Posted by: Ibrahim | 16/05/2010

The Prophecy

If you think getting on the Dean’s List is merely hard works, you’re partially deceived. In academic performance, it’s more than that. And we know it very well that this is the top secret of everything! Although some of us want to take this as an opinion, we still can’t deny it that  it’s an accepted fact that our lecturers are the paramount oracle of our future. By saying future, am referring to our ‘final result’.

Thus, to be saved and secured in every semester, the so-called intellect among us will be performing a ritual. It starts with listing down all of the lecturers who will be teaching the particular subject. Then continues with analysis on the list. And it concludes with the selection of one reliable sample, based on the good reports received from seniors and the personal experiences (academically, mind you) that they had in prior semesters.

If the lecturers are very new, we just have no choice, except to embrace what fate has decided for us. Hard work does play it part here, but looking smart and being smart (and unnecessarily friendly) are sometimes beneficial too. Throughout observations, these new lecturers have the same individual pattern.. their assessment is coherent with their personality. If they look lenient, their marking is also lenient, and vice versa.

Compare to old lecturers, you’ll have a very surprising twisted ending. Their motherly/fatherly appearance, their wide smile and subtle gestures do not foreshadow their actual marking agenda. And sometimes, they can be lenient in one subject, but they’re very strict in the other subject. You can simply fall in the trap. The good thing is, you have the chance to know the old lecturers long enough that make your decision to take or not to take them as valid.

However, there are exceptional cases where it’s either do or die, or metaphorically described as ‘between the Devil and the deep blue sea’. It is when all of these unfavoured lecturers are placed to teach the same subject.  If we pick any of them, we have to face the hard facts that this subject will  bring the CGPA down, most definitely. If we don’t attend their class, surely we are going to fail. And smart people don’t fail. They take chances.

On my behalf as a half smart-and-half idiot person, I don’t mind having a strict lecturer who knows what they are doing. I mean, if they can specifically explain to us why we can’t get full marks it should be fine. I detest it when all of a sudden you get low marks wihout getting any feedbacks while all of your other friends who are with different lecturers can simply gain A without additional, irrelevant and extra burden efforts! While you’re anxious to know whether you pass the paper or not, your friends are smiling all the way throughout the semester break.

I personally take this incident as an insight to define my teaching philosophy. When I become a teacher or lecturer (ahem) soon, I’ll be lenient with my evaluation. Putting too much expectations on students, while you don’t really teach them how to achieve the goals are ridiculous either. There’s a line between being lenient and lazy, mind you. By simply give marks are not genuine – they need feedback so that they can develop. If they really deserve it, I think there’s nothing wrong to make them happy.

p.s. the title and picture of this entry are taken from a novel by Chris Kuzneski (2009).



  1. this is so true!

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