Students

Here’s what diversity means to a university tutor.

Student A appears with a deer-in-the-headlights look at the door to the senior tutor room and asks (in a bewildering tone that sounds as if a layer of righteous outrage has been suppressed and petrified beneath another layer of sheer blinding terror) if there is going to be a tutorial now for the unit that I tutor. I stumble through an explanation of the weekly tutorial times – there are only two, and neither of them are now – and leave him with a look of deep suspicion and confusion. This is half-way through semester.

Student B appears at the door to the senior tutor room with a demeanour that could very well be those transfixing headlights. She doesn’t have a question – she’s just bored. She bounds over to see what I’m doing and recoils at the tutorial exercise I’m preparing to give in an hour. Nevertheless, I begin to explain it and within a minute she rips the paper out of my hand and sits down to undertake the exercise: disassembling a Java class file by hand. She isn’t even enrolled in the unit, and won’t be for another year.