Are you that person?

Do you talk in your tutorials or answer questions in lectures? Judging from my recent experience across Sociology, Spanish and other Arts subjects I would say the overwhelming response would be no. I seem to have taken on the role of *irritating* mature age student who isn’t afraid to put her hand up and answer. I never thought I would be that person but my logic is thus:

– after two degrees I no longer care what people think of me, I firmly believe that a dumb answer is still an answer!

– you learn if you get the answer right and also on a deeper level if you get it wrong, but no-one would have learnt anything if you hadn’t put your thoughts out into the open. Everybody wins!

– All the tutors/lecturers want is participation and to engage their audience. They don’t care if you get it wrong.

After five seconds of other students avoiding eye contact with the teacher, my hand is forced to raise itself. I have to say something, even if idiotic, to save us all from a painfully awkward silence akin to death. I feel like I am doing some good in the world when the tutor isn’t left facing a room of 15 people and all you can hear are crickets.

I used to feel like I would get it wrong and be publicly humiliated, which only happened once in a room of 600 people. I had emailed my Chemistry lecturer about a simple question the previous week and she felt like she needed to share and laugh about it with the entire student cohort. Cheers.

Confidence broken, that terrifying experience made me feel so ashamed that I never wanted to ask another question again. However, after working with students and learning about how to give constructive feedback I can only say that experience was misuse of teaching power and it should have been handled differently.

Since then it has become much easier to call attention to my ideas in class and I try to answer at least one question every session. Eventually you learn that that no-one really cares if you get it wrong, they are all far too consumed with their own insecurities than to worry about yours. So I say, why not answer a question in your next tutorial? You might even become that person.

One thought on “Are you that person?

  1. I love this!! Well done for speaking up, asking questions and getting involved. Everyone should give it a try!

    And I’m really sorry about what happened in response to your email to a tutor a little while back – good for you for not letting it change your spirit!

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