In every department or faculty, there is always that one lecturer a student is afraid of or whom the students see as a nightmare. Tough lecturers can sour the classroom experience of an otherwise interesting and enjoyable course. However, with a little effort, you can improve the situation. Good lecturers can make a class worthwhile. And a bad one can easily ruin it. How can you avoid an unpleasant situation with a lecturer who seems to be tough?

SHOW UP FOR CLASS (AND SHOW UP ON TIME)

Showing your face in class and getting there on time might help you get on the good side of that lecturer you think is bad. Many lecturers actively weed out the not-so-serious students early in the game. If you walk into a lecturer’s office begging for an extension and he or she can’t place your face, you probably won’t get through to them. Also, some lecturers will lock you out if you’re late. Attracting attention to yourself by being the one who’s always interrupting class knocking on the door is not the way you want a difficult lecturer to recognize you.

PARTICIPATE IN CLASS DISCUSSION

The more you participate, the more you and the lecturer will interact. This is another way you can soften up a difficult lecturer. Keeping the conversation going in class will help him or her see you more as a person, not just another student.

ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATION

In order to be a successful student, you will have to take on challenging courses and deal with the demanding lecturers that teach them. To prepare for the years ahead, try to get comfortable with the fact that teachers will expect a lot from you. Before you decide that your lecturer is too tough, examine whether you are being overly sensitive or feeling overwhelmed by your challenging new environment. If so, view this class as an opportunity to adjust to university-level coursework. Remember, you can always seek out tutoring options or extra help from your teaching assistant.

BE PATIENT AND OPEN-MINDED

If it is still the beginning of the semester, give your lecturer some time to open up and ease into things. Some lecturers are hard in the first few weeks in order to command respect from students; however, but with time, they often ease up.

DEDICATE EXTRA STUDY TIME FOR THAT CLASS

If you know that a lecturer is going to make a certain class difficult, study a few more hours than you would normally. It is important to delegate your time outside of class efficiently. It would not make sense to dedicate the same amount of study time to a class you find easy as you would to a class you find challenging. Read far and wide, create practice questions for yourself. Do what it takes to make sure you do not fall behind.

INNOVATE YOUR NOTE TAKING

Note taking is very important. When you have a tough lecturer, you might end up teaching yourself through your notes. If you have a lecturer who is hard to understand, record the class with your phone or a voice recorder so you can listen to it later. Stay organized, highlight key points during the class, and make sure you will be able to understand your notes when you look back on them later.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OFFICE HOURS

Attend your lecturer’s office hours with a thoughtfully prepared question or discussion point. This will show that you are interested in the material and that you want to do well. If you make a habit of stopping in, your lecturer will most likely warm up to you, making for a much easier and smoother classroom experience.

ACT LIKE YOU DESERVE TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY

To lay a good foundation with your lecturers, you need to be a good student. Get to class on time, not 5 minutes late. Pay attention to what is being taught and participate in the discussions. Do not spend lecture time on your phone or playing catch up with other students. Get your work in on time and with all the requirements. Be focused and your lecturer will be likely to notice and take you more seriously. No matter how much your lecturer frustrates you, resist the temptation to react by slacking off. Instead, put a positive spin on the situation by viewing it as an interesting challenge that forces you to perform well. Take thorough notes, participate in class discussions and keep up with homework and studying. This proactive approach will show your teacher that you deserve respect and positive attention.

SEEK HELP FROM YOUR ADVISOR

If you are still having troubled dealing with your lecturer, schedule an appointment with your academic advisor. Your advisor has probably seen students suffer through similar situations, so he or she can suggest some approaches that might work for you. Your advisor may even know your lecturer and have some insider knowledge that can help you make a positive change.

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