Ha! You thought I was going to name names, didn’t you? Admit it. OK, maybe I should have titled this one, “Five types of teachers I do not like.” Hey, I taught for 30 years. I saw all kinds. Let us proceed.
I don’t like teachers who …
THINK KIDS AREN’T FUNNY
Fact: Kids are hysterical. Still, I can’t tell you how many times I watched as a kid would say something funny and some buzzkill teacher would roll her/his eyes and yell at the kid for being a smart ass. Newsflash: Kids are hilarious. I don’t think there was a day I even got to my room before some kid’s goofy antics or remark cracked me up. Never stopped for 30 years, I swear. And if a student knew that I thought he was funny it was over. Kid could get away with murder. What can I say? I’m weak when it comes to a good laugh.
COMPLAIN ABOUT KIDS
Here’s the deal. You chose education as a profession. Gripe about your principal, gripe about your school board, gripe about your room, but don’t gripe about kids. If you didn’t know what you were getting into you weren’t paying attention. Teaching involves dealing with kids. Some of them are idiots. If you don’t like it go lay asphalt for a living. No kids to worry about there. Otherwise, shut it.
THINK THAT GIVING BAD GRADES MAKES THEM A GOOD TEACHER
I’ve never understood this. I actually heard a teacher say this once about a kid who’d received A’s all his life, “Well, we’ll see how he does in MY class.” Seriously, some teachers think that the more kids they fail, the better teacher they are. That’s backwards, right? Isn’t the point to get your students to understand the material and, you know, pass? Wouldn’t the perfect teacher’s students all receive A’s? New teachers, don’t be embarrassed if your kids do well. That only means you’re doing your job. That nasty teacher down the hall who only gave four A’s in a class of 25 is the one who is a failure.
THINK ‘FUN’ IS BAD WORD
Note to aspiring teachers. It’s OK for laughter to emanate from your classroom. Having fun does not equate with not learning. In fact, I’d argue that the opposite is true. Having fun equals more learning. I once had a parent tell my dad, “Boy, Jeff really loves school this year. He really loves your son’s class.” My dad’s response to me? “Hey Dave, you’re teaching, right? You’re not just having a party in there, are ya?” Uh, no, but thanks for the support, dad! Anyway, be proud if it sounds like you’re having a party in there. Also, leave your door open so the fun hating teachers can hear the laughter. That drives ’em crazy.
TALK DOWN TO KIDS
I had a student teacher in my 5th Grade class a few years ago who came in and started talking to them like they were babies, saying stuff in a child-like voice such as, “Now children, get out your books and turn to page 157. We’re going to learn about slavery today! Are you excited? Can anyone explain what slavery was?” She then had 23-kids looking blankly at her, then to me, then back to her. She’d lost them five minutes in, all because she treated them like little kids. Listen, it doesn’t matter that they are little kids, because they think they’re adults. Treat them as such and they’ll usually respond. If they don’t you take another route, but you always give them that respect in the beginning, and if they respond you build on it. Believe me, the best elementary teachers I’ve ever seen talk to their students like they talk to their peers. Hey, I wouldn’t lie to ya.
So there ya go. Sure, I could name names of teachers I didn’t like, but that would just be cruel. Besides, they probably know who they are. As for administrators, I got along with all of them.
But that blog is for another day.
Dave Shoemaker is a retired teacher, athletic director and basketball coach with most of his professional years spent at Paint Valley. He also served as the national basketball coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. He lives in Southern Ohio with his best friends and companions, his dogs Sweet Lilly and Hank. He can be reached at https://shoeuntied.wordpress.com/.