Another question for everyone: (Let's get some more traffic to Parents, Adults and Teens!)
What are some traits of a "good" teacher? Ex. fair, kind, entertaining, etc.? - What makes a teacher "good"? - Who was your favorite teacher, and why?
What are some traits of a "bad" teacher? Ex. doesn't let you go to the bathroom, plays favorites, etc.? - What makes a teacher "bad"? - Who was your "worst" teacher, and why? (You can use a code name, like Mr./Ms. S.)
Please add any additional questions, comments, stories and/or examples from personal experience!
Posts: 3318 | Registered: Jun 2003
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I'm an aspiring teacher myself, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that some of the people who've influenced me most in my life have been teachers.
The best teacher I've ever had was my 8th grade English/Civics teacher. We're actually still in e-mail contact and meet up for coffee once a year, and he's been a wonderful friend and mentor to me all these years. What made him so great was his passion for the subjects he taught. He's an absolute freak for Literature, History, Philosophy and Politics and all of that came out every lesson. It was incredibly inspiring. The other great trait of his was that he didn't want us to memorize names and dates, but to understand. He wanted us to be creative in our approaches and to really grasp the concepts. And he challenged us, not to see us fail but because we knew that we could do better.
The worst teacher I've ever had was my 6th grade math teacher, with my 11th grade math teacher coming in a close second. My 6th grade teacher liked to start off his lesson by publicly humiliating the students who'd made mistake on their homework assignments. He'd then give us an activity to do for the lesson and rather than teach us or even explain the activity to us, he'd sit in the back of the room and read comics. If you had a question, tough luck, because he only ever gave answers when he felt like it and even if you were lucky enough to get anything out of him at all, he never made sure you understood what he was saying and knew how to apply it. I came home in tears more than once because of him, and I nearly failed math that year.
-------------------- Johanna Scarleteen Volunteer
"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005
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The best teacher I had was a professor that I argued with for almost an hour on the subject of the morality of abortion. In the end, I stumped him, and he admited that I had a valid point. He always challenged me to think, and was willing to admit when he was at error, and when somebody told him something he didn't know.
Now, I've had a lion's share of bad teachers. Ranging from physically abusive (My second grade teacher dragging me out of the classroom by my hair), to the completely illiterate (Eighth grade teacher. Couldn't read a word of English or any other language. How he got the job I do not know.), to the abrasive and crude (Eighth grade teacher again. The man was a pig-farmer for god's sake...), to the simply dull (too many to count. Come on, at least try to hold my attention).
My teachers are more on the foul side of the scale, but the ones on the fair side are made all the more precious for it.
-------------------- "And you're really asking me if I prefer injury to embarrassment? That's not even a choice. I don't know anybody who's literally died of embarrassment."
People are annoying sometimes. Posts: 78 | From: Summerside, PEI, Canada | Registered: Jan 2007
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The best teacher I ever had was my 4th/5th grade teacher-- this man just made learning an absolute joy. He was the first person to really tell me (and the rest of the class) that we don't have to accept the teacher's word as though teachers were gods-- he encouraged us to think for oursevles, and he encouraged us to enjoy the process of learning in any area.
I also had some very good teachers in high school, in lots of different subject areas-- my Chemistry teacher, who would always make the time to explain things step-by-step, as many times as was necessary for me to understand, my Maths teacher who was the first person to make it all make sense (and, on Friday afternoons, when all the boys would wag, we-- all the girls in the class and our female teacher-- would just have great conversations about contraception, reproductive rights, etc, in the midst of doing our revision), my English teacher, with whom I rarely agreed, but who instilled a love of literature into me that I have never lost...
I tend not to remember the bad teachers so well, I don't waste my energy on them. There's one teacher I didn't like much as a person-- he seemed to allocate good grades based on the prettiness of the girls, rather than merit, and he discriminated horribly against a mentally handicapped kid that I know-- but he actually was a fairly good teacher in terms of making the classes interesting, and I learned a lot (of course that might just be because I was interested in the subject-- and I had to study hard in order to be able to refute a lot of the sexist interpretations of history that he'd come out with-- Agrippina II, was NOT evil damnit-- and yes, we had to write an essay about whether or not she was EVIL, a term that is NEVER applied to the male figures in Roman history, and a term that is best discussed in terms of philosophy and literature, NOT history, damnit, it still makes me mad! )
Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000
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What are some traits of a "good" teacher? A good teacher for me is one who is entertaining for sure and interact with students. One who like devoting his time to the students and is willing to devote some periods of time to offer help to students who needs it. It is also one who is fair and doesn't have favorites and doesn't judge students.
Teachers who are fun and bring up sarcastic remarks are also great, always good to add some humor to school works even more when it is boring.
Who was your favorite teacher, and why?
Well I had a lot of them. But there is one in particular I really liked. He invited us all once to the restaurant and paid for all our meal at one time. He was this cool. Even more when it adds up to about 200 $ and more. And he gave/offered me rides too although it might have been a bit uncomfortable at times.
But those are not the big reasons why I liked him, don't worry.
I also had a lot of things in common in terms mostly of personnality and things like that. So I could let's say identify with him a lot and I know it really helped me.
