Sheer Genuis?

White, male, aging, crooked teeth, messy hair,...

I’m not quite sure what is it about academics. It could be the hours they spend physically in their offices and their minds in their research, resulting in some form of behaviour disorder. Anyway, I want to share my experience with the lecturer of one of the modules I’m taking for special semester.

Firstly, never have I ever taken a course where I need to download 100+mb of notes per week. Let’s just assume the course is accelerated at twice the rate for special semester, that’s still 50+mb of notes per week. In other words, this is the first time ever I have to stare at the download bar of the browser when I’m downloading notes. In terms of volume, it’s about 7-15 files with varying number of slides. I actually attempted to print out the slides for my first week of class. I usually print 6 slide per hand out, by the time I’m done, I’m more than half way through my print quota, which I hardly touch last semester… (I realised there won’t be any open-book assessment so I don’t know why I was even printing them out…)

I wouldn’t mind so much if she is able to make this sheer volume of knowledge information interesting. Unfortunately, she goes through at a rather fast pace, noted by some of my peers who brought it to her attention. What worries me more however, is her frequent usage of “This is not important”, “I don’t know why this is here” and “I’m not sure what this is“.

So if you’ve gotten so this far, I’m gonna go into some of the really amusing things she do.

So, we students are complaining about the speed and volume of the material given to us. The lecturer being so kind decides to help by letting us know which are the parts we can ignore.  Instead of giving us new files with all the essential information, no no… that would be too easy on us, she did exactly what she said she’d do, tell us which parts we can ignore by releasing dozens of new files with slides we can ignore. I assume we’re supposed to look at these slides then cross-reference with our original slides and say “AHAH! I can ignore these ones!” I don’t know how it ever occured to her the best way for her students to ignore information is to look at them twice.

This is serious, I can't make this up

This is serious, I can't make this up

So to save the best for last, I’d share some of her issues with the instructor’s bench in front of the lecture theatre. The PCs at the instructor’s bench is locked inside a cupboard under the bench so what I understand is the cord of the mouse is probably a little strained to be used freely on the bench surface as mouse cords are never that long. What happened once was the mouse probably slid back into the mess of wiring and such from the PC and she got so distraught that her mouse disappeared. After more than 5 minutes of giggling from the class, someone actually went down to help her “find” her mouse; to which she was probably eternally grateful. She did not want to let it go for the rest of the class, in her own words, she was “afraid it would disappear again“.

But all these is nothing compared to her issues with the LT’s lights. For those who are unfamiliar, on our instructor’s benches in the LTs, there is usually a panel to control the lights; on, off, partial dim, etc. She is convinced, believes in it whole-heartedly, I swear, that the operation of the lights is linked to the IP telephone at the bench which is connected to the technical services. According to her, she needs to pick up the receiver, then put it back for the lights to work. Once she picked up the handset and said something like this: “Oh, I didn’t call for anything, I just need to pick up the phone so that the lights in the LT will work“. What she managed to do today, was actually to off the lights when what she wanted was to dim the front lights but never mind that. She claimed she was afraid the lights would not work later so she left the lights off during the break. As a result, we had people walking around in a dark LT with lots of steps.

This wasn’t intended to be a wall of text rant but I guess I had to let out this mix of amusement and frustration. I’m just glad I’d be SUing the module anyway. I’ve met some bad lecturers over the years but this has to be on a different level surely.

PS: no offense to all the normal academics out there but it really scares me because she gives us her office & home addresses and phone numbers

Yays!

After numerous appeals and emails, admin matters are finally settled. Out of my 3 years of experience in getting modules, this has been the most stressful. I was talking to Shuting about it today and it made me come to the conclusion that they are rather unfriendly and unsympathetic. Things only got settled after I explained my situation to the lecturer who probably stepped out to do something about it. I’m grateful because some lecturers don’t bother.

What happened reminded me of what Subby once casually said: “sometimes, we just need something to push us along”. My church has been seeking for people to teach the younger generation about the faith. Quite a number of times I actually thought about it but didn’t set my heart to it. In that desperate moment, I told God that if I get the class I wanted, I would teach after I grad. Looks like I can’t escape now. He works in strange ways. That’ll probably help me know my faith better. Something that I wanted to do but always procrastinating.