Teaching the future with the past’s mistakes

I’ll admit: like everyone else I make mistakes and lots of them.  However, if you are ignorant of your mistakes and never try to fix them, then it will become a problem for you and those around you.

Everyone is prone to messing up or having faults, even our prestigious teachers. But oftentimes, students might be too afraid to point out their teacher’s flaws or just not comfortable with discussing ways their teachers can improve.

Fortunately enough, we’re more comfortable and not at all afraid of discussing these things amongst each other. That being said, the following is a list of the top three complaints that many students have of their teachers.

So grades are due soon, right? Luckily, I just turned in a project that’s worth several major grades that would raise my B into an A, because according to my parents I’m an A-sian not a B-sian. However, a few days later, my teacher informs me that she didn’t receive my project and requests me to redo it … by the next day. Teachers, we know you mean well, but a student could have spent many nights on maps or essay assignments and then you just tell us that you never received it and make us redo it! To teachers, it might seem like a reasonable thing, but for us it’s unfair.

Many students have even gone as far as to record or take pictures themselves turning their assignments in; in one instance, I recorded the entire process of me redoing my project just in case my teacher “didn’t receive” my work again. When a student has to go to such an extent, it says two things: one, the teacher doesn’t trust the student enough to believe that he turned his work in; and two, the students doesn’t trust their teachers enough to receive their work and not lose it. We understand that teachers get so many things back that sometimes they may accidentally lose our work, but it’s unfair to make us redo it. Instead of redoing the work, teachers could give the student a “No Grade”(N/G) for that assignment so that it wouldn’t hurt her overall average. Another alternative would be to administer an oral test of the assignment to actually see if she did her work or not.

The next subject in the spotlight is how picky teachers are about their students showing work. For example, one of my teachers would deduct more than 20 points just because I wouldn’t show my work on a math problem the same way the book solved it. It’s obvious that showing how you solve a problem is just as important as getting the right answer, but if you see how we solved the problem and the process we used to solve it, does it matter that we didn’t adhere explicitly to the method in the book? 

Additionally, some teachers seem to be biased against some students. Teachers, you’re not going to see your students working all the time in class. Because Kerr is an independent learning school, as long as we meet the deadline, there is no reason why you should get on our case about doing work every minute of every period.

But putting the work issue aside, let’s talk about the different treatment we are given. For instance, a teacher will laugh with a student one second but in the next moment will get grouchy with a different student, for no reason the second student can see. It’s sad to say that I have personally witnessed incidents like this several times and after each time, my respect for teachers dramatically declines. Such favoritism is an unchangeable part of human nature; however, every time teachers show their favoritism towards some students, they should think about the other students who are not so fortunate to receive  favoritism and how they feel in that situation.

I want to bring these issues to light not to criticize teachers as much as to inform them of the things we students talk about, in hopes that teachers who see themselves in this column will  have better interaction with their students in the future.