"Bad" teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sshintaku, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Sep 30, 2010

    I had a student come into my class livid yesterday. He's having problems with his math teacher, and feels like she isn't teaching them anything, but expects them to be able to do the homework. He's angry because he promised himself he would get good grades and do all his work this year, but he is unable to do his math work because he doesn't understand.

    I asked if he approached her to explain his problems, and he said that he told her she needed to change the way she explained things because no one is understanding what she's trying to teach. I've had other students in the past complain about the same exact problem with this particular teacher, and struggle in her class for the same reasons. Even my "A" students have expressed similar complaints.

    My question is, what would you do if a student approached you and said he's not learning? I'm sure other students have done the same in the past, and it doesn't seem like anything is changed.
     
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  3. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Sep 30, 2010

    My first question to the student would be "What are you not understanding?" Once I knew what area (s)he is struggling with the most, then I know what I need to focus on.

    If they didn't understand the material the first time I covered, then I obviously need to do something different. Last year, when I did my ST, I began my first unit on the Pythagorean Theorem. It didn't take long to realize the kids just were NOT getting the concept at ALL. I asked the CT if there was a better way for me to explain it and she said "No, you're doing fine. It just takes them a few days of instruction and practice before this starts to click". Soooooo, I spent about 2 weeks on it, trying different exercises and also looking online for other ways to present the idea. After about 1 week, most of the students were starting to understand it.

    I might know my content inside out, but if I can't EXPLAIN that concept to my students, then I'm not a good teacher. I had a couple of professors like that. They were absolutely brilliant mathematicians, but they were SO smart, they had a very hard time bringing the material down to our level because it was so simple to them.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 30, 2010

    I would take what is being said with a grain of salt. There is a biology teacher in my district that has the same reputation with the students. Kids are frustrated almost all semester because she doesn't 'teach' them. She doesn't believe in doing more work than the kids during instructional time. She makes study guides for the chapters and leads them through the work but lectures very little. Because she doesn't stand in front of a powerpoint with direct instruction every day they see her as slacking off. When in reality she is putting the ball in their court. My own daughter had her and complained much like the other students. She ended up with a 98 on the state test. Now my daughter realizes that not only did she learn the subject, she learned HOW to learn from her teacher. It was frustrating for some because they were used to having the info spoon-fed to them.

    My own students get irritated when I won't answer every question for them. If they can't find an answer right away they start whining and tell me that I'm the teacher - it is my job to tell them the answer. Nope - it is my job to help them learn. Big difference.

    As far as approaching someone about the teacher's style - I wouldn't. I like to think that teachers have a united front when it comes to students. I don't allow complaining or gossiping about staff in my classroom. If you really want to know what is going on, observe the classroom. But I don't think it is your place to get involved. What good could you really do?

    Instead, you might make yourself available as a tutor. You can mention it to the other teacher and find out what topics are being covered and say you are making yourself avaiable to ALL math students who might need some extra help. And then be there for ALL of them, even those from other teachers.
     
  5. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Sep 30, 2010

    I would in no way approach this teacher; I was just wondering what other teacher's opinions on this might be. I don't honestly know whether or not I would try to change anything if students complained about my teaching, because it's true, they complain if they have to work.

    I don't allow gossip either, but I have had students approach me to discuss their problems and get advice on what they should do. It's definitely not a ***** session about other teachers.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 30, 2010

    Know that every teacher is going to have some kids who mesh and some who don't. The ones who get along probably aren't coming to you to talk about it.

    I would suggest he and his friends go to another math teacher for extra help-- maybe to help translate the notes of the classroom teacher. That serves 2 purposes-- it gets them the help they need, and it gets someone in the math department to realize there's a problem.

    Would you be comfortable going to the math department chair and sharing what you've heard? If nothing else, it would give him a heads up in case the phone calls start from parents.

    In any event, having him go to another teacher is no big deal. I spent a good 20 minutes yesterday with another teacher's student (she stopped back in this morning before homeroom) then a good half hour this afternoon with the student of another teacher. Again, no one in my school has an issue with helping another teacher's student.

    Sometimes an alternate explanation is all that's necessary.
     
  7. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Oct 2, 2010

    I would suggest sending any complaining students to the guidance counselor to request a schedule change. They may not get the schedule change, but it might get the people who can actually do something about the situation thinking.

    It gets you out of the middle of a very awkward position, that's for darn sure.
     
  8. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2010

    Yea... I did tell him to go to the counselor, but as our school is in an upheaval now, most students have just now (on the 4th week of school) gotten their final schedules. :/
     

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