Friday, April 7, 2017
Like I’ve said in nearly every blog I’ve published to this day, so many factors contribute to making a class good or bad. I’ve even tried to cover a lot of the aspects so that teachers can perfect their class for their students. All of these factors are important to building a connection with the students and forming a better class, but they all pale in comparison to the teacher themselves. Even if a teacher has a kick butt classroom environment, if they’re not an engaging person, it all goes down the toilet and the students aren’t happy. All of the factors are there to help the teacher build a connection, not to build it for them. Because I’m a student, I obviously have zero teaching experience and only an idea on how to teach a class. But that’s not enough for teachers to take into their class to incorporate immediately. So, I interviewed some of my closest friends about the kinds of teachers and teaching strategies they like. In this blog, I’ll share those interviews so that teachers reading this can get a student perspective on a good teacher and perform a quick self-check. I’m also going to analyze the results so that I can find any topics that students feel very strongly and are, perhaps, biased towards. So, here we go.
This interview is with one of my friends, who I will call Friend 1. He tends to be very quiet and shy in the classroom. He’s very polite in the class, gets his work done, and doesn’t cause any disruptions. This leads to most of his teachers liking him and him being okay with his teachers. But, he has very strong opinions on school and will tell me about any complaints or grievances he may have,
Me: What subject did your favorite teacher of all time teach? (This question was to see if students preferred teachers of one subjects to teachers of another subject).
Friend 1: That’s a tough one, but probably social studies or English. I’ve had a lot of great teachers though.
Me: Out of all of your teachers, do you find that you generally prefer younger teachers?
Friend 1: Yeah, I think so.
Me: Why do you think that is?
Friend 1: Probably because younger teachers can understand their students more. They’re closer and more similar to the students. They have a better idea of what they’re going through.
Me: So, can older teachers still connect with students?
Friend 1: Yeah, they definitely can. They just start out more separated.
Me: How can any teacher bond with a student?
Friend 1: First of all, they have to be on the same level. If they want to be really good, they have to more than is expected of them. They should be willing to take time out of their personal lives.
Me: And what qualities do these teachers have?
Friend 1: Well, they’re really social. I mean, like, they’re easy to talk to. You feel safe to share your opinions because you know that the teacher will be cool with them.
Me: What kind of things do they do?
Friend 1: Their lessons are really, really hands on. They put you into different shoes to teach.
Me: Thank you.
Friend 1: Anytime.
From these answers, I can tell that my friend is very interested in having a teacher who’ll work with them. A teacher who can almost act like another student, being able to socialize well and relate with them. They’d be very committed, strong teachers who teach through respect.
The next interview that I’ll show you has a lot of similar answers as the first friend’s, but I’ll let you see for yourself. I’m interviewing another friend, who I’ll call Friend 2. Friend 2 is very strong academically and pushes himself in all of his classes. Like the Friend 1, he doesn’t cause any problems and keeps to himself. I would say that he is more outgoing. He is much more likely to talk and participate in class.
Me: Friend 2, do you tend to prefer younger or older teachers?
Friend 2: Umm… I think I prefer younger teachers.
Me: Why do you think that is?
Friend 2: Well, I guess, overall, they know more about our generation. You know? They’re more familiar with tech and stuff.
Me: Why don’t older teachers connect with you as much?
Friend 2: I’m not saying that, it’s just that they have different lingo. They can connect with you, it’s just that they have different interests and stuff like that.
Me: So, what steps can any teacher take to connect with their students.
Friend 2: Probably a lot of participation, like discussions and really hands-on stuff like the science labs. They also have to learn students personally.
Me: So, what would a good teacher’s class be like?
Friend 2: Very little notetaking, definitely. With all of that participation I just said.
Me: And what would the teacher act like.
Friend 2: They’d be really fair and reasonable. Also, really interesting as people and good at getting knowledge across. They’d control the class through respect.
Me: Thank you for your answers.
Friend 2: Sure.
The two interviews had a lot of common results, so it appears that students want very interactive lessons that involve a lot of input rather than notetaking. They also want to be on almost the same level as the teacher, both having control and a voice. They want a teacher who they can respect because they’re a fair, reasonable leader rather than through fear. Students want more than just a good teacher, though. They want a good, interesting person that they want to listen and learn from. It helps to be younger and be more similar to their generation, but that is a constant battle. Every teacher comes in young and being very in touch with their students, but as time goes on, it is inevitable that they will become less like their students. However, any teacher can overcome this by being a generally likeable and unique person. That is a universal bonding agent. It wouldn’t matter if a teacher had no idea what fads were popular if the students like them as a person.
Through seeing the unfiltered opinions of students, I hope that teachers can reflect on themselves to see if their teaching methods are well-received by students, and if not, can improve how they interact with students based on what the small sample of students I interviewed want. Remember though, this is a small sample of students and they probably like and dislike things that other students may not, so if a teacher doesn’t meet these particular student’s standards, they could have a completely different, unique way to teach and connect with their students.