Friday, January 23, 2009

Students' Opinions of Teachers

As a fourth year teacher, I've learned to be thick-skinned.

My job as a high school Spanish teacher is to prepare my students for college Spanish classes. (According to the state of Tennessee, that will change for current 8th graders.) So I don't really care if Spanish word order makes students mad or if they think Latin American geography is pointless. I present the material in a variety of ways that will help students learn. If students study, my class and those of my colleagues are not that difficult.

I take most of the complaining with a grain of salt. A certain amount of whining is to be expected from teenagers. I didn't love every assignment I was given in high school, and I would complain if I had to take Geometry right now. No one likes to hear this when they're doing something they don't like, but I believe that sometimes you have to do things you don't like is a good piece of advice for the real world. I didn't like college biology or anthropology, but I like that college degree they helped me earn.

I read Tuesday's Knoxville News Sentinel. I usually read it online, but I got a "real" paper on Tuesday. The KNS has recently reformatted the paper. Their weekly teen feature, Text Me, moved to the back of the section where it used to be, and they turned the front page of the section into School Matters. The headline of school matters caught my eye. So it made me curious about what they would run in Text Me to compliment that. (The format of the Text Me section is confusing, but worth a read.)

I'm really not surprised by teenagers much, but their responses shocked me. As a teacher, I am well aware of respect issues between teachers and teens, but I didn't know trust was such an issue.

Do you think teachers/administrators with a proper permit should be allowed to carry a gun to school? Why?
No, it's just doesn't sound safe to me. Some teachers might go crazy or something.

No, they could get mad and do something bad.
Absolutely not. If teachers carry guns, what is to prevent students from bringing them to school? And the fact that a teacher that doesn't like you may be carrying a gun is not a comforting thought.

Is this what students think about their teachers, or is this random sampling full of suspicious people? Do students worry about crazy teachers out to get them? While there are the Erin McLeans out there who disgrace all teachers, is there a reason students have this opinion of the average teacher?

What do real teens think?

4 comments:

Dykes said...

Personally, I do not think that the teachers or administrators should carry guns because i thought that was the reason why schools have police officers. No, its not because there might be a teacher out to get me, I am just tired of seeing police officers at school being paid to sit on their butts in the office. I saw that at Gibbs. Maybe if the police officers carried actual guns and not just the tazers, just maybe they might put alittle more effort in their job. But no its not just the thought of teachers maybe going alittle crazy, if there was a teacher like this, then this teacher should not be teaching at all. So, no i do not think a teacher would kill me or harm me in any way but i still believe that the police officers should be the only ones carring around a gun. I think this would cause problems if teachers did. Some students may think that they should have the right to carry around guns when they should not.

Kesi Garcia said...

I think the school resource officer thing is an important issue here too. What should their "duties" be? As a student and a teacher, I've seen SROs who guard the newspapers in the office, discipline students, and institute an emergency preparedness plan that would put the military to shame. What should these folks be doing that would make students and teachers feel safer?

Codie said...

I totally agree with Dykes on this one. I also do not think that teachers should carry guns, bc like he said we do have cops at the school. If teachers were allowed to carry one, I personally would not feel any more unsafe. I honestly do not believe that a teacher would get so worked up over a student, pull out the gun and shoot them. Also like Dyke said, if teachers began to carry guns around, then these high school, even middle school students, would think that they too also had the right to carry one and it may cause more harm. This is just how teenagers think. Teenagers always think that someone is out to get them and are angry sometimes, and unfortunately tend to take it out on teachers. They think their teachers are more out to get them, and I think that is the reason for their responses in the KNS.

Kesi Garcia said...

One thing I read between the lines in both Dykes' and Codie's posts is that armed teachers might lead to more school violence. I hadn't really thought abt that, but if we're saying some students feel threatened by teachers and think teachers are out to get them, then some students might try to take a gun to school to "balance the power." Am I reading this right?