Staff Ed: Top Ten things teachers shouldn't do

November 18, 2008

Every student fears seeing their schedule for the first time, reluctant to read the name of a “bad” teacher—they are a major reason the guidance counselors’ boxes are filled with schedule change slips at the beginning of each year. The following is a list of the top 10 ways that teachers fall short and our recommendations for improvement.

10. Don’t limit restroom passes—really, what are we suppose to do, pee in class? We get that some students leave for the “restroom” and never come back, but why penalize the rest of us? Use good judgment when letting students go relieve themselves and there’ll be no problems.

9. Don’t be nitpicky—don’t take off points for minor things. Everyone makes mistakes, but deducting points for not writing your name in a specific order or forgetting to bring your book to class is ludicrous. It’s not like it has anything to do with understanding the material that matters, unless the class is based on style and format.

8. Don’t be unorganized—it’s a trait that many students have themselves. Also, please stop taking weeks days to return tests.

7. Don’t give “lecture lullabies”—when teachers lecture in a monotone voice, turn off the lights, and look like they’re just as bored as everyone else in the room, should students really be punished for falling asleep?

6. Don’t stack projects and test on spirit weeks like Homecoming—tone down the “no pain, no gain” attitude. SHS is competitive, and we’re well aware of that, but then again, we do have spirit weeks like any other high school. Homecoming is no fun when we have tests and projects bogging us down.

5. Don’t only teach from textbooks—if we are only going to learn from a book, we might as well do it at home.

4. Don’t show any kind of obvious prejudice—yes, the athletic and smart students are charming, but the rest of us need attention too.

3. Don’t be oblivious to students busy with SATs/ACTs, extracurricular activities and other classes—we are teenagers who like to sleep and eat like the average human being. We don’t look forward to coming home from seven-hour school days to work 10 more hours to get ready for the next day.

2. Don’t be defensive when you don’t know the answer to a question—students don’t expect teachers to know everything. Teachers should admit it when they don’t have an answer and get back to the students as soon as they can. This allows teachers to do a better job at teaching their students, and both parties learn.

1. Don’t talk condescendingly when a student asks a question—that makes us feel inferior, stop asking questions and, as a result, struggle in the class.

The main goal of most teachers is to help students learn the required material set by the state standards. Unfortunately, some teachers have turned their classrooms into environments where students feel miserable and reluctant to do more than just get a good grade in the class.

Teachers should understand that it’s very difficult for a student to do well in a class in which they don’t feel comfortable. Students deserve committed teachers who work in a student’s best interest. The classroom is supposed to be a learning environment, as students do look up to teacher as mentors, giving them all the more reason to step up their game to keep their students from regretting that they didn’t win the teacher lottery this year.

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