by William Clark
School is a necessary endeavor that almost everyone is forced to endure. It teaches students to work hard, do their best, and prepare for life outside of the classroom. But school has its drawbacks, and one of those drawbacks is teachers. Now, not all teachers are bad: most are hardworking, knowledgeable, and dynamic. But there are some teachers who seem to be under the impression that their students are only taking one class, which happens to be theirs. Others seem intent on teaching material that feels irrelevant to everyone, and some teach in a style that is less than exciting.
Many teachers seem to be under the impression that their students have only one class in their schedule. They load up their students with hours of homework, from reading in a textbook and writing essays to completing long complicated math problems. Now, this would be fine if this was the only class their students were taking, but it is not. They seem to forget that students are balancing seven other classes with teachers of a similar mindset and that in order to graduate you need four years of credits all from different subjects. On top of this, many students are also balancing work, sports and other extracurricular activities. So, teachers listen up, your class is not the only one your students are taking and, though important it is not the only thing in their lives.
Other teachers seem intent on teaching material that seems irrelevant with no explanation of how students can apply this new topic. Many of the things taught in a classroom are relevant to a post highschool education and future career, but it’s hard for high schoolers to see that now. Most students don’t see their dad using force diagrams to solve for the normal force of an object or see their mom factoring an expression to solve for the x-intercepts. The truth is that many students won’t use what they learned in math and science in their careers, but there are a number who will. Great teachers not only teach concepts but also their application. If I knew that a lawyer has to make claims and support his argument with evidence it may motivate me to pay a little bit better attention in English. Or if I knew that an architect uses trigonometry I would definitely listen a lot more in math.
The worst of all is the teacher that teaches in the most boring unimaginative way possible. Nothing is worse, and trust me I know, than walking into a classroom and having a teacher read straight from their power point in a monotone voice. Instead of most of the class learning, most of the class will take a nap. I once had a science teacher who literally never said a word. All he did was write on the board with his back turned to the class expecting that the students would follow his cue and simply copy what he was writing down. This was not the case. Instead of everyone sitting quietly taking notes, the class was chaos. Paper airplanes flew, students talked, and most just got out their phones and texted. If that teacher had been able to think a little bit outside the box he could have turned that class into a positive experience in which all the students learned.
As I have complained about certain teachers that, shall we say are less than exciting, you may think that I believe that all teachers are bad. But this is not the case. I have had multiple teachers who have changed my perspective on certain subjects and helped me throughout my life. One of those teachers was my ninth grade biology teacher, Ms. Thompson. Ms. Thompson always came to class with a smile and was enthusiastic and excited to teach. All her lessons engaged the class and were accompanied by stories relating to what we were learning. She also gave us opportunities to learn “hands on” with trips to Timpanogos Cave and Snow Canyon. As she taught, I began to look forward to class and to enjoy science. In addition to Ms. Thompson, I have had other teacher who have put in the work in order to make class enjoyable and who have made an effort to be available to students outside of the scheduled class time.
So, if teachers remember that their students have more than one class, make an effort to include real world applications for students’ newfound knowledge outside of the classroom, and teach in an exciting, engaging way, school will be a much more enjoyable place. These complaints are relevant in many classrooms today, and I believe that as teachers work to fix them they can will make a difference in the attitude and success of their students.