Graduating from JC or Poly? Having family or friends enrolling in local universities? Considering Singapore as a university exchange destination? No matter which of the above you belong to, you would be interested in knowing how tertiary education in Singapore is taught. To understand that, it would be important to familiarise yourself with the different types of university lecturers that you would encounter. To assist you, here is a breakdown:
Goes through everything at the speed of light. Regardless of the subtle look of struggle on your face or outright protest, the Flash is only determined to deliver his content and finish the lecture on time or early. Some Flashes might be considerate of us mortals at times and slow down upon request, however, they cannot hide their true natures and would revert to their original forms in no time. (You will not be complaining if the lecture is before lunchtime though, the crowd is crazy from 12pm to 2pm. So, run to the canteens or eateries at the speed of light ;))
With the Pokemon Go fever in Singapore (albeit dying down), I have to introduce to you a fairly common ‘Pokemon’ in universities (and schools), the Slowpoke. Looking at the previous point, I am sure most of you can predict the nature of this real-life anime character. Yes, the Slowpoke teaches at such a slow pace that it seems like he does not want to finish. The factors that contribute to this can be anything and everything. Some examples include unnecessary recaps and introduction at the beginning of every session, unnecessary stories and content that are out of syllabus, and unnecessary pauses for responses for unnecessary jokes that are not funny at all. The Slowpokes are the root cause of late breaks and extra lessons.
Expresses his stand very clearly, implicitly or explicitly, either in the beginning or throughout the semester; and that stand is “teaching is only part of my obligation, please do not bother me at all as I will be busy with research.” As you can probably guess, the “Teaching-is-not-my-job” will not be interested in entertaining your pleas for help if you encounter any difficulties in your assignments. Your next question would likely be “what should I do then?”, well, this is the time to put your socialising skills to work. Make friends, form study groups and request for help from seniors.
Those of you who are proficient in mandarin would have realised that this is a direct translation from a Chinese idiom. For our non-mandarin speaking friends, let me illustrate. The “Knife-hidden-in-the-smile” are the really nice lecturers you meet; they seldom flare up, gives encouraging smiles and comments, and welcome questions with patience. However, the chance of you getting an A is like winning the lottery, even though the only negative comment you received was “maybe wearing a buttoned shirt would be better”. Do not get me wrong though, they might really be nice people, just that their expectations are not as nice (higher).
The most enjoyable lectures you will ever have, where every session is a stand-up comedy. The Joker is funny, full of jokes and puns, and makes boring lecture content bearable. You are welcomed to laugh, enjoy and take part in the ‘show’, but do not take the Joker’s good humour for granted. He is still the highest authority within the four walls and warrants the respect he deserves. With the Joker’s normal pleasant deposition, you can imagine the impact of his wrath if you happen to incur it. So, don’t try this at home (school).
It seems as though all the above are lacking in some way or another, but worry not! There is still hope and reason for you to attend university. May I introduce to you, the Parent! The Parent is a great teacher and well, parent. They are clear in their explanations, patient in answering queries, and sides with the students most of the time. The second most enjoyable lectures you will ever have, where the Parent radiates compassion as if you were his own child. Do not be too quick to judge though, some Parents may not reveal their identities in the beginning, but you will be pleasantly surprised in time.
For all you university students or students-to-be, it is only a matter of time that you experience your own share of diverse lecturers. This list is not exhaustive nor proportionate, hence attend every lecture with an open mind. Do not fear or worry too, because the main determinant of your university life is still yourself. So work hard and play hard, and you will be on the right side of the bell curve!
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