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Here’s How to Deal With a Bad Lecturer at Uni

There’s nothing worse than having a bad lecturer. You’re expected to do reading but feel like you know more about the subject than the teacher. You write thousands of words in essays that never seem to get marked and you’re generally learning nothing. You can practically feel every penny that you’ve spent on this course going down the drain.

But it doesn't have to be this way; here's how you can deal with a bad lecturer with this five point plan.

1. Do all the prep

First of all, you might have to ask yourself a few uncomfortable questions. For example, are you doing enough prep? Or are you turning up to the lectures and relying on the lecturer to fill you in?

While most lecturers will try and teach in a way that ensures all students learn something, some will need you to read everything beforehand, do weekly prep and generally keep up along the way. It’s a tough way of teaching, but sometimes they can’t do it any other way due to time restrictions.

So if you aren’t doing your prep or you’re behind on reading, try and catch up before moving onto the next stage…

2. Keep Notes

So you’ve done all the reading and you’re still struggling to understand the lectures? Then it’s time to start taking notes, and we don’t mean the kind that help you pass exams (although obviously make those too)!

Over several lectures, make notes about things that are affecting your learning. Is the lecturer too quiet? Do they brush over important details? Are they going off on tangents rather than teaching? Or are some topics simply covered better than others?

If you find that it’s just some elements of the course that aren’t being taught as well as others, it might be worth asking another lecturer/student to explain it to you instead.

However, if you’re finding issues with every lecture – no matter what the topic – it’s time to take action.

3. See if anyone else feels the same

If the lecturer is bad, chances are that the other students around you may be feeling the same. When you raise your complaint it might be listened to quicker and taken more seriously if other people are backing you up.

So talk to friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, ex-students and yes, the strangers around you (although preferably away from the lecture hall), and see how they’re feeling and whether they’d like to complain with you.

4. Talk it out

If you get along with your lecturer/are really brave, you could try talking to the lecturer in person about the issue. Don’t play the blame game or tell them how horrifically awful they are at teaching (even if you’re thinking it), but simply explain the elements where people are struggling and talk about how it could be resolved.

If you want to resolve the issue without going directly to your lecturer, then send a formal letter or arrange a meeting with your heads of department/course co-ordinator/general university big cheese. Tell them the problems, highlight how important the course is to you and ask them to resolve the situation.

5. Going a step further

If you get no response or no at action from your heads of department, it’s worth going to your students’ union for advice.

They’re there to help you, fight for your rights and generally back you up so you can have the best and most educational experience as possible. They’ll be able to open doors that might be locked for you, get help from outside organisations and generally get things moving so your bad lecturer experience can be more short-term than whole term.

Related Reading:

- What to Do if You End Up Hating Your Postgraduate Course

- The Differences Between a BA, an MA, and a PhD


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