With my high school years behind me, I would like to reverse roles a bit and offer some advice to teachers. My senior year, I had one of my best teachers ever. Her name was Mrs. Jacob. The area where she excelled the most was in making math interesting and making her students motivated and interested in learning more about math. Some nights, I would look forward to doing my math homework as I first, struggled through ridiculous grammar exercises. I always looked forward to my math class. Mrs. Jacob used a creative approach to math, she kept a well disciplined class, and she connected with each and every student in her class.
Unfortunately, the truth is that our public schools are doing a worse job that most parents would dare to imagine. Not only are most of our high school students completely unprepared for college, the reality is that most of them have not even been equipped with the necessary skills they need to function at a very basic level in the real world. In the Steve Perry book, Push Has Come To Shove , Perry covers the full range of issue holding back today’s students.
He states “some teachers are lazy, that they go through the same sorry ass lessons for twenty years” and “ teachers who think that Monday is the worst day of the week and Friday the best”. A lot of these teachers are not taking the responsibility that is expected of them. They need to understand that many students do not have the guidance they should have. The teachers and the parents need to step up their game and not give up on students that are having trouble with their education. However, we cannot just blame the schools. Many students are lazy, over-extended and discouraged about school.
Many students have very few skills to contribute to society, especially after they graduate from high school. It is a national disgrace. The Mike Rose essay, I Just Wanna be Average tells the story about some of the author’s throughout high school. When he was a freshmen, he accidentally got placed into a vocational program. Instead pf putting up a fight to try to get out of it, he made the best of his situation. Rose states “students will float to the mark you set” It is clear in Rose’s essay that the Vocational Track housed the more unruly and unmotivated students.
The question is: why did these students decide not to put effort into their school work? The answer? Look to their teachers. In Rose’s essay, Ken Harvey says he just wants to be average. He believes himself to be below average, and once someone is told, enough times, that he or she is not capable or knows that a teacher expects little from that student, the student begins to believe it. He performs at the lower level expected of him. To successfully engage students in a subject, creativity is paramount. Sure, a teacher can take repacked material and efficiently transmit it.
But, to be a great teacher, he or she needs to know how to develop creative lesson plans and projects. He or she needs to have an arsenal of techniques and also to be a problem-solver. Perry states that students want to be “entertained. ” If the teacher bores them in a conversation they would decide not to pay attention. That is why teachers need to be creative with their lesson plans. For example, Mrs. Jacob, my senior math teacher , always showed us creative ways to solve a math problem. She showed us different techniques so the students could choose which technique they liked better.
She always found creative ways to engage us. Limitations can be a good thing to motivate creativity. In creative teaching, assignment limitations provide a way to change the student’s work habits. When a student isn’t allowed to repeat a familiar pathway into the work, additional creative effort is expended to succeed. As long as the difficulty level is reasonable, new learning happens. Creative teachers make mistakes, but they also search for ways to overcome mistakes. Each time they try something, they review the outcomes and try to imagine ways to make improvements.
An effective teacher will teach students to be responsible and respectful to both their peers and to their teachers. If there were no discipline, people would do what they wanted and make mistakes without putting the consideration of others first. A teacher will demand that his rules are clear and that, if they do not follow the rules, clear consequences go into motion. For example , when I was at my Catholic high school, teachers made their expectations for behavior crystal clear, which led to organized and well behaved students.
When I was late to class, my teachers would make sure I will stay after school and clean up the rooms or they would send me to room 114 to have a long talk with the vice principal to get additional consequence from him. They also did not allow students that were graduating to just have average grades. The students needed to prove to them that they want their diploma. I feel that every high school should be that way. The truth is that there are some teachers who abuse the discipline process sending every student who is even slightly out of line to the office.
In I just Wonna be Average, Rose states “ his teachers act like they could care less about teaching their students and, instead use physical violence or lack of lessons plans to control them. ” Teachers should find different ways to control their student and not just by giving them lesson plans to control them. That will not work. In the Vocational track, especially, they should know how to handle these students. The key is earning respect. Respect will go a long way in being a strong disciplinarian. No teacher will have success in classroom unless he or she connects with students.
Teachers who have a caring relationship with students are academically more successful . A caring teacher can transform the school experience, especially for students who face enormous difficulties, such as dropping out or dysfunctional home lives. Carl T Rowan’s essay Unforgettable Miss Bessie tells the story about his former high school teacher , Miss Bessie, and how her teachings had deeper meaning than just the subjects she taught in class. Mrs. Bessie states “Carl, never frets about what you don’t have. Just make the most of what you do have. -a brain” Since she knew Carl was not wealthy ,she had that connection with him.
She taught Carl never to be bothered by what he did not have. Miss Bessie made a big impact on Carl’s life. Miss Bessie was an important factor in his life because she gave him the push and motivation he needed to succeed the way he did. She was influential to many students and to Carl in particular. Teachers should be mentors that shape the characters of their students to prepare for the society. These teachers would want their student to achieve in life no matter what situation they are in. I had a great connection with my math teacher; I was able to talk to her about things especially when my grandmother died.
I was so depressed, that I did not want to do a thing. She was the type of teacher who would not cut down homework because you had problems, but she gave me extra time to do it. She would always be there to help you after school or even before school. That’s why having a connection with the teacher is always best because if the teacher really does care, just like Miss Bessie. Such a teacher would do anything to help you as long as you care and are willing to pass the course. In the modern approach to education , good teaching is becoming increasingly important and a teacher can make a tremendous impact on a students education.
While students’ test scores have become an indicator of practices and it is possible to identify who the very good teachers are and who the poor teachers are the caring attitude of some teachers makes them rise above the others. Mrs. Jacob fell into that category, she would continue to inspire students the way they should be and always be right their when students need her for any sort of way not just the subjects she teaches. Now an days we need teachers like Mrs. Jacob so students could achieve more in their academics and in life itself.
Courtney from Study Moose
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