Friday, October 29, 2010
Being a student again: a humbling experience:
As a lecturer myself I consider that I am a considerate fair and equitable person when I am dealing with students, in fact it applies to all aspects of my life ; one thing I really don’t appreciate is being taken for a ride.... in other words when students “take the piss” then I come down like a ton of bricks;
As some of you are aware I have commenced another course reaching for new heights..... My aim is still woman and birthing focused..... equality, autonomy and right to refuse treatment; the right for women to choose where to birth and with a midwife.
Being a student in a completely new discipline has been daunting....going from experienced to something completely different, a whole new style and way of thinking....it really is letting go and learning new ways of being....I still have not mastered this... I guess it will take some time; patience is the lesson I need to master;
As I reach the end of the semester (13 weeks) and start to cram for exams, which incidentally I think is the worst way to learn anything.....I really appreciate the way that I interact with the students whom I have been privileged to teach. Most of the lecturers I have encountered over the past 13 weeks have all been inspiring, articulate and passionate, exactly how it should be; however there is always one.....that is challenging. This one is a male.... he takes a tutorial group... he walked into the class.... or I should say he strutted in and said “hello I am Fred and I Fucking swear.... and if you fucking don’t like, there is the fucking door” well I was flabbergasted my jaw hit the floor.... there were students squirming in their seats...myself included. Here is a man who is presumably highly intelligent.... or so I thought, holds down a very important job and I am sure he would not swear in a court room...so I wonder why he would do so in class.....Our assignment was a case study that we would work on and discuss in a tutorial group, this is nothing new similar way of teaching that I have adopted.... I did notice that I used to say to my students “now this is easy, just follow the model as I go through it” of course it seemed so easy to me, as I teach it week in and week out.... with enthusiasm I might add.....when my tutor went through the case study at 100 miles an hour, telling me how easy it was..... the penny dropped for me.... this is exactly what I said to my students.... “I felt like saying of course its “Fucking” easy you teach it week in and week out and you know it, but alas I did not, I sat quietly and decided I would never tell my students how easy something was.... because it’s not me doing it” lesson learned;
The other valuable lesson I have learned is how vulnerable you can feel as a student: I mean I know that this is possible but as a student you want to pass, so therefore you do not want to be to argumentative as marking is so subjective a terrible way to feel and you don’t want a personality clash; if your tutor does not like you, would it affect your mark, theoretically no.... I felt several times when I questioned the tutor’s methods I was quickly reminded who was the student and who was the teacher....how could I forget this? I decided it would be best to grin and bear it.... until the unit was over... then I could have my say! Now we are at week 14 he has become nicer....more considerate for the first year students.... even thoughtful.... it must be the semester is nearly over..... and all I can say is thank God for both of us; this experience has made me reflect more on my own teaching methods and I am ensuring that I am always fair and equitable.