Lecturers: what they say vs what they actually mean

August 17, 2016
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Lecturers can be a confusing bunch and not just because they think it’s totally acceptable to talk to people before 11am. A lot of the time they’ll say one thing that actually ends up meaning something completely different.

Here are a few phrases to help you learn how to speak fluent gibberish.

What they say: “Lectures for this unit will not be recorded.”

What they mean: “You’re actually locked in here with me!”

Just like that, the happiness drained from the lecture theatre like my unit evaluations after not recording this lecture.

What they say: “Good morning everyone, welcome to [insert unit here]”

What they mean: “I can’t believe they stuck me with an 8am lecture spot… don’t worry everyone, I feel your pain.”

For the two of you who turned up, content will be light and coffee will be heavy.

What they say: “The readings for this week are…”

What they mean: “I know you tuned out 10 minutes ago but this stuff is still examinable.”

I bet half of you don’t even have the textbook.

What they say: “Does anyone have any questions about today’s lecture?”

What they mean: “If anyone says a word my response will eat into your next class I swear.”

Seriously, the lecturer has already been talking for two hours and subtle detentions probably aren’t beyond them at this point.

What they say: “Oh, I’ll just fix these slides up real quick”

What they mean: “Here, let me demonstrate how I’ve never used PowerPoint in my life.”

This is when shit gets real and old mate’s really struggling. Feel free to look away in awkward embarrassment. Or not.

What they say: “There’s a minimum attendance rate for your tutorials this semester.”

What they mean: “If I don’t get to skip, you don’t get to skip.”

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the bitterest lecturer of them all?

What they say: “Everyone get in groups and discuss the content on these lecture slides.”

What they mean: “Please do your own thing whilst I chug this water and have a sit down real quick.”

Seriously, your lecturer’s face is legitimately almost on fire from the stage lighting and they have no idea how to operate the light panel.

What they say: “Questions like these are similar to what you might expect to find in the exam at the end of the semester.”

What they mean: “This question will definitely be in the exam at the end of the semester.”

You don’t even need to hit up the mock exam papers if you get what I’m sayin’. Bless your (not so) subtle lecturer.

What they say: “I expect to see a level of specificity and engagement with the readings in your response.”

What they mean: “You get a C, you get a C, everybody gets a C!”

If you can’t C what I’m getting at then all hope is lost.

What they say: “From memory, the exam…”

What they mean: “The exam is pretty much the same as last year.”

That wasn’t too obvious, was it?

What they say: “If anyone is struggling with a concept from the lecture, please feel free to email me.”

What they mean: “Please for the love of all that is holy, don’t email me.”

Your lecturer is probably redirecting all your mail to spam as we speak and will probably get to it two days before assignments are due.

What they say: “You have a guest lecturer next week to talk to you about…”

What they mean: “I’m going to Bali next week.”

And no, they won’t be replying to emails.

What they say: “That was a good point.”

What they mean: “… and thank you for interrupting my lecture with that enlightening monologue about how your technique for recycling is relevant to this 16th century French Art lecture.”

This lecturer will not look upon you favourably from here on in, so shut your mouth.

Harrison Johnstone

A country kid at heart with city slicking aspirations in his head, Harrison is an aspiring journalist, video editor and human being.

Image: Harry Potter official Facebook page