QUOTE


"Historically, much of the motivation for public schooling has been to stifle variety and institute social control." - Jack Hugh

A closed-minded teacher says

An email dialogue with a teacher after sending some questions to a teacher newsgroup.
by SoulRiser


A teacher's opinion

This is an email I got from a teacher after I sent some questions to a teacher newsgroup. My comments are in bold.

From: "Paul Wanger"

I did not become an educator to be liked by the students. I am in the classroom to help the students reach their greatest potential possible. This means pushing them beyond their "comfort zone" which is very small. This is why teachers are perceived as "mean" or "rude." Based on the conversation, I make the assumption that you are a student. If you are having a problem with a particular teacher, talk to that teacher. Be nice, courteous and respectful and 99.99% of all teachers will return the attitudes.

Well a lot of students don't go to school to reach the potential that other people set for them. Pushing them beyond their "comfort zone" is like pushing them to be something they're not. Most people tend not to take that kindly. As for talking to a particular teacher: the main problem I have with most teachers is the way they don't respect me and my decisions, so being courteous and respectful isn't going to get the same back from them since it never was there anyway. Teachers can yell at us and tell us to respect them, but imagine us even asking nicely for some respect - personal experience shows that it does not work.  And if you don't want to be liked by the students, they aren't going to like you.  Which is a good reason why teachers are perceived as "mean" or "rude". I can't understand how anyone can't be bothered by a reputation like that...

Yes, I get angry with students. I get angry with the students when they are working below their capabilities. I get angry with the students when their self-discipline is below their capabilities. I get angry when I hear the same question coming from the same person for the fifth time in five minutes. I get angry when I have to write a student up for acting in an immature manner. It is a very natural emotion. The trick is to keep it under control.

Well, for starters, how can you be so sure you know what their capabilities are? Maybe I should add that my "capabilities" as you call it, are not always the same. There are times when my mind is not occupied with problems and things like that, and then I can work easily and without distractions. But there are other times, when I maybe have problems at home, I'm worried about a friend, or something else is troubling me, that I feel I need all the time I can possibly get to think about what's troubling me and find a solution. I have a reputation for worrying a lot about other people's problems.  And I don't want to change that.  I'd rather be known as a good friend than a hard worker. Secondly, you can't get angry with a student that asks the same question several times, because that's unfair. Who else does that student have to ask about the work? If you get angry, he'll just go ask someone else. A good teacher is also a patient teacher. Third, writing up a student for acting in a certain way is unfair. Let a person be himself, I say. Who decides what's mature and what's not? Are you telling me you're qualified to be able to do that?

Yes, I assume they are lying when they tell me they didn't do their homework. This comes from the experiences of teaching. In my current classes, there isn't much homework, since all assignments must be done on the computers at school. I don't have the problems that I did when I taught mathematics. Now the excuses are "I never got the assignment." or "I don't know how to do it." or "He's bothering me and erased my file."

Well, unfortunately that creates a problem - students who have a genuine good reason for not doing homework aren't believed and they feel betrayed. What if they really didn't know how to do it? At least make sure everyone knows what to do before they leave class. And about accidentally forgetting homework, well face it: it happens. It happens to teachers too, but they don't get detention for forgetting things, do they?

If you are worried about the attitude of your teachers, I would suggest that you start with your own attitude. If you are truly interested (or at least engaged) in the conversations and lessons of a class, the teacher's attitude will shift to a more pleasant nature. Teachers can tell who wants to be in their classes and who doesn't.

My attitude? I didn't choose to go to school, I didn't willingly choose all my subjects, I'm hardly interested in most of them, so how can I possibly be expected to be engaged in class? Yes, teachers can tell who wants to be in their class and who not, but why should those who don't want to be in class have to be forced to be engaged in lessons, and get in trouble if they're not?

Date: Sat, 9 Oct 1999 12:05:55 -0500

Written by: SoulRiser
13 September 2001

Related Stuff:
Discuss this in the forums.
How many teachers would set you free if they could?
Teen Rebellion is not just a phase
Respect
How to be a good teacher
Why Education is Broken, by Isamu Fukui
Public school is like prison, or a cult
Accepting that you are inferior
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