Things you hate about being a teacher

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by pething101, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    That happens, too. Boy are they surprised when they find out my notes for a 75 minute class consist of one or two 5" by 7" notecards (two if I'm lecturing more, one if I'm going with a more discussion-based/socratic method approach)
     
  2. royalstilton

    royalstilton New Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    ---
    i hate Nixon impressions. they almost always involve that dumb V for Victory sign, or is it the peace symbol?

    [​IMG]

    me, i prefer Rutherford B. Hayes, or Estes Kefauver! what a character he was.
     
  3. mosca

    mosca Member

    Sep 13, 1999
    Honolulu
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    When I taught I got that and "what page are we on?" even thought it was written on the board. So after a while I stopped answering those questions. I told them i was going to say it only once. Eventually my students stopped asking. When they forgot and did ask, another student would say "duh. Its on the board." I liked that.
     
  4. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The only thing I really HATED hated when I was a teacher was catching kids cheating on exams. They were invariably devastated, humiliated, and terrified and even though I knew they were absolutely dead wrong I couldn't help the sick feeling in my stomach and wishing there was somebody else, like my mommy, around to handle it for me.

    I frequently kinda-sorta hated getting up in front of 550 students and lecturing for an hour, because of stage fright or something like it.
     
  5. Pierre-Henri

    Pierre-Henri New Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Strasbourg, France.
    I tried the socratic approach once, when I was teaching highschool. I was young and foolish at this time. The class ended in something like a "panic at the zoo" b-movie. I'd like to see Socrates in front of 30 third millenium teenagers. Not all of them are Plato, I can tell you.

    75 min with 1 notecard ? Sheesh :( . I'd need 2 volumes of Encyclopaedia Britannica, and maybe some appendixes.
     
  6. Aaron d

    Aaron d Member+

    May 15, 2005
    Wooster
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As a current substitute, i absolutely hate subbing for teachers that suck. Its very frustrating knowing that i could be a much better teacher. Hearing the students tell me what they normally do! They must have interview really well or something(coach)
     
  7. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    Ever had any serious water-works?

    Most I have done is 30 - but our teaching group is really small - its a lot like 10-15. I admire you, doing over 500 though. Wow. I don't think I could do that. I would get bored after a while, because I somehow need the interaction to keep going and it often stops me from going into anxiety overhaul.

    Invariably, I just use it to further ahead and gain more interaction. Nothing like a dull classroom for both student AND teacher.
     
  8. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, most of them cried. However, the worst was this kid whose TA had spotted him using a cheat sheet during the final exam and asked me to confront him over it. He'd had a crush on her all semester (she was very pretty) and couldn't bring herself to do it. The exam was taking place in a huge lecture hall and I caught a lot of attention walking to the back after an obviously serious consultation with the TA. The kid was sitting on the floor with this back against the wall and as soon as he realized I was coming to talk to him he panicked, I suppose, and cut this gigantic fart. Talk about your life's most humiliating moment. I spoke to him at some length in office hours later, and he was nice enough--he'd just let the whole semester spiral out of control and was going to stay home for while. Anyway, the whole thing stilll has the power to make me cringe when I think about it.

    After being an visiting asst prof at a big school, I got a year long visiting position at a small college about 50 minutes from home. Early on in the first semester I left my briefcase at home and didn't realize it until I was almost at work, so I had to do without and ended up teaching the best classes I'd had since I started there. Up to that point, I'd been too scared to deviate from my laboriously prepared lecture notes where pretty much everything was hard wired. I ended up getting really good teaching evaluations.

    I was never as bad, though, as this one guy I remember from my undergrad years. It was a big (200+ enrollment) intro anthro course and the TA was giving what was obviously his first lecture, since the prof was out of town. Prior to the class, one of the "campus" dogs, a big goofy looking St. Bernard mix who belonged to a local fraternity had wandered into the building and fallen asleep at the very back of the stage, behind the lectern. If the TA had ever noticed him, he'd forgotten about him. I was up close to the front and the TA's hands were visibly shaking for most of the lecture. About 30 minutes in, the dog woke up and looked at us all with this happy "Hey! When did YOU guys get here?" expression on his face. He just stood there wagging his tail while the giggles started to ripple through the class. The TA was upset, thinking people were laughing at him, and too nervous to pick up on the signals that some students were giving him, trying to make him turn around. Eventually, the dog went back to sleep. The TA's concentration was shattered and he barely managed to limp the lecture home. I thought he was going to start crying in front of everybody. Some real cute girl went up to him and explained what was going on later, so maybe he got something out of it after all, though.
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I think he asked about the waterworks, not the gas company. ;)

    Seriously, though: I still cringe when I think about a kid I caught blatantly plagiarizing about 7 years ago.

    I should point out I teach introductory literature classes, and composition classes, so when I do have to resort to lectures (rare), it's almost always something I've done before, and I usually have the book in front of me, with further prompts and notes. And as far as discussion goes, I have developed the ability to wait them out (I've waited almost ten minutes before), and once they figure out that you're going to wait them out, you tend to get more discussions. Or lots of dead air, which I've learned to tolerate.
     
  10. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's pretty damn good.
     
  11. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    I've found that patience for uncomfortable silences along with in-class writings are the two key elements for teaching undergraduates in seminar-style settings.

    I've never taught grad students, but I'm sure the problems there are quite different, given the high proportion of grad students who are in love with their own brilliance.
     
  12. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Annapolis, MD
    As a student, I must say that I hate teachers who coach as well. Invariably, they are much more consumed in their coaching responsibilities.
     
  13. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    It's rare to find the teacher/coach that is equally dedicated to both. All the ones that I've met personally, it's one over the other.

    It can be done; and I believe in scholastic sports, as sports were my only salvation in high school. I've seen and heard of teacher/coaches who were fantastic at both, but they are rare individuals. I used to want to be one, but once I got a whiff of grad school and teaching college, forget it. I realized that my talents were best suited to college teaching. In an ideal world, I would teach college and coach high school.

    I might consider coaching high school in the future after getting tenure, but I doubt it.
     
  14. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd say this is my career path as well, both once imagined and then reality. The prof + coach idea depends a great deal on how long those road trips would be. The local school here spends four hours RT on all but one or two of the ten road trips they take per season, and it makes weekday teach + coach duties tough to conceptualize.
     
  15. Pierre-Henri

    Pierre-Henri New Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Strasbourg, France.
    I'll always remember that public notice, back in my undergraduate student years :

    Cours d'histoire romaine. Inscrits : 640. Places : 575.
    (Roman history. Students : 640. Seats : 575).

    That was years ago (situation is much worse today), and Strasbourg is one of the best universities in France. Today, some lectures take place partly in the corridors.
     
  16. Demosthenes

    Demosthenes Member+

    May 12, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What do hate about being a teacher?

    Hell, where do I start?

    1. My painfully incompetent Principal -- this is the big one.
    2. The fact that my third graders are expected to work from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM with 50 minutes for lunch and NO RECESS.
    3. Crack addicted parents.
    4. Constantly being bombarded with memos clearly designed to cover the administration's ass and blame everything on me when my kids ultimately fail the state tests.
    5. State tests.
    6. Micromanagement from the regional and city level-- seriously, the Superintendent walks through my school at least once a month, and comments on everything from how my library bins are labelled, to the arrangement of the kids' desks, to the location of charts on the walls.
    7. Lack of appropriate curricular materials/resources. I spend 90% of my prep time finding, printing or copying worksheets.
    8. Worthless security staff.
    9. Constantly being bombarded with impossible requirements, and never being provided with the resources or support I need to accomplish them.
    10. The mentally imbalanced, lead-poisoned, emotionally abused ten-year-old attention whore who returns from his 30day suspension... tomorrow. :(
     
  17. Caesar

    Caesar Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Oztraya
    :eek:

    Makes me grateful for the standard of our public schools.
     
  18. Peakite

    Peakite Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    Berkshire
    Club:
    Halifax Town
    You must surely have some poorer schools over there, even if the standard generally is higher.
     
  19. Caesar

    Caesar Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Oztraya
    Oh definitely, most of those (incompetent management? Lack of resources?) you'll find at countless schools anywhere in the world I suppose. Although not having encountered those factors all in one place myself helps I guess (I'm not a teacher, I've just worked in the industry).

    I guess the main shock was the more universal stuff like the hours... we have 9am-3pm with an hour for lunch and 20mins for 'playtime' in all our primary schools. I couldn't concieve a 8-3 schoolday with only 50mins for lunch at that age.
     
  20. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I sat down to grade a ton of essays, that, thanks to two controversies on BS that actually touched on my field of expertise, had been collecting dust.

    I don't know what the heck has happened, but in the span of 2 years since I've taught an Intro to Lit course, all of the sudden, 60%+ of the students are using "rhetorical questions" as a crutch. Is this some trend amongst undergrads?

    Inevitably, a rhetorical question can be much better expressed in regular, straight-forward ways.

    Am I imagining things? I teach at a prestigious school, and the students are bright and well-prepared. What gives?!!
     
  21. gaijin

    gaijin New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Malaysia
    Well I've had the complete opposite of that.

    Being in a lecture hall meant for about 300 with about 20 people in it.
     
  22. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Just a guess or two, Oh Mighty Carded One: My first guess is that the students have been so heavily instructed in the ways of test taking, including tests meant to generate writing samples, that they may have been told that this is an effective way to start an essay.

    Or it may just be this generations equivalent to "Since the beginning of time, man has struggled to..." intro.

    Or, it's a space filler: asking the rhetorical question adds to the word count will making no demands on the brain.
     
  23. Pierre-Henri

    Pierre-Henri New Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Strasbourg, France.
    It's because they think clear and plain affirmations can be dangerous. A rhetorical question leaves you with some sort of mental escape : "OK, I said this, but I don't really think it's true... could be the exact opposite, who knows ? Hey, teacher, please fill the blank yourself and try to guess if it's a real question or a rhetorical one."

    It's like tirelessly using verbs like : it seems, it may, it could...

    They just try to create smoke clouds, and hope that the teacher will read exactly what he wants to read.

    On the other hand, when a student starts replacing suggestions with affirmations, it shows he is on the right track.
     
  24. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    excellent point. I used that several times in my comments. :)

    I think another reason why they use rhetorical questions is that it shows transition from one thought to another. But it's more laziness and an attempt to avoid looking for another way to transition. It's like they're saving up their "therefores", "howevers", etc.
     

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