On a recent online discussion forum for my AP English classes, students described teacher traits that frustrated them. Listed in order of most frustrating to frustrating, here are the top characteristics or teacher traits that trouble my high school seniors.
- Negative views of teaching or their jobs
Students repeatedly expressed the idea that teachers who hate their jobs should find other jobs. (Please see Sunday’s post for more about this student frustration: Teachers Who Hate Teaching
- Busy Work and Lack of Variety in Class Activities
Students are disturbed by assignments that do not build their skills or knowledge. I wonder if the work they abhor is truly “busy work” or if teachers just need to do a better job of explaining the purpose of assignments to students.
Students are exasperated by teachers who belittle, disparage or demean them. Instead of supporting them, students feel that some teachers treat them with condescension.
- Lack of knowledge
Teachers who teach straight from textbooks frustrate students because they often are unable to answer student questions in greater detail than what is provided in the textbook, nor do they apply lessons to the real world or to examples outside the textbook.
- No Interest in students
According to students, some teachers make little effort to get to know their students, know little about what students do outside of class, and, unbelievably, some teachers make little effort to even learn the names of their students.
- Reluctance to answer student questions
In some classes students are rebuked for asking questions. According to students, some teachers belittle students and state they should already know the answer to a question or the teacher cannot answer questions with clarity. This appears to be a by-product of two other frustrations: teacher arrogance and/or teachers’ lack of knowledge.
Students reported that some teachers do not care about their students, their classes, or the activities within a class. Students very quickly determined that if the teacher didn’t care about the class, they shouldn’t care either.
Also mentioned: frustration over lack of good work ethic in some teachers (slow in grading or teachers make few marks on papers so students don’t know what to do to improve) and frustration with teachers who show favoritism
Even though students had no trouble explaining teacher traits that frustrated them, almost all students prefaced their statements by expressing their respect for teachers and underscoring that most of their teachers have been well-prepared, caring, knowledgeable, and often inspirational.
Please see yesterday’s post for Teacher Traits Students Appreciate