The practice of peer-teaching on various aspects is a welcome event for me. It allows me to be a student, one who can sit there absorbing the knowledge and realising how I use it in my immediate time frame. I dread facilitating such events as my colleagues are ‘notorious students’, dealing with them requires patience, wit and panache. This Wednesday morning, I was excited to be a student and rushed to reach on time. The facilitator was a no-nonsense young lecturer who every ‘real’ student valued for the learning they got in every interaction.

I entered the room 7 minutes late, avoiding any gaze from the lecturer. There was a laughter supposedly from a joke cracked a little earlier, while the half-filled room was taking a test furiously on their handphones. OMG. I overlooked the pre-test on my knowledge on this topic and test was timed to ten minutes. After some jibes, I accessed the link and started hitting the options with hot fervour. When I submitted, I failed, as I overshot the golden ten minutes. I felt bad, blaming myself for coming late and overlooking the stipulations of the class. Little did it help when two of my colleagues turned in the room after the test time got over, they took it in their jest. “I still have the rest of the day to learn.” I also did my part, a small gaffe, and did not much lose on the learning. Or did I. I reflected on to why I felt bad.

As a student, I have been primed to feel bad in a classroom, not assessing what went wrong, but assessing how I had been wrong. I was getting alienated, and it was normal to me. Then it struck me, is the teacher free of any guilt? As a teacher, I have put in many features in my class that could have potentially alienated few of the students.  A harmless comment like thank you could have alienated a student who had to care for his father and come late for my class. I could have alienated by giving a test that is difficult for a student with numbers. There are many instances that could alienate one of us. Am I overthinking?

What could be done by my lecturer for a student like me who comes late because of poor planning. The quiz time restraint was important for the class objectives. Start time of the test is important to respect the half class who came on time. It can be stressful for the lecturer if he needs to accommodate all students. It is like our world where a new learning challenge is discovered among our students. Knowledge is power, and I decided to be open to my feeling of alienation in learning. If I am aware, I will be able to include everyone in the learning journey. A minute late, but a lot together.

I write blogs on Academic Coaching, topics that empower students in their learning journey. For the complete blog posts on academic coaching, click here.

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