Teachers help students fail or thrive
No sane human being would hire a doctor that would skip important procedures in their appointments. Yet each year, more and more teachers are being hired in American schools that skip through important parts of their curriculum. They teach their students enough information so that you can pass they test, but do not encourage their students to learn it for life. Our president Barack Obama states, “I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, pay them higher salaries and give them more support” (Barack Obama on Education).
More teachers is not the solution, but having better teachers is. Teacher’s attitudes are directly proportional to their student’s success, therefore education systems today should focus more on the quality of teachers rather than the quantity of them. One characteristic of an inadequate teacher is that they do not care about the subject that they are teaching, which causes the students not to care about the subject (Stupid Teachers). The students then assume that the teacher is stupid and incapable of teaching, and have a negative attitude towards the teacher. Another characteristic of an unreliable teacher is that they are unintelligent. They read straight from the text and rarely answer questions from students (Stupid Teachers).
Ignoring students, assuming their students are not smart enough, and having impossible expectations are also characteristics of bad teachers. (Thoughts Teaching). The article Thoughts on Bad Teaching explains “[teachers] assume your learning style is their learning style” (Thoughts Teaching). Unfortunately, many amazing teachers become horrible teachers when they continuously use the same teaching styles, assuming that their learning style is your learning style. The third noticeable characteristic of a horrible teacher is that they waste time.
They give back homework late or never, have long conversations with students, play random games that are supposed to help you review but end up serving no purpose at all because one team is almost always favored. Worst of all, and the most noticeable characteristic of all characteristics of insufficient teachers is that they accept failure as inevitable for certain students. They refuse to help students that need help or they make the student feel stupid while they help them (Thoughts Teaching). In spite of the many atrocious teachers in the world, there are still many admirable teachers in schools today. The most obvious characteristic of an honorable teacher is that they are intelligent. They are open to questions and almost always know what they are talking about.
They constantly are inventing new ways to present the same material just so that their students can understand and learn it better. They are kind to their students and never cease to motivate and encourage them (Stupid Teachers). Mark Cohan explained this well, “I’m not talking about entertaining lectures and well-written exams that garner good student evaluations. I’m talking about courses as experiences that grab students emotionally as well as intellectually, teaching that can and frequently does prompt students to become scholars, leaders, and activists in their own right”. As Cohan explained, teachers should not become so caught up in their students passing exams, but focus more on actually helping their students learn the material being taught.
Likewise, another characteristic of an excellent teacher is that they take risks. They organize unusual activities that are both entertaining and actually help one learn the topic being taught. They set impossible goals for themselves and when they succeed their students respect them so much more. Rick Reis stated, “I like to try things that can fail. If there is no chance of failure, then success is meaningless” (Beidler).
This explains how great teachers are always trying new things, and that it is okay if their plans do not always work because sometimes you learn more from failing than from succeeding. Equally important is the final and most important characteristic of commendable teachers, which is that they want to be good teachers. Most students do better in classes where their teacher respects them, cares about them, and they get along well with; than a teacher that is only at school to teach (Bergreen 99). As Rick Reis explains, “We have, for example, to act our way into letting our students know that we can’t think of any place we would rather be at 8:10 on a Friday morning than in a class with them talking about the difference between a comma splice and a run-on sentence”. What most students fail to realize is that a good teacher’s job never ends when the last bell of day rings.
Good teachers never have enough time because they are always so eager to finish grading every test, project and homework, so that they can relax. But then they realize that they need to plan a new lesson, or find that perfect website that explains everything so easily to their students (Reis). What our education system should be doing, is training their teachers to be better teachers, not hiring new ones. Each school district should require each teacher to create and use at least three unique teaching techniques, or new ways of presenting the included in their subject, per year. If they teach more than one subject, they do not have to come up with three per class, but three overall.
The first technique should be used in the first making period, the second technique in the second marking period, and the third technique in the third making period. After the end of the third marking period, a day of in-service should be created where every teacher will discuss their teaching techniques with other members of their department. They should discuss what worked, what did not work, and any questions or comments they have on each other’s ideas. Furthermore, this will encourage teachers to come out of their comfort zone with teaching. It will also set aside a specific time where older, more experienced members of each department can help the newer members become better teachers by passing on ideas and warnings. Gary Bergreen explains the school in an interesting way: Schools bring strangers together.
Students from all types of backgrounds must somehow cope with one another, learn from one another, and share experiences with one another. . . [we] also have difficulty coping with frustration, tension, and hostility created by poor teacher-student relationships. . .
[but] you need to practice being a winner a little more often, to take charge of your emotions and resolve conflicts more successfully. (viii) This quote explains how strange the school experience can be, particularly the teacher-student relationship, but that we must all somehow learn to cope one another and get through it. But why cope with a poor teacher-student relationship if you do not have to? Since teachers’ attitudes influence their students’ success, then more time should be spent focusing on improving teachers rather than hiring new inexperienced teachers.