Approaching your teacher/supervisor


How to communicate with your teacher or supervisor

This will cover two aspects of your study, communicating with your teacher and communicating with your supervisor.

Communicating with your teacher

Some teachers may find it acceptable to raise your hand during a lecture and ask a question, some may wish to answer questions in the break or afterwards. If you are not sure simply approach your teacher and ask them! Either way, teachers will want to hear your questions. Not only do they want to help you, but it also provides an important feedback method for them. The chances are that if you do not understand something then there are others in the class who also are struggling with a certain concept.

If you wish to ask your teacher a question there will be a number of different ways to go about this: you can send an email, you can ring or you can visit them in their office. It is common during the introductory lecture that the teacher will specify which method is best for getting in contact with them. Some teachers prefer mail, some have certain hours dedicated each day to student contact. If you have a question that is more in depth and needs more time to answer you can arrange to book a time with your teacher.

The important thing to note in all of this is that teachers like intrested students. If you take an interest in your studies and ask questions you will always get a good response. You should never feel shy about asking for help from your teacher!

Communicating with your supervisor

If you are writing a higher level thesis or doing project work you will be assigned a supervisor. In many subjects you will have a certain amount of choice with your supervisor - many supervisors have one or more specialisations. This means that from the beginning you should have a good idea of what you want to do so that you get the right supervisor!

Some supervisors take a very active approach with their students and some students never see their supervisors. This can depend on a whole range of factors and it is probably not worth thinking about. What you should concentrate on is the fact that all are very good in their respective areas, and to prevent any problems you might have you should actively contact your supervisor. Decide on when you should meet and what goals you will have for your meetings and so forth. The more you prioritise communication with your supervisor the better results you will get.

If you find that you really cannot cooperate with your supervisor, or if you realise that you in fact wanted to choose another subject, it is not impossible to change your supervisor. In this case you should talk with the course co-ordinator.