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Monday, June 1, 2015

7 Teachers You Don’t Want To Have

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All the studying in the world doesn’t help if you have the wrong set of teachers. Actually… that’s not true. All the studying in the world is what you need if you’re stuck with a miserable teacher teaching the subject. A good teacher makes a huge difference on your final grade for a few different reasons.

The first reason is a reason I’ve mentioned a number of times on this blog. Some teachers give easy A’s and some teachers rarely ever give them. Every teachers makes their class a little bit different in difficulty. Sometimes, you can just switch teachers and see a dramatic improvement in your grades.

The second reason is a bad teacher can kill motivation. It’s tough enough to study most subjects. If you have a teacher that drives you nuts then you’re never going to be able to focus and learn as much during class. That means you’ll need to spend more time outside of class catching up.

The third reason is one that I rarely mention because it’s kind of a given. Some teachers are good at teaching. Others are bad. Some teachers are good at teaching people like you. Others are not. These differences completely change the dynamics of a classroom situation.

Here are 7 teachers you don’t want to have teacher your class:

The Complainer


I can remember a slew of these teachers during high school. There I was getting dragged into a class I didn’t want to have to go to (I hated high school) and some teachers still insisted on sharing how depressing their own life was.

If the class was a little noisy the teacher would go on a massive aggressive or passive aggressive rant about why the students should listen. Sure, the students should listen but when with 9 out of 10 teachers the students do listen, the teacher never considers they might be the one with the problem.

It’s a teachers job to get the student to care about the material. If the students don’t care about the material, of course, they’re not going to listen. This is common sense. Perhaps instead of complaining about how tough your life is, you should learn from the evidence the students are presenting.

Of course, that’s not nearly as bad as the teachers that come into school complaining about their personal lives. “Oh! I don’t get paid enough!’ Then shut up and get a new job. Students don’t control your paycheck. In fact, it’s none of their damn business. “Oh… my wife and I were arguing,” You are paid to educate people; not talk about yourself.


Monotone Lecturer


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It’s like some teachers actively try to be as boring as possible. Really… I can’t talk as boring as a monotone lecturer even when I’m trying really hard. The natural intonations of my voice  end up slipping through as I’m trying to sound as boring as these teachers.

When a teacher goes through his or her lesson with a monotone voice, you can make a few assumptions with a high degree of accuracy. First, they don’t care about the students. Everyone knows that monotone lecturing sucks. Second, they don’t care about the subject. Passion leaks through when you care about something. Third, they are likely bored to death with their own life. I imagine they must go full breaking bad during their free time just to stay sane. Fourth, they don’t update their lessons often. So much for improving the lesson plan every year, these folks tend to teach the same crap, year in and year out, whether it works well or not.

Avoid monotone lecturers.

PowerPoint Pros


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No… Put away that powerpoint. I know how attractive it looks but don’t do it.

The sad truth is that 99% of people blow at powerpoint presentations. Sure, I’ve seen a couple good ones in my life but it’s such a subtle balance that most people would be miles better off by just lecturing the subject.

There are a ton of mistakes that can be made on powerpoints. One of the most common is the walls of text. Really… what is the point of putting a wall of text on a powerpoint and reading it? Most people that read the text off the powerpoint would rather you shut up. Most people don’t actually read the text and just wait for you to finish reading it. So, what is the point of it?

You have one of the most advanced technologies in history. You could build animations, show pictures, show graphs, and all kinds of other things but there you are building a book projected on a screen that’s so brightly lit that it’s a little painful to even read off of.

Sure, pointless animations are another common problem. If it’s not actually related to the subject then you’re just being weird.


Politicizer


Man… teachers should not bring politics into the classroom. People like to pretend classrooms are a place for free and open discussion of the topics but that’s a couple lie in 99% of the cases. For that reason, most teachers shouldn’t even pretend it’s a free open discussion. It’s better if they just stick tightly to the educational information.

If you end up learning the political leanings of a teacher in a classroom during a class that isn’t related to politics heavily (history, political sciences, etc.) then you can almost instantly assume that teacher is an idiot. It doesn’t even matter if they agree or disagree with you. They’re stupid just to bring the subject up.

When a teacher shares certain beliefs with you, it can affect the education in two ways. It can affect their treatment of you and it can affect your treatment of them. Either way, unless both parties are mature (No… they’re not) then this will lead to problems or perceived problems in the classroom.

Center Of Your Universe


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Some teachers seem to think that their class happens to be what you dream about at night. They think that you go home and study the subject for three hours with a huge smile on your face. They think all their student’s lives are going to revolve around their subject in the future. That’s why they insist on giving you so much work on their subject so you have no time to spend on any other subject.

These teachers are absolutely insane. Don’t take classes from them. They will make you waste hundreds of hours on pointless activities on the subject. Sure, you may learn a ton about that subject but you’ll be sacrificing sanity, other grades, and things that are actually important to your life for what will most likely be a relatively pointless grade.

Conform Or D(ie)


Sometimes getting the right answer isn’t enough for a teacher. You have to use their specific methodology to get that answer. Sure, in some subjects like math, that’s actually kind of important. But even in subjects like that teachers can get insane.

I remember having a math teacher deduct points for me not writing down a super easy addition problem that came right after a super tough algebra problem while following her specifications perfectly up to that point. “Oh… well… if you don’t write down the no-brainers then your not showing ALL your work.” Oh please… there is no productive value to excessive writing stuff down when it’s been locked in your brain for 10 years. Sure, it’s a little stupid but at least there is a little sanity to this.

Some teachers go as far as forcing subjective strategies on all of their students work. Despite it being their personal preference they’re willing to knock off points just for doing it the slightest bit differently.

Let’s face it. People don’t think the same way. People aren’t all the exact same. Some people require different strategies than others. A teacher forcing a strategy on you is also forcing you not to use a strategy that works well for you.

Grade Curvers


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I know… I know.... Some students love grading on a curve. Some students hate it. It usually comes down to how much it has helped or hurt them in the past.

If a teacher is insanely difficult then a grade curve can seriously improve the average students grade. If a teacher is easy then it can seriously hurt the average students grade. Of course, it gets more complex than that though.

What about the students? If you have a classroom full of smarter students, you’re going to be in a bad position. You’d suddenly have to compete to get higher grades. If you have a classroom full of lazy students then you don’t have to compete as much.

From most of what I suggested from my piles of articles on this blog, you might be thinking, “this sounds like an exploitable situation.” By getting in classes with grade curving  teachers and a bunch of idiots, you could end up getting straight A’s without much work. In theory that’s wonderful but in practice, that’s impossible (at least as far as I’ve tried. I also caused the school to fix an exploit in their website allowing. Oops…)

Ultimately grading curves just introduce a ton of really hard to control variables into the equation. Avoid them as much as possible.  You can’t control who you’re in a class with. You can only control your own success or failure and which situations you put yourself in.


Sure, some of these teachers may not be your pet peeves but this is a pretty good list of my major ones. It’s mostly to remind you: Don’t take classes without teachers you like. Honestly… it’s a huge factor. In fact, I would pick the hardest teacher of a subject if I truly liked the teacher. It helps during every second of the learning process. In the same respect, I would avoid a teacher I didn’t like even if they were an easy A. Is that productive for my grades? I don’t know but I just think life is too short to waste with people I don’t enjoy being around.

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