Monday, January 9, 2012

An open letter to the teachers

Dear teachers,

This is not the first and sadly not the last time I - as a student - face this irritation. Some might say it has to do with the quality of the teaching. But that's just the nice way to put it. I would call it the lack of organisational skills, or just plain laziness.

The whole cause of irritation is simple: the teachers entering the class without any preparations done whatsoever. It seems that some teachers think the lesson will take care of itself and if not one can always improvise. Well, it won't work. The difference between the teachers who think through their lessons in advance and the teachers who just turn up is unbelievably huge.

So, here are some news for those teachers who are on the wayside:

First of all, the students can't really read teachers' minds. It doesn't help, if some important piece of information was given more than a month ago, because the students probably will not remember that anymore when it's acute. The good teachers always send e-mail to all course attendants, so that also those who were absent (yes, some people can also be sick and not just skipping the lessons) know where everything's going. The good teachers are also very precise about what each lesson will be about and they are not afraid of telling that in advance.

Second thing is that when there are examples to be shown or tasks to do, they also need to be meaningful. The teachers probably have no idea how fast badly designed lesson kills the student's motivation. It is pretty much impossible to follow a teacher who doesn't have anything to say. If there is a task to follow, the teacher also needs to be clear that there is a task to follow. Especially when learning different programmes, it is not easy to follow what the teacher is doing and then do the same in your own computer when the teacher is racing forward.

Third, every student has his/her own way of doing things. If that is the best way for him/her to work (so that there will eventually be results), the teacher has absolutely no right to mock or evaluate that work flow. When for some people it is a piece of cake to produce perfect designs at school in 5 minutes, for some it is next to impossible. The teachers should courage each and everyone to find their own creative ways. That's why the time given to finish the tasks should also be long enough for good work for everyone. "All the designers should be able to do this like this" is not a proper way of giving critique about other person's work flow. It is also impolite.

Some people might say that the worklife will not be so easy and that many bosses will be acting exactly like the bad teachers. Well, school is not worklife and even if it's good to make a mental note on the bad teacher/boss axis (there will be enough of those still to come) it is more important to concentrate in what the school is about: preparing the students to the work life. The school's purpose is to give enough knowledge and new ways of thinking for the students as well as strengthen his/her self-esteem in his/her abilities. Bad teachers will not succeed in relaying such things, they leave only confusion and frustration behind.

So, the next time you are entering the classroom, please think honestly through how many hours did you prepare this lesson. The students have huge respect toward the teachers who make real effort in helping what's important for them: studying. The best teachers are the ones who in this way really care about their students.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you absolutely 100%. Too be honest I have given up with the course mentioned. I will not stand for the rudeness and the totalitarian attitude that hinders what could be a wonderfully creative educational program. Thank you Kaisa for posting this wonderfully worded rhetorical debate and I fully support your opinion.