“It’s not in my job description”
By Melissa M.
I am not a math or science “smart” student so last year when I was placed in a science class it was pretty much a disaster. Even though I had to work my butt off in class and at home, I did not get the greatest marks and still got the comment “try harder” on assignments. After having that experience, which to be honest, didn’t kill me and hearing from other students experiences there are a few suggestions I would like to give to teachers. It may not be in your job description- but it should be.
Just because we are in a class, does not mean that we are good at the subject. Now it fine to not be great at everything, but the problem lies within the teacher’s attitudes and understanding. You know it really does hit struggling students hard when you tell them that “more effort is required”. If you think that you are encouraging us to do our best – it’s not working. You have no idea how hard some of us try in school. What will take some students an hour to get a concept will take others a weeks. That doesn’t mean that we are stupid. Though sometimes you treat us like that. It means that we are gifted in other areas of life. Marks are not the measure of our intelligence.
Another thing you should be aware of, when a student comes into first period eating a breakfast sandwich, don’t tell them to put it away. If a student did not eat breakfast before they came for whatever reason, let them eat. We need food to concentrate and learn. Teachers are supposed to have a positive learning environment, and there are a few teachers who are doing the opposite. How are we supposed to learn if we are hungry? When you don’t let us eat, don’t get mad at our test scores.
Please don’t judge us, assume what kind of home we come from and what goes on in our life. Some of us are dealing with a lot of crap and hurt in life. The last thing we need is you to act like our enemies.
Having positive encouragement, and being in a friendly, relaxed environment would be much more appreciated. Treat us like we are adults and well rise to act like it. Respect us. Extend grace to us. Act like you care about us. And don’t assume that school is on the top of everyone’s priority list; some students have a lot more to worry about at home
No doubt that if you treat us in this way we will eventually do better in your class, if not at least we feel safe in that environment. Try it and see what happens. I know that I would appreciate it and so would many other students. You never know what kind of life changing positive impact you could have on students.