How Does One Train A Lecturer?

Since I was a Medical Student, I have always been attracted to being a teacher. Teaching Medical Students I mean. Now that I am a Medical Lecturer, I realise that teaching is a art to itself. No matter how good a doctor you are, being a successful lecturer takes a different kind of approach. Although it may be grouped together that University Lecturers are a bunch of glorified schoolteachers, there are big differences. For a start, the expectations of the students, hence the job description is not the same.

 I always treat my students, maybe wrongly at times, as adults. I am just here to lend them guidance. Left alone, they will still struggle through, they are Medical Students after all. I see my job as more as a guide and a role model. I know I may not have the art of a school teacher. They have specified training to go through in college before being let loose to the schools. We lecturer hardly had any formal training apart from our professional academic knowhow. To argue whether this is right or wrong deserve a forum on itself but I am sure most of my fellow lecturers agree with this notion.

I just do not have the capacity or the skill to teach them all aspect of medicine, but I can permeate some wisdom on how to be a doctor. In the same time, they may also need brotherly advise at the right time. They are essentially young man and woman, who should they have taken up a different course might already be in the employment sector, married with kids. Making the distinction between a good lecturer and bad ones are even more difficult, and often unfair.

The reason for my writing is this piece I picked up in today's The Star;

A UNIVERSITI Sains Islam Malaysia lecturer who passed only four out of 157 of her law students claims she was forced to resign so that the university could protect its reputation, Kosmo! reported.

Nor (not her real name) said the reason she left was because she could not stand the pressure from the university management on her to give “sympathy marks.”

“How am I to give extra marks if the marks they got is what they should be getting?” she said, adding that her downfall started when she received a show-cause letter on why so many students had failed.

She was then criticised by her superiors, who also wanted her to add marks based on attendance so as to reduce the number of failures.

“I stood my ground. How could I give them marks for that when it is their responsibility to show up for classes?” she added.

The university declined to comment.

Well, one cannot be judgemental without knowing the specifics. However reading between the lines, is this the fault of Nur (the lecturer involved) or is it the problem of the organisation as a whole (not specifically USIM, but local varsities)? Personally I wish that I have more training to be not just teachers to the medical students, but as supervisors for the postgraduates who walks through my door for advise. The role of a Medical Lecturer is more than just teaching.