Encountering a situation where a lecturer expresses his or her disappointment and discontent when students choose to pour out their frustrations on the said lecturer on social media is not alien to any of us. At some point of our lives on campus, it is most definite that we will face this moment. Now the issue is, is this approach helpful?
This article is not about defending lecturers but more on protecting students especially the ‘innocent’ ones from the unnecessary tension between lecturers and students in the class.
It is undeniable that certain actions, rules or demands from a few of the academic staffs can be considered unreasonable or unacceptable in at least one person’s opinion. There is nothing wrong for a student to have expectations on their lecturers to be professional.
Whether or not the conduct of the lecturer is ethical, professional, acceptable or reasonable is not the dispute here. As mentioned earlier, a minority of the class may see it as unreasonable but the majority may not think that way, this works the other way around too. The gist is that an individual chain of thought and perception is very subjective and unpredictable which is why the conduct of the lecturer is not an issue.
The main mistake students who adopted this approach were to simply view this act as a subtle way of venting their frustrations. Well, need not be reminded that a small overlook of the mistake can lead to a major catastrophe. Most of our lecturers are on social media, in some way, news travel fast and eventually such post will definitely come to their attention. It is unquestionable that they will be dissatisfied and displeased. The natural effect would be that the lecturer will mention about such a post in class especially when the post was made in an anonymous status.
Fear of stepping up may hold many students back...
No doubt lecturers have to remain professional and shouldn't allow their emotions to interfere with their task as an educator. But do consider the fact that they are also human beings like us with feeling and emotions.
Why be so ignorant and implicate the other students in the class who had nothing to do with such irresponsible act?
Why would anyone want to waste everybody’s time in the class with an issue that can be solved with a more educated and rational manner?
If truly so, certain conducts of the lecturer are deemed not ethical or unprofessional. Dissatisfied students can always take another route to solving this effectively. Firstly, most lecturers always exclaim in class that if any students are not agreeable with how the lecturer run the class, they are advised to meet the lecturer face to face and express his or her views. This would usually be the best method.
However, fear of stepping up may hold many students back. The alternative to this method, if many students in the class felt the same as the initiator, it would be better to select one or a few representatives who are confident, rational and calm to represent the dissatisfied group of students to meet the lecturer personally. This must be executed rationally and respectfully. The lecturer may either accept the constructive criticism and change for the better or explain and justify his or her actions to the representatives in order to understand why he or she did so.
If the first method is impossible to be executed, there’s another method. The institution will conduct online evaluations, especially for academic staffs. This platform is the best opportunity for students to express their concerns and dissatisfactions while providing suggestions to their respective lecturers. What’s more, the identities of students are confidential. Students can take their time and put their doubts in writing. The difference between posting on social media and putting it on the online evaluation is that it will actually make a difference and avoid unnecessary tension when you submit an evaluation.
Bringing a 3rd party’s attention into the matter is not recommendable as many lecturers prefer if any discontent is kept internal. However so, a 3rd party interference will be necessary if things get out of control but that would be a different story for a different time.
In short, if any students are unappeased with a lecturer’s policy or conduct, it is the student’s responsibility to communicate such issue properly with respect to the educator. If a foolish and ignorant option is taken, the unwanted effect would affect the whole classroom and will not bring the issue any closer to being solved.