We asked lecturers what their biggest pet peeves about students are
‘Emailing at midnight on a Saturday’
It’s no secret that students complain a lot about their time at university, with early morning classes and end of term assignments being some of the biggest annoyances. It’s also not uncommon for students to form strong opinions on their lecturers and tutors, not all of them positive. But have you ever wondered what your lecturers are thinking about you? Well look no further because we asked five academics what their biggest pet peeves about students are, and they had A LOT to say.
From not turning on cameras to complaining about bad grades, here are the most annoying things students do, according to lecturers:
Sending ridiculous emails
All of the lecturers that we spoke to said that sending them annoying emails is one of the worst things you can do. Mark, an academic at Manchester University, told The Tab: “One of the most annoying things is when students email asking about the word count, when it’s already clearly stated in the assessment outline and I’ve gone over it multiple times in lectures. There are also a number of students who email asking whether the word count includes the bibliography, when you’ve already made clear that it doesn’t”.
Another lecturer said: “Students who email at all sorts of hours and expect an immediate reply are the worst. I’ve had emails from students at midnight on a Saturday, and then they get annoyed when they haven’t got a response back by Sunday morning.
“You also get students who start their emails with things like ‘Hiya Prof’, which is just not very respectful”.
Complaining about bad marks
Yin-Ling, also an academic at Manchester Uni, said that one of the most annoying things students do is blame staff for their bad marks. She said: “Some students can be very entitled and act like we’re here to serve them. They get bad marks for not following instructions or doing the required work, and then blame it on their lecturers and tutors.
“They have a constant need to be spoon-fed, but that’s not what university is about”.
Not participating enough
Another one that came up a lot was students not participating enough, particularly in online breakout rooms. One lecturer said: “It’s frustrating when I drop in a breakout room and all the students have their microphones muted, or they’re talking about something completely unrelated to the task”. Mark added that you can always find who’s just logged into a lecture and then gone off to do something else, as there are always some students still left in an online lecture even after you’ve ended the class.
Yin-Ling said that it’s annoying when “students don’t participate in group work and let the other students in their group down”.
Going on phones in lectures
Mark says that another annoying thing students do is not paying attention in lectures, and going on their phones instead. He told The Tab that one of his colleagues would “take phones off students if he caught them using them, and would tell them they could have it back at the end of the lecture”. He did joke that at least phones are much smaller and quieter than broadsheet newspapers, as during the 90s students would read the paper instead of paying attention, and all you could hear was the rustling of pages.
Not turning on cameras
Another universal annoyance from lecturers is students refusing to turn on their cameras during live lectures and classes. Yin-Ling said that “there’s nothing worse than having to teach 120 black screens, and not being able to see any reaction from the students during the entire lecture”. Another lecturer commented that the silences when no one responds to a question are just as awkward for the lecturer as they are for the students, and that any response is much better than no response.
Plagiarism and not referencing properly
One of the final complaints the lecturers had were students plagiarising essays and thinking they would get away with it. One lecturer said: “We take plagiarism very seriously and you’re very unlikely to get away with it, so don’t even bother”. The other final complaint was students not refencing properly or citing their sources, as it’s “a stupid and avoidable way to lose marks, especially in final year”.
There are some positives though
Despite all the annoying things that students do, there are some good things too. Yin-Ling shared how nice it is when “students come up and tell you how much they’ve enjoyed the class, and when they contact you after they’ve graduated to tell you they’ve found a job”.
Mark added that it’s “always enjoyable when students are engaged in the content and come to you with good discussion questions”.