5 Reasons You Should Be a Lab Instructor

If you are a Psychology major, minor, or thinking about either, being a lab instructor (LI) is a great way to gain experience working with others in the psychology field. You can learn something new every day! Current LIs have many reasons why they love their positions and want to share them with you. Here are five reasons you should be a lab instructor:

1. Build relationships with faculty.
Not only do you get to work with and teach students just like a professor, but you get to work with the professors too! Collaborating with professors on what the lab sessions will look like, how fast you should move students along, how to grade papers, and so much more is discussed between you and a professor. Through these discussions you build trusting and supportive relationships.

2. Learn basic skills you will need after college.
We all know how crazy schedules can be, especially being a student who isn’t quite on the nine to five schedule yet. Being an LI helps you build your time management skills and responsibility skills. Getting organized and owning your knowledge and the tasks assigned to you are core skills you will need, regardless of your profession.

3. Develop excellent communication skills.
Being an LI can be a little weird at times because you are both a student and a teacher at the same time. Knowing how to communicate differently with those who are on the same level as you, as well as above and below your level, is key for your work to flow smoothly. The students you work with may not understand all the information you are giving them, so you may need to break it down a different way. On the other hand, a professor will understand most shorthand phrases and other terms used only within the Psychology department, so you won’t have to clarify as much. Being an LI helps you develop a great sense for how to communicate clearly with others.

4. You become a teacher in new ways.
You will learn that you can be a teacher inside and outside of the classroom. Not only will you be teaching students in your lab, but you can take those skills beyond your classroom and take them to other classrooms, or even your work outside of school. Everyone is a learner all their life, so use your new skills to help others continue to learn every day.

5. You will build confidence.
By being in a position of more responsibility, you will have a lot more work and higher expectations. But don’t let any fear hold you back! Instead, take it one day at a time, and soon enough you will be instructing your students and working with the faculty with such ease, you’ll wonder why you were ever nervous in the first place. This confidence will follow you throughout your life if you keep in mind that you are fully capable of any task given to you. And it’s okay if you have questions or need help because you will have built a support system with your colleagues and professors!

If you still need convincing or want to know what else you can gain from being a LI, contact General Psychology Laboratory co-coordinators Jamie Peterson at jjpeterson@stkate.edu or Arturo Sesma at agsesma@stkate.edu or stop by any of the LI Help Sessions!


Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies