Thursday, February 07, 2008
With the second semester of the 2007-2008 school year now running in full gear, I count myself as one of the lucky ones who does not have to fight through scrambles of anxious, frustrated students attempting to recreate their schedules. This chaotic mess, as any student or faculty member at James Logan will know, is a semi-annual event that has come to be accepted as an inevitable hurdle in the first week of each new term. It is so widely accepted, in fact, that one can now find students and teachers preparing for it long before the new semester even begins.
At the beginning of the year, schedule-induced problems set snares for teachers, students, and counselors alike for nearly a month. Halfway through, the problems are no different. Classes are missing, courses are doubled, classrooms are wrongÖ
Öand I want a teacher who is not an absolute jerk who hates my guts.
I can only imagine my counselorís face after hearing the last demand: incredulous, stupefied, bewildered, and exasperated. Having never been to my counselorís office for such a problem, I cannot say what expressions would really be flitting across that supportive but tired face. However, when my classmates come storming through the doors with that plan in mind, Iím certain that if I were to look in the mirror, I would look like that as well.
It is not that I have ever had to fix schedules. I have, on the other hand, experienced plenty of schedule problems myself, ranging from missing a history course to having a blank space where half of the text on my schedule should be. While waiting in that snaking line that seems to extend for miles and crawl about a centimeter an hour, I know that the teacher is the last thing on my mind. Who cares if the teacher doesnít listen to you? At least you have a teacher, my petulant mind snorts.
Teachers, I have learned, are not meant to cater to their students as if they are a servant delivering education on a fast food tray with fries on the side. Look at the definition of the word itself: one who teaches. No where does it say that a teacher is a supportive friend, a sympathetic ear, or a respectful individual. I certainly hope that teachers are, of course, all of the things listed above, but teachers are not necessarily obligated to go through that checklist. Instead, teachers are obligated to receive a degree, gain a deep understanding of their subject, and to restrain themselves from inflicting corporal punishment on misbehaving students.
There have definitely been times when I have questioned the depth of education that my teacher has received. More often than not, however, when I talk to her after class out of concern for my flailing grades, I realize that she is extremely knowledgeable, and not just in her subject. I have found that a lot of my frustrations deal with constant misunderstandings, especially when said teacher is rather unorganized and thus unrealistic about assignments and projects. If I want her to realize this, I need to tell her the problems I have. Nearly every time, the teacher has realized the conflict and made attempts to dissolve it.
One thing that I constantly must keep on my mind is that my teachers are not only teaching me, but an entire hoard of students. As they claim many times in the beginning of the school year, they have many students to manage. Aside from that, they have their own personal agendas. As a student, I cannot expect him or her to notice everything that comes up. Just as I have many classes and activities to juggle, so do they. Teachers are students as well, and we all have to learn to cooperate and understand each other.
So next time a disagreeable teacher pops up on your schedule, give him or her a chance. Just because other people donít like him, or because youíve had one bad experience with him, it doesnít mean you canít be his student. We all just want to make it through the year, after all.