I’m not an official academic, I have an honorary contract with the University of Bighospital that means I get an extra badge and a ridiculously grand sounding extra title of “honorary lecturer” when in fact all it means is that I give lectures and teaching for free.
I do a lot of teaching as I enjoy it and I like talking to young and enthusiastic students. What gets me down is the few who don’t give a shit and think that they are funny and clever because of it.
I was lecturing last week, a whole year group, sitting in the very lecture theatre where I too was a student. Ninety percent of them were listening I think, hard to tell when all you see is 180 glowing apple symbols from the back of their MacBooks. (I know, students nowadays, they have no idea. I got the bus and used a pen and a notepad).
There were a few visibily bored, tired and yawning and a few who were determined to talk and disrupt their neighbours. I had spent many hours on this talk and I had come in on a day off to give it. I had tried to make it interesting and intermittently funny. It is not my job to do this, I volunteered because the university are so desperate for lecturers and I like it and of course it looks good on my cv.
The talking students really annoyed me, in fact they made me feel small and silly. When I was a student I was constantly chatting to my friends and if mobile phones had been around I probably would have been messing about on snapshagger or whatever they are on.
They have no idea that I am an unpaid lecturer, no idea I have spent hours preparing this in my own free time and they also don’t care. I wish I wasn’t so upset by their disregard but I am. Maybe I will get used to it, I’ll have to as my teaching schedule is ridiculously heavy this year.
All they have succeeded in doing is turning me into a reserved and disinterested lecturer who no longer will try and make my talks engaging or fun, because rejecting the dry facts and talking through that doesn’t hurt me at all.
It’s going to be a long year…