To a Lecturer From an Anxious Student

One thing I have learned from being at uni that isn’t to do with my subject is that not everyone is as kind as they could be. Some of my lecturers, particularly the guest speakers, seem to forget that we all have our own thoughts and feelings.

To a Lecturer From an Anxious Student

Announcing to your students at the beginning of the lecture that you like to pick on the student you think will be most uncomfortable isn’t funny. Telling your students that there is no such thing as a stupid answer and then making the brave student who raised their hand feel silly for getting the answer wrong isn’t fair. (Yes, he was as you correctly guessed a rugby player but that doesn’t mean speaking in a room of 150 students is easier.)

To the lecturer who said ‘I’ll stare at whoever doesn’t maintain eye contact and make them answer’ that’s not building confidence the way you hope. After you said that I saw at least two quiet students sneak out and several more who didn’t return after the break. You justified this by saying ‘you must build confidence now before going out into the real world and working’ as if all employees are forced to speak in front of hundreds of people daily. Please tell me when a sales assistant or a barista or a hairdresser has to stand up in a lecture hall and speak to 150 colleagues on a regular basis. If you can show me that it is the case then by all means expect each and every student to do the same.

To the lecturer who locked the door at exactly 1pm, meaning any student even a minute late had to knock and draw the attention of the entire room to get in, how did you think a student already having a bad day because they missed their bus or had lost their keys was going to feel? Yes, we all know it is not appropriate to be late but we are all human and have days that don’t go as well as we would have liked. Instead of leaving the door unlocked for a few minutes for the students having bad days to slip in without interrupting I would bet you scared off several.

Most people get nervous for one reason or another. Some people get nervous more than most and find daily life particularly daunting. There are the fears of avoidable things like snakes and big spiders. But not everyone’s fears are so obvious or easily dodged.

Please consider the students who found it hard to leave the safety of their student house where they are surrounded by friends. Please consider the student who may be caring for a sick relative and be a bit late because they had to make them lunch before they could leave for classes. Please consider the student who is terrified of public speaking and picked their modules so that they didn’t need to do presentations. Please consider that not everyone will be as comfortable in your lecture hall as you are.

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