these five years, and by a link shared on facebook. A friend of mine posted a blog, which explained the five worst types of lectures.

I know; how dare he cheat on me with another blog.

Anyway, as I read it, I had to agree that some lectures can be dull and tedious to attend, especially if I’ve travelled two hours just for that one hour. But the lecturers themselves are usually worth coming in for. At my university, I have five wonderful lecturers who deserve more praise than they get. I obviously can not name names in the interest of privacy, but I’d hope if they read this, they’d know how I see them. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that they are part of their own tropes, which all universities will have. So, my dear readers, here are the top five types of lecturer you’ll meet at university, and some tips on how to stay ahead of them.

1. The Inspiration

This lecturer is the one everyone raved about when you started. They’re fun, they’re funny, and they make you want to learn. 10am starts used to be torture; now you wake up with carpe diem in mind. They know everything and everyone, and a part of you really wants to be like them. They’re passionate about what they do, and better yet, they’re passionate about what you do. Because of them, you’ve gained so many more areas of your field that fascinate you, and they are more than happy to help you devour all you can.

Of course, passion rarely has direction, and pretty soon you’re swamped. They always have something you must watch, and must see, and they’re always right about that. This kind of lecturer inspires you to pursue what you want, and often that is not beneficial to your bank account.

If you have an Inspiration, try to get them on some one-to-one time to discuss your assignments. Ask them directly for recommended sources, and search online for free copies before you race to Amazon. If you’re struggling with the direction of your essay, have a plan ready and seek the advice of your peers.

2. The Feedback Expert

This is the one who will spend hours on your work writing comments on the side. It doesn’t matter that they run one of the largest modules; every student matters, and every student will get a detailed breakdown of their work. It’s exciting to see what an expert thinks of the piece you spent two weeks on. Part of you is already guessing which bits they’ll love. Getting work back from them is like being rewarded for the hours you slaved over the assignment.

Of course, that kind of attention to detail means work can sometimes be delayed. And by sometimes, that means most of the time. The tailored response to your work is no simple feat, and unfortunately, that means every little detail will be noticed. A misplaced comma, an unitalicised title, a rogue reference; nothing will escape their critical eye. This often means that beautiful piece you crafted on Coleridge, Freud or Contract Law will be smeared on every page with corrections.

It’s easy to let that get you down, but it’s important you don’t. This lecturer is not your enemy. In a way, their meticulous nature is your best friend. Now you know what to look out for, where you’re slipping and how you can address these issues. It’s nothing another editing session won’t fix, or asking a friend to be a fresh pair of eyes. At the end of your degree, you’ll be thanking them. It’s better they be honest than to let you not achieve the best that you can.

3. The Tough Marker

Their classes are hard, and they know it. They expect you to work hard for your grade, and they know you will. Weirdly, the Tough Marker is rarely the hardened warden that TV led us to believe would be teaching us. They’re perfectly human, and happy to help the students who want to learn. What they ask for is simple; they want perfection. And luckily for you, they’ve made it totally accessible if you’ve been coming to class. They know how to motivate you to learn, and in the end that’s what you need. You’ll grow to love their work ethic, and it’ll come second nature in no time. If you work hard enough, they’ll always have your corner. University is hard work. They just won’t let you forget that.

Your first bad grade is always heart breaking. Maybe you weren’t expecting such a low score, or maybe you didn’t expect to have to try so hard. Either way, one gut-wrenching experience can be more than enough for some people. It’s easily to quit after your first 2:2. It’s not the Tough Marker’s fault. They want you to pass and pass well. They’ve set the guidelines for you specifically so you do.

It’s always worth asking in those cases what you can do the next essay to improve. You lecturers are there to help you. No one is trying to stop you from reaching your goals. It’s their job to enable you. Readdress the marking criteria and see where you went wrong, and try to attend every class. Actually doing the work can do wonders for your grade! Your lecturer is a lovely person, even if you don’t like the grades they give you. At the end of the day, it’s their job to push you.

4. The Honest One

You thought your last piece of work was okay. Maybe you’re biased. You probably are. But if you have an Honest Lecturer, use them. Sometimes they can be too frank, but you learn to love that about them. Whether it’s creative writing, your personal statement, or just a proposal for your dissertation, they will give you an opinion you can work with. Their feedback is always useful, and they’re just so genuine that it’s easy to forget they’re a lecturer. They’re just like a friend; a very frank, very honest friend.

Honesty doesn’t work with all people. Some need the sugar-coating. If that’s you, there is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes, an Honest Lecturer will hurt your feelings. It’s not something anyone means to do, but it can happen. In those cases, it can feel like they don’t like you. That’s not true. A lecturer should, and most often do, care about their students.

If you’re not a fan of frankness, consult a different lecturer. There’s a departmental team for a reason. Talk to someone else and get their take on your work. If they have the time, they’ll give it to you. No one will hold it against you.

5. The Lifeguard Lecturer

This is the one that you always turn to in moments of panic or doubt. Whether it’s a source you can’t find, or a lecture note you just can’t wrap your head around, the Lifeguard Lecturer is there with words of wisdom and maybe even a dictionary. They’re always willing to help, and they always have something that can aid you. They know when you’re in trouble, and they always know how to save you.

Everyone has a Lifeguard Lecturer. The problem comes when there’s only one to go around. It can be easy to feel ignored, and sometimes you may feel like you’re drowning under all the work that needs to be done, with no lifeguard in sight. It’s okay to ask. Ask, and you shall receive.

Everyone needs a Lifeguard, but who says it needs to be a lecturer. Again, there’s nothing wrong with setting up a support group. Having friends to help you out is vital, and it’s something I’d recommend. Who needs a lifeguard when you’re all in the same boat? Sharing is caring, my friends

And so, dear readers, we reach the end of another blog post. My 30th! Thank you for reading. I did try to mimic the style of those 5 types lists I read so often.

As per usual, we have my final questions!

What kind of lecturers have you had in your life?

Are there any who have inspired you even now?

Let me know your thoughts!


About Stephanie Gallon

I'm an author, a blogger, and a zealot of all things written. I work as an English teacher in England, and have a PGCE PCET, a distinction in MA English studies and first class honours in BA English and Creative Writing. I have more degrees than friends
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