Teachers


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Teachers are like Sour Patch kids. First they're sour, then they are sweet leave a bad taste in your mouth.

 

These people are supposed to fill you with knowledge and help you become a well-rounded member of society in a way. Teachers are the only other adults besides your parents that you see on a regular basis. You spend ten months, give or take, with them...sadly. This is why they have some influence on us as we grow older.

 

I dislike science. My brain does not function in a scienc-y way. I'd like to think I define nonscience- "They answer questions which need answering but for which we have no scientific answers." Every teacher I have had that has taught me the subject doesn't seem to understand this because they have science brains; it comes easy to them. I feel as though most of them think that they know the answers to everything because they know science and put the rest of us down. This has made my dislike for science turn to dislike for teachers.

 

This article talks about a study of 100 students that covers their reasons for certain majors. They note that income is a major factor, but that "Faculty can positively or negatively influence student taste for a field -- some compelling teachers can get students engaged in fields that they previously disliked, while other, more uncharismatic faculty can alienate students from entire bodies of knowledge, sometimes permanently."

 

That last line could not ring any more true to my ears. I feel like my previous teachers have made it hell to understand condensation and how to balance an equation that now I have it in my head that all science is hard and my #1 enemy. This article notes that "An effect for teacher-student relationship quality assessed in kindergarten on achievement is found up to 8 years later, controlling for relevant baseline child characteristics". This is the foundation to our learning pyramid and maybe the reason I have never liked a teacher that has made the subject feel like every day lessons rather than solving a rubix cube with mittens on.

 

Taking this course, I thought maybe this would finally change since I was told this was a course for non-science majors taught by a cool teacher. Well...no, here I am again hating this course as well. It has nothing to do with Andrew himself, but maybe just what is expected out of us as well as my previous experience in science classes. I like the idea of us picking what topics interest us, but I have yet to learn anything because these topics get twisted into puzzles of facts I do not understand.

 

This goes back to my point that maybe science oriented people are more likely to understand the subject better and don't truly understand the struggles of those of us who see the course as climbing Mt. Everest. Having high expectations is great because it means they think highly of us, but how much is this affecting our views on the people teaching the subject?

 

I read an article about the relationships between teachers and their first grade students and their achievements. Although, we are not in first grade anymore, I wanted to read about how teachers influence kids of all ages. But one thing stuck out to me in the writing, "Rather than attribute poor grades or low test scores to faults within students or to deficits in their backgrounds, responsible teachers attribute much of the cause to their own efforts and behavior. At its best, responsibility represents a teacher's commitment to make learning happen for her students." Pure genius.

 

Instead of teachers calling us out about our bad grades or telling us how disappointed they are that we did not do well on an exam, they should be asking themselves what else they can do to make the material easier to learn. It is not entirely our fault that we don't understand their crazy concepts. It is, however, their job to make it relatable to us since after all, they are the ones who went to school to master the concepts.

 

Negative feedback has been a reason I have struggled with the subject. It has also made me dislike the people who teach me science. It feels like every single encounter I have had with it, someone has been there to stomp on me and remind me how bad I am at it. The discouraging grades from my teachers have also been a huge part on why I dread taking science classes. I once thought I wanted to be an architect till I looked at the course requirements and a good of it was science. But I am not the only one who changed her mind, according to this article, 40% of science/math majors end up switching to a different degree.

 

I hope one day my kids can be taught by people who think like them. I don't think there is anything worse in school than feeling like you've already failed because of your teacher alone.

 

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4 Comments

"I like the idea of us picking what topics interest us, but I have yet to learn anything because these topics get twisted into puzzles of facts I do not understand."

It sounds to me like you just don't understand the topics you are choosing. But I do agree with you on the point that teachers have a big impact on their students, whether it's their grade in the classroom or even their life after school. This study conducted by economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia suggests that teachers who have a high VA (meaning that the average test score for his/her students is high, accounting for improvements on prior test scores) are more likely to have a long lasting impact on their students. These students tend to be more likely to go to college, make more money, live in nicer neighborhoods, etc.

Although teachers can only do so much for a student, it has been correlated that a teacher's effort and good-teaching can result in better grades and even a better life for the student. Therefore, it is very important for a teacher to do their job well and do everything they can to help their students learn.

Palmira,

I could not agree more with you on this post! I was never… and will never be a science type of person. HIgh school science was hell for me. I never learned anything and the classes were impossible for me. Which is why, when coming into college I made sure that I picked a major that had nothing to do with science. What really bugs me is that I picked this major, and I am still required to take science classes…. which I still find myself struggling in. Like you, I picked this class because I heard it was for non science majors, but I sit there taking the exam asking myself "what the heck does this even mean" and then I sit in class and hear that people bang out 100s on the exam and can't help but ask myself what I'm doing wrong. Teachers do have a huge impact on their students, in fact I still talk to a few of my high school teachers who I became very close with. I feel that all students should a good relationship with a teacher because that will help them learn!

Palmira, I couldn't have put this better myself. I don't have a personal problem with any of my science teachers, it's just that I don't understand any of it and there's literally no help for me. I like facts. I'd like to leave the exploration and formulas and studies to those who are truly interested in them! I have appreciation of science and scientific work, but I will never like or love science like Andrew wants us to. I think teachers need to be more realistic, and not so formal. They need to prove to the students that they see them as equals. Or maybe try to treat us as equals most of the time. Just because we may not be educated in a certain field as much as a teacher does not mean we are below them.

In high school I had an anatomy class and the teacher hated me from the very beginning, she never treated the class as equals and was the most formal class in high school I ever had. I hate that in college we're required to take classes that are not relevant to our majors. I understand they want us to have a well rounded education but we waste time and our efforts on classes that aren't going to help us with our major. I like Andrew and they way teach he teaches his class but I will never enjoy science. I completely agree that teachers need to try and make an impact on us so we can really understand the matter because if they can't passionately teach it, why should we passionately care to learn it?

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