The Problem With Teachers

Positivity Link: Neighbour Saves Child from Fire

You, the only one at the back not with a hand up.

There is a problem with teachers. No, not that one. The problem with some teachers is one which is rather similar to the problem with students; they become too used to the standard role expected of them and dislike the learning and change that is also part of the job. There is the expectancy by the teachers that in a group of students, at least one will be a “bad apple”, and this always occurs. There is an expectancy in the new student body that somewhere in the maze of corridors and other teenagers, there will be a teacher who is laughably poor at their job. Lo and behold, we are never disappointed.

Most teachers are not like this. I am in college, which is Year 12 – 13 over here in England, and four out of five of my teachers are capable at their jobs. Good at lesson planning, good at getting to the point, even good at evoking interest from tired teenagers at 8:30 in the morning. They make you want to learn, which makes it easier to learn.

But there is the last teacher. The one who never plans a lesson, forgets that we are sixteen and not six, and wants to believe that they are always correct. The one ready to raise hell if they perceive even the slightest doubt as to the validity of their teaching method, not far removed from the pastor ready to lambast his population at the first doubt shown towards his interpretations. The one who, on the rare times they are able to connect to one student, spends the rest of the lesson re-attempting to relight that single spark of interest to the detriment of the rest of the class and the lesson.

You all remember that teacher.

The worst thing about them, though, is that they don’t stay in high school. You find them in your parents, your older siblings or relatives. They pop-up in university, and then in your workplace under the guise of your boss or colleague or that guy constantly standing at the water cooler who you aren’t even sure works there. Sometimes they become a nagging partner or precocious child. Either way it is the eternal teacher problem, where they must be right and you must be wrong, where it’s their way or the high way. The best way to combat it is to smile, nod, listen, and then dash away and learn an opinion unbiased by their or your own inexperience.

My teacher problem won’t solve itself. I’ve simply taken to reading ahead of topics and around the subject to make up for what we’re not being taught. I like the teacher. They try to be nice, and they’re generally harmless in their one-outfit wardrobe. They’re fascinated with the idea of my “exotic” family background and we generally get along well. However, when it comes to their job they’re not the best. We students recognise this. Other teachers have recognised this too, warning us that this particular teacher is an acquired taste. I’m afraid to say that with exams already looming after so short a period of teaching, that this taste is not likely to be acquired any time soon.

6 thoughts on “The Problem With Teachers

  1. nevercontrary

    As a teacher, I have seen many teachers like this. I think a huge part of this problem, is the lack of training for teachers, at least in US. You are just thrown in a classroom and no one checks on you again, unless you screw up big time. Unless you are self motivated to be better, you wont get any better. Then, they cut pay and benefits, and expect the young, talented motivated, kids to want to teach. um no they run away screaming.

    I wish I knew how to fix it.

    1. dlaiden Post author

      I don’t about the training here, but I do agree that checks don’t happen, not unless you’ve been accused of being a paedophile. One of my high school teachers would moan to us about her bunions (she…showed us once >.<) and marked our papers incorrectly, resulting in examiners knocking us down two grades. We complained and petitioned only for our voices to fall on deaf ears. Another (male) teacher who was good at his job had a rumour started about him looking touching girls inappropriately, and the police took him away to interview him the next day. He almost quit afterwards. Checks for all the wrong reasons, just scaring away new talent. I wish I knew how to fix it too, and more importantly I wish anyone who had the power to change it cared.

  2. Deri

    In my penultimate year at high school (in Canada) I had a divine history teacher. He made the past come alive, the American Civil War became so vivid that we had real angst when we had a field trip to some of the battlegrounds. Years later my love of history inspired my choice of study as a mature student at uni: – “American Studies” That same high school year saw my failure in maths, so I did a make-up course at a summer school as I did not want to repeat the year. I got a 99% pass, giving credibility to my claim that the maths teacher was incompetent.

    The table turned – I had to lead seminars on Canadian topics in the American Studies course. I also had a job as a sailing instructor. That was hard work! Enough to give me some empathy with tutors and academicians.

    Students should regard teachers as one of the resources in their learning path, like libraries and wikipedia.

    1. dlaiden Post author

      I’ve had a lucky streak with English Lit teachers; they’ve all loved their subject and helped keep my passion for reading and writing alive. 😉

      I do sympathise with them to some extent. I had a rather hopeless Biology teacher who was accustomed to us falling asleep in her class, whenever things got particularly quiet she would suggest we stretch our legs for a bit. She knew her stuff, just not how to maintain interest in it. When I had work experience in a primary school sometimes the children would listen and sometimes they wouldn’t. It’s hard, and there should be a means of helping these teachers who struggle to, well, teach. They need to be helped in some way, and more high-school students need to be taught the value of self-teaching before it’s too late.

  3. pinappleflavouredpeople

    I had a highly interesting english teacher. We would have the same subjects all year: The eco-system and how to write summaries. But from time to time he would talk about cheese platters. The worst thing is he had no control over the class. We wouldn’t say “I have english”, but “I have a free lesson”.

    1. dlaiden Post author

      Ah, the free lesson. That was Religious Education, seeing as our teacher literally put up a PowerPoint and played on his laptop all lesson. I imagine that if he’d talked about cheese platters, we would have been shocked into silence by the fact that he’d spoken to us at all. I guess in some ways students are to blame for a teacher’s struggle, especially with the savage treatment that new teachers usually get when they start their career in high schools.


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