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5 Types of Lecturers You Will Have at Uni

Date:10 July 2020
Professor Asmo aka 'the novice'
Professor Asmo aka 'the novice'

Lecturers belong to a university like fish belong in water or pineapples belong on a pizza (I’m going to regret this statement). Jokes aside, you will definitely come across quite a few different ones during your times studying at university. Although there are surely just as many different lecturers as there are people and personalities, I couldn’t help but notice over the years that some of them seem to somehow fall into similar categories. Of course, these types may vary depending on the faculty you are in or the level you are studying at, but broadly speaking I think I’ve met around 5 distinct types of lecturers that you will come across during your studies. Obviously you shouldn’t take these descriptions too seriously as some of these are quite exaggerated, but I feel like most of you will be able to relate to one or two of these that I’ve encountered. 

1. The Novice 

Everyone has to start somewhere, and lecturers are no exception to this rule. Oftentimes the novice (aka ‘newbie’ or ‘absolute beginner’) is characterised by their meticulous organisation of the lecture. Obviously this is not a bad thing per se, as you need to put in some serious work to hold a university-level lecture. However, you can usually see their inner alarm bells going off when they are hit by an unexpected question (“Oh, I’ll have to ask and get back to you later”) or occurrence (“Where’s the key to the classroom?”), which alters their carefully structured timetable or planned discussion topics. Granted, when you are young and inexperienced and you see your academic authority fumbling, you’d surely get nervous as well. Luckily, most novice lecturers who are often just recent graduates or slightly older students, quickly get the hang of teaching as they are usually selected based on their academic expertise, potential and experience.     

2. The Senior 

‘The Senior’ stands in diametrical opposition to the novice. Most of you will know this one lecturer who apparently retired 8½ years ago, but still somehow teaches 15 lectures a week. These older lecturers are often very respected in their fields and hold a senior position within the university. Their teaching methods are usually traditional and sometimes ‘old-school’ and they may have some trouble finding the right buttons on any electronically powered device. Usually, there are also a lot of fabulous unconfirmed rumours surrounding ‘the oldies’ and some of the favourite ones I’ve heard include involvement in defining moments of the cold war. But whatever you may think about the senior lecturers, you know how the simple saying goes: Old but gold.  

3. The Chaotic 

Two questions always come to my mind when I think about the chaotic: 1) How on earth did he get through life until this point? and 2) How is it possible that he is still so good in his field? These two paradoxical questions seem to generally describe most ‘chaotic’ lecturers quite well. You have no idea how they manage to have their life together, while also just being baffled by their expertise and clear argumentation techniques in their papers. There are some good indicators which you can use to identify a ‘chaotic’ lecturer. For instance, if their office resembles a 200-year-old archive, fully stacked with manuscripts and books and they generally seem to have a somewhat crazy (hair) style and never seem to know when anything is due, you can be quite sure that you have run into one.   

4. The Motivator 

Ahh the motivator. There is no other type of lecturer who I both love and hate so much at the same time. But let’s start with the good things. ‘The motivator’, who is usually extremely motivated himself, just generally gives off this really engaging vibe which makes you really want to understand the subject that is being discussed. This type of lecturer usually goes the extra mile by trying out innovative teaching methods and answering your email within 2,5 minutes, even if you send it on Sunday night at 2 am. However, there are downsides as well. Being ‘passive’ does not exist within the vocabulary of the motivator and sometimes you just really don’t feel all that bright, happy and interested during a 9 am on Monday morning after cycling through the rain for 20 minutes. The benefits outweigh the occasional negatives by far with this one though, and I’m glad I’ve met a lot of these lecturers during my studies at the UG. 

5. The Renegade 

The renegade is the type of lecturer who you would probably not recognise as one if you saw her on the street. Usually following a fairly edgy lifestyle, you can see the renegade hanging out in all the alternative bars and festivals around the city and occasionally participating in demonstrations or ‘art projects’. ‘The renegade’ is obviously also a total nonconformist when it comes to formalities (“don’t call me professor, just call me Elena”) or her choice of friends (“let’s go have a drink after the lecture!”). Admittedly, it can be pretty weird to run into your lecturer somewhere in the middle of the night, but hey, even your lecturer has the right to a life outside of the classroom. 

Have you ever encountered one of these lecturers or do you have any others you would like to suggest? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: Student life

About the author

Hey there! My name is Asmo and I’m a Finnish/German student exploring life in the Netherlands. Besides being into photography and politics, I am currently completing my double master's degree in European law and international law. Oh, and I write blogs as well.


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