Monday, March 21, 2011

5 Things Students Never Seem to Realize About Their Teachers

Teachers typically experience a strange relationship with students. Our students are simultaneously very familiar with us because of daily class routines and completely unfamiliar with us when it comes to who we are outside of the classroom. In fact, most students seem to only see their teachers within the academic bubble, which can cause some skewed perceptions about who we really are and what we really are like. Some students may even be mildly surprised to hear that we live outside of the school! This certainly is not necessarily bad, as some of the things that our students never seem to realize about us have fueled many a lively and laugh-filled teacher's lounge discussion.

1. Teachers have their own lives outside of school.
It makes us smile whenever we see our students awkwardly approach us at the grocery store because we know they are surprised to realize that gasp! we shop at the same places as everyone else. As mentioned before, none of us live inside the school. Some of us do not even live within a 20-mile radius of the school. In fact, we have our own homes and families outside of school, and enjoy doing things other than grading homework and planning lessons (though that is undoubtedly a great passion for us). We may enjoy running marathons on the weekends or whipping up a new recipe. We may be huge film buffs or sports fans. We may even be writing the next great American novel during our time off. The fact of the matter is that while we love teaching, we love other things outside of school, too.

2. Teachers do not seek to make their students miserable with exams and homework.
We have heard our fair share of complaints about how we try to ruin our students' lives with homework and tests. However, that is never our intention when we plan assignments. We assign homework because we need to make sure that our students are on track. After all, some subjects are incredibly tricky, so rather than wait until the final exam to find out that some of our students never understood the topic, we assign homework throughout the semester to gauge how well everyone is comprehending the material. Incredible care goes into planning how much homework to assign and when to schedule tests. We always want to make sure that our students have adequate time to complete everything and study.

3. Teachers do not have as much control over their syllabi as you might think.
Though we plan how we'll approach a topic and the assignments that go along with it, we have less control over our syllabi than you might think. We do not handpick each of the poems we cover or the animals we dissect. The school or state largely determines what exactly will be taught by us in the classroom. The novels we teach, the theories we cover, and the formulas we examine are all pre-determined. This is done so that every student is guaranteed the same full educational experience that covers all of the things deemed too important to not learn about, such as groundbreaking fictional works by acclaimed novelists or essential mathematical theorems that will prepare students for more complex math equations in the future.

4. Teachers care about their students.
We care about our students more than we may show. We sincerely want each and every one of them to succeed. Teachers will do what they can to help students, but they also need the students to help themselves. If a student is struggling in class, we will do what we can to make things clearer and help him or her pull up a low grade. However, for all of our effort, we also need to see that the struggling students are willing to work and help themselves as well. We can only make it so much easier for our students. After that, it is up to them to take care of themselves.

5. Teachers have their good and bad days, just like anyone else.

Some days are better than others for us. We have headaches, bad moods, and good moods, just like everyone else. We work hard to not let that affect our teaching, but there are times when we can be less than patient with our students if they are acting up. On the days where we are not feeling 100%, we appreciate respect while we pull ourselves out of our funk and carry on.

This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman who particularly enjoys writing about nursing colleges. Questions and comments can be sent to:  kitty.holman20