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  1. Teaching in Labs
  2.  » Professionalism


Lab teachers are often in the front line and have the most direct contact with students during practical work. So their attitudes influence the well-being and success of students. Good lab teachers can help motivate students and increase their confidence.

To be professional in their approach, lab teachers will:

  • Be conversant with equipment and safety issues; be especially aware of the safety requirements of their subject (e.g. chemical, electrical, fire, radiation, biological materials, or glassware safety).
  • Be aware of first aid facilities.
  • Arrive at the lab on time, preferably before the students.
  • Report in if delayed unexpectedly or sick.
  • Be prepared with any reading or consultation and know the learning outcomes of the particular lab.

Unprofessional behaviour

A close shave

Student viewpoints: What we like in a Lab Teacher

Student viewpoints: What we don’t like

Disability services

  • Be aware of students with disabilities who may have special needs to allow them to participate.
  • Be accurate in recording attendance.
  • Be impartial and resist pressure to sign off on work that is not completed.
  • Seek to improve students’ understanding by questioning rather than giving answers.
  • Be alert to students suspected of cheating and/or colluding with others and deal fairly and promptly with this.
  • Be fair with time spent with individuals or groups so there is no gender or other kind of bias.

For more information visit the University’s Student Disability Services.

This scenario may seem far-fetched to some readers. A reliable, responsible, professional Lab Teacher being exploited and humiliated by his colleagues? This is Bhargava’s Law in action: “When Lab Teachers work as a team, at least one of them will be tempted to take a free ride”.