What makes a teacher "bad"?
A bad teacher for me is one who doesn't have any empathy for the students. It can also be one who is never free/doesn't devote his time to answer questions we may have or judge us inappropriatly.
Who was your "worst" teacher, and why?
The worst teacher I had were in fifth grade (11-12 years-old). The teacher was totally physically abusive with boys who got into trouble by doing innapropriate things such as getting into fights and such. The teacher was just really agressive with them and he used force, yelled at them and I remember several times he pushed guys to the walls and held their arms way too firmly. Totally innapropriate !
And with us, girls, he was ok, meaning not using force, but he was like sort of looking innapropriatly at girls. We didn't really want to get too close to him. He was too freaky.
With that teacher we, girls, and boys just were on alert like at every time thinking he might do something innappropriate again. He eventually got kicked out of his position since people told the direction about it.
What makes a teacher good? Well, I think the most important quality a teacher should have is a real, visible passion for the subject they teach. Honestly, in my experience, even if you have a teacher that isn't that likeable a person, it's still hard not to have a good time in their class if they get excited about the subject. That excitement is just catching. Also, I think a teacher needs to be able to connect to students. They should respect the students and that fact that they're actually people, and really care about each and every one of them. If the teacher doesn't connect and doesn't care about the students, then the students will have no respect for him or her, and will resent having to be in their class and not want to do the work. I know that I work the hardest and am the most motivated in classes where I like the teacher. For instance, I absolutely adore and respect my History teacher this year. He's one of the most intelligent, interesting people I've ever met. He's brilliant at presenting the material in a way that I can understand it, and he makes class interesting with loads of little relevant anecdotes and games and a clever sense of humour. He expects so much out of us as students, like he sees us as competent young adults and not just apathetic teenagers. Because of that, I work my rear end off in his class, trying to gain his approval. I'm not that good at History, but I am passionate about it, and I love it all the more because of my teacher this year. And even though he's the hardest Freshman History teacher at my school, I'm actually doing well in his class, because I like him and I want to work hard so he likes me.
On the flip side, a bad teacher is one who doesn't care about their students or the subject, just plain isn't good about the subject, and/or is cruel or abusive. I have been blessed all my life with amazing teachers (I live in an area with a really fantastic public school system, and there are very few bad teachers there), and I didn't have a truly bad teacher until eighth grade. My eighth grade science teacher was a horrible, horrible woman. She sneered at you when you asked her a question, and then sent you away without even giving you an answer. She hardly ever spoke to us, except the day before a test, when she would lecture for the full period with a powerpoint, and yell at us if we took our eyes off the projector. She used to talk all the time about how much she hated her job and hated teenagers. Her daughter was in my grade and had her for a teacher, and she completely favoured her daughter's friends and was especially snotty to people who weren't on good terms with her daughter (myself included). She just had this petulant, hateful personality. It was terrible.
Willing to admit when s/he didn't know something. (And to point you to books or people who might know.) That marked the two absolute best teachers I ever knew. If you've got a teacher who will do that, it makes up for a multitude of defects.
The very best was teaching a subject not hers (Bio teacher teaching Chem), finished the entire curriculum two weeks before end of term, and the students did better at the state-mandated tests than the students with the regular chem teacher (who wasn't bad). Plus, very relaxing class, fair amount of off-curriculum student-chosen material. Astounding.
Math teacher who put wrong computations on the chalkboard, and then was hostile and refused to be corrected when they were pointed out. This is *math*, it's not as if it was debatable. Should certainly have been retired long ago, as I suspect she had become senile; this class probably made math-phobics out of hundreds of otherwise perfectly good math students.
English teacher who, in middle school, assigned homework containing literally impossible requirements like "Use this word in a sentence in a way which makes it absolutely clear what it means, but without defining it" (and she interpreted "definining it" very loosely and "absolutely clear" very strictly) -- assigned other homework which, while not impossible, would have been difficult for graduate school students (according to a college professor). To top it off she would have fits of rage and yell at students. Weirdly, in a different class where she was not allowed to assign homework, she was OK.
High school teacher who completely lost control of the class very early; rest of class spent the year causing trouble, throwing things at me and the one other person who actually wanted to learn anything, all of us learned nothing, and largely forgot the previous year's material. Godawful.
Then there was the teacher who, in response to my asking a few questions on the first day, invented a list of 'insubordination' charges and sent me to the vice-principal's office the second day as I was walking in. My dad really blew up at the vice-principal and the teacher for that one and I ended up in another class almost immediately, but that's another "should have been fired" case.
At least I avoided the physically abusive teachers....
There were a lot of teachers in between these extremes, most of whom I'd call "good but not great". They answered questions: if not always very well, at least they tried; they basically knew what they were talking about; and they really wanted all their students to learn.
The worst thing is that the other teachers in the department often know about the bad ones, but they won't tell you. Until *after* you tell them that the teacher is a walking disaster -- then they just might confirm it, but they'll never tell you in advance. This was the case with two of the four above: everyone knew, but nobody would tell the students.
Posts: 37 | From: USA | Registered: Nov 2004
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