Dear Ethel | Issue 6

Dear Ethel | Issue 6

Intangible Teaching

Dear Ethel,

I’m a first year student and three of my papers are going well but I’ve got a really crap lecturer for the other paper and I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m not the only one who’s worried. The lecturer hasn’t been on time yet, she goes off on tangents, we don’t have any idea what she’s talking about, she doesn’t have office hours and she doesn’t reply to emails. I’m so stressed because this is a compulsory paper for my major and I can’t fail!  What can I do?

-Gonna Fail?


Dear Gonna Fail?,

It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying your other papers but a shame that one lecturer is bringing you down. You’ve paid a substantial amount of money to be provided with education in this particular subject by the University of Otago so you deserve to get some bang for your bucks. In terms of the problem lecturer/paper, there are some things you can do. The first step would be to get in touch with your Class Rep. Hopefully you know who they are. If you don’t, you can email and they will be able to give you a contact email for the rep. Your rep will check in with the rest of the class and get some feedback, which they will pass on to the department. That will hopefully be enough to get your lecturer back on track. If it isn’t and nothing changes for the better, your next step would be to contact the OUSA Rep Coordinator at and make a time to have a confidential chat about what’s happening. The OUSA Rep Coordinator will liaise with the class rep and will probably take the concerns directly to the Head of Department. The Rep Coordinator can present the concerns anonymously or can arrange a meeting that includes the rep and concerned students (depending on whether students want to keep it low-key or not). 

Departments are usually pretty eager to sort stuff like this out, so the sooner they get some feedback, the better all round. And, if you feel that you’ve been academically disadvantaged for a period of time, drop in and have a chat to an advocate at 5 Ethel B and we’ll see if something can be done.

Whole lotta love,


This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2016.
Posted 11:59am Sunday 10th April 2016 by Student Support.