21st Century Education

Morgan Gage, Staff Writer

When you accept a job as a teacher, elementary and high school alike, you’re consciously placing yourself in a position of power. Though you may answer to someone higher up, your department head or principal or superintendent, you’re still in charge of the students who pass through your classroom. No matter who you ask, everyone has a teacher who made an impact on them for better or worse, and the teachers of today should recognize that and keep it in mind as they stand in front of their classes from bell to bell.

I’ve been in classes with teachers that inspired me to pursue dreams that I had pushed to the side in favor of more ‘practical’ aspirations, but like most students today, I’ve been in classes that I dreaded walking through the door, with teachers who made me loathe subjects that I had previously loved.

I got off to a rough start in the public school system with a Pre-K teacher’s assistant dragging me down the hall by my ear, but the incidents that stand out the most are the teachers I’ve had to suffer through since I entered high school. I’m old enough to recognize when a teacher begins to overstep their boundaries now, and I’m not half as accepting to just cry to my mom when I get home and forget about it. There are teachers in this world, in Whitehouse High School, that shout at, insult, and ignore the academic and emotional needs of the students in their classes. Halfway through my freshman year, I already knew who I wanted on my schedule for my senior year.

At the end of the day, these teachers keep their jobs, because what schools look at are test results, not the teachers who have taught the students that they have to think for themselves, to see value in themselves, or to make something of themselves. They care about the teachers who examine every last sheet of data, not the ones who do their jobs.

A student should never feel as if their time is being wasted by sitting through 45 minutes of nothing new to learn, or dread going to a class with a teacher who causes them to look at themselves as lesser than or cause anxiety through their actions, teaching methods, and words.

However, there are also teachers who form real bonds with the students in their classes and make a significant impact on them. My sophomore year, I had two English teachers who would sit and talk to me about different poems or novels beyond what we were able to discuss in class either due to time constraints or the curriculum that was enforced on every class. I broke literature down further in fifteen minutes just speaking to them than in weeks of class work, and my plans for my future were impacted because of it.

While administration and teachers alike want a better system, there’s a certain disconnect between the offices of those looming over the heads of the principals who actually work on campus and take the blame for the downfalls of policies that they were handed, not ones that they created, and classrooms.

When we break it down, the fault lies not in teachers themselves, however wonderful or awful they may be. The fault lies in a broken education system that rewards those who do as administrators tell them to rather than the teachers who change lives and mold the minds of young men and women.

We as students cannot blame teachers as whole. They, like any other person, aren’t going to be the perfect fit for every student. Different learning and teaching styles affect each classroom on an individual level. However, this doesn’t mean improvement shouldn’t be sought out. Communication must be improved on every level from students to teachers and all the way to the superintendent in order to help to bridge the gap between what one needs and what those higher up believe one needs. The goal should be to provide students with a quality education, and better communication is the first step towards that.