A rewarding career as a lecturer awaits the law graduate who chooses not to practice law but to dispense knowledge to the next generation of law graduates.
The life of a lecturer is considered idyllic by many. The hours are fixed, a lecturer knows the schedule of his or her classes and aside from classes, the lecturer has fixed hours for consultation. In many universities and colleges, the lecturer does not have to clock in from nine to five and can just appear for classes. The lecturer can take advantage of the stability of his or her schedule to engage in other activities like spending time with family. For this reason, the profession is suitable for those who are married with children.
But the hours kept is not the only perk of the job. The satisfaction of engaging the younger generation in debate, provoking ideas and thoughts on a current court case and preparing them for the legal system all have their own rewards. As a lecturer, you will be responsible for moulding young minds into excellent professionals. When they attain success in their profession, and when they build a name for themselves prosecuting or defending high profile names, you will know that you are partly responsible for their achievements.
To become a responsible lecturer, one must have a passion for education. Teaching does not only mean covering the required syllabus in time. An effective lecturer must be able to draw excitement from students about past court cases, make the students ponder over the many angles from which one can view such cases and assess the different tcomes and various possibilities for mediating a case.
A lecturer must be able to motivate students to think out of the box, and to stay away from rote learning and memorisation. A lecturer needs to sharpen the students’ analytical minds by constantly leading them to their own answers instead of just spoon-feeding them, as law is a subject that requires its students to be highly critical thinkers. This is no easy feat for a lecturer.
The lecturer must also possess a very high level of knowledge. Graduating with a first class is one way of cementing a strong foundation in law but having a few years of experience is also helpful especially when describing case studies to students. The higher the level of teaching, be it an undergraduate or a master’s degree, the higher your own education level must be.
To be even better, you must constantly read about previous cases and update yourself with the latest legal news through law journals and other publications. Learning never ends for the teacher, and every new semester should see new materials taught in class to keep it interesting, practical and current.
Equally important are natural people skills that can help the lecturer engage freely with students. Since law is a subject that benefits from discussions, the lecturer must be able to draw the students into conversing about their thoughts.
From articulating opinions to making a strong argument, it is the lecturer who moulds the oratory skills of the students by encouraging them to speak often. How the students develop depends on how the lecturer can guide them by asking the right questions.
A person with little people skills can easily diminish a student’s confidence with a cutting remark or a powerful argument that quashes the student’s own ability to argue. The lecturer must be able to treat each student individually, determine their strengths and weaknesses and shape each accordingly so that each may blossom in their own right.
Not all students are suitable to be advocates and solicitors so it is up to the lecturer to bring out their best skills so that they may pursue a legal career most suited to them.
As one lecturer can be responsible for so many individuals’ future, it is a very noble vocation indeed.