The prompt today asks, “What makes a great teacher?”
And how the hell, pray tell, should I know?
I mean, I am a teacher, and I am far from being “great,” if we’re to go right ahead and use such a blatantly subjective term, one that’s been hijacked by politicos and school boards in charge of equating good teaching with high standardized test scores. Seriously, these days, what does “great” entail exactly?
Here’s what I think — There is a single quality that one must have if he or she even considers becoming a decent teacher:
For the things one must endure may consist of any or all of the following:
1. Some students will forget their textbooks or will not have been able to purchase or rent their textbooks.
2. Some students will conveniently forget any writing tools, like pens and paper.
3. Some students will conveniently forget their homework assignments. Some due to apathy; others due to an already stressful workload.
4. Some students won’t bother reading what’s assigned, so they will be ill-equipped to discuss anything at all during class.
5. Some students will conveniently forget any and all instructions given. This will show in their assignments. Sometimes, this will show up again and again and again and again and…
6. Some students will blame their bad grades on your teaching. Even worse, some will blame their inability to comprehend anything on you.
7. Some students will be the most creative, inventive, amazing individuals you’ll ever meet, but they won’t be able to coherently communicate their ideas in writing. You will stress over this every night of the term, causing you to lose sleep and any semblance of sanity you may have once had in a previous lifetime.
8. Some students are often absent. Some have horrible tragedies happen, which will require you to be extra diligent. Some are absent just because and will later be outraged that you had the absolute audacity to let them go.
9. Some students need after-hours tutoring that you will not be able to adequately provide. This will also keep you up at night. You will then find yourself investing in box after box of Unisom.
10. Some students will just totally loathe you for doing your job. They will display their outrage passive-aggressively, under anonymity, on various teacher-rating websites and student evaluations of instruction. This will keep you up at night, too, because all you’ve ever want to do is do this…and do this well.
There are many more issues one will have to deal with upon entering a profession that’s been continuously demeaned, debased, demoralized, degraded…dehumanized…by those who just have no idea, no way of empathizing whatsoever.
When one realizes this, that patience really comes in handy.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “We Can Be Taught!.”