Good Teacher, Bad Teacher
Students often complain about their teachers, though fail to recognize that a lot of the class rests on them, the students, the common foot soldiers. Yet it is also the job of the teachers–the generals–to put on a smile and appear to enjoy their job. What makes the difference between a teacher whose class you look forward to attending, and a teacher whose class you look forward to only for the naptime? There’s a reason we love the teachers we love, and a reason we dread the rest. Sometimes it feels like a flat-out war.
We all know there’s a difference between a beloved teacher and one who does not command such respect, but what makes that difference? “They interact with the class,” Senior Katelyn Orchard says. There’s a huge difference between 55 minutes of monotonous lecturing, and 55 minutes of downright awesome educational enhancement. “Fun classes are usually more laid back,” Orchard also says, “but that doesn’t mean [the teachers] don’t teach; they interact rather than just [instruct].”
We’ve all been there; it’s Monday morning and you can barely keep your eyes open. We’re back on the dreaded battlefront without the energy to go on to meet the enemy. What is more likely to hold your attention, an interactive lecture, or sitting and listening as teachers go on and on forever from their podium? “The connection to the kids makes their class both more fun and educational,” Sophomore Katie Scott shared. A lecture needs to be more than just interesting; it needs to connect to the students. Teaching about the economy means nothing to most students if they cannot relate. But it’s not just subject matter that counts; students must try to be engaged.
When marching into battle, not everything rests upon the Generals. The soldiers share some responsibility too. A battle cannot be won just by good commands; the soldiers must respond energetically and wholeheartedly. “There is a difference between my classes,” Mr. Kabat, 11th grade U.S. History teacher, says. “One period does not respond to interactive questions and never asks any questions themselves. Then, another period that same day not only responds but brings up a lot of very interesting questions. That class gets more out of the same lesson, and we all have a good time.” Even if the teacher is not a favorite, a student can only get as much out of the class as they put in. If questions – and valuable ones at that – are asked, the outcome of the class for everyone will be better. “Students make a big difference in the class environment, enjoyment, and in positive results,” Mr. Kabat also says. Keep a positive attitude and a positive outcome will come.
Teacher-student connections go two ways. Just like any other relationship, we will only get as much as we give. If a teacher does not even bother showing up for class, why should we? The amount of effort teachers put into their class can dictate how much their students will put in. If teachers show us they want to be there, so will we. A “bad” teacher is someone who “is not willing to change [how they teach] or willing to help the students,” Orchard says. As a student, it is expected we are able to learn in any classroom situation, but sometimes it’s the teacher that needs to change their teaching style.
Many of us will agree we are able to learn better in a class we enjoy compared to one we dislike. Scott says it’s “because when you like the teacher, you are more likely to try your hardest and actually contribute to the class.” Interactive classes teach more than just lectures, and a student can get even more out of them when they voice their views and opinions on what is being discussed.
Before we start the Oly rebellion against disliked teachers, stop and think about it. In Orchard’s words, “You have to respect them even if you don’t like them.” Maybe the expensive therapy it takes to get over the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder a horrible teacher can cause is worth it, if it means not dying on the battlefield and receiving a failing grade. Pretty soon this battle will be over, and just remember, teachers–be they boring or exciting–are here to help us learn, and that’s really all that matters.