Classifying instructors: alien, robot or human?



For many people, one of the scariest places in grade school was the mysterious “Teachers Lounge.” Teachers would disappear inside, leaving students to wonder what happened behind closed doors.

Well, they did what all adult workers do on break: They ate and caffeinated, complained about the bosses, and talked about customers (students). Yes, they talked about you – sharing their strategies, successes and mistakes with each other.

Teachers are human, after all.

It can be hard to tell. Your college instructors walk and talk confidently, with authority. (Aliens?) They seem to know everything about their subjects – at least, they have Trivial Pursuit-level knowledge. (Robots?) They ask questions you cannot answer, sometimes making you feel dumb. (Ah, humans.)

They speak languages you may not understand yet – Math, Chemistry and Old English. (Wait …)

That does NOT mean communication is impossible. To start, try talking to them.

Talking is part of the instructor’s job, in fact. Instructors offer office hours so they can meet students and help them out.

MATC instructors know you have other responsibilities – jobs, children, bills. But they cannot know when you are overloaded until you tell them. They cannot know you didn’t understand the lecture unless you tell them.

They cannot read minds.

Now, keep in mind the rules of polite conversation. Be honest. Don’t shout. Explain yourself. Check your anger. Realize that if you “attack” instructors with insults, they will get defensive.

Give it a go. You and your instructors have at least this in common: You are all human.