Friday, September 25, 2009

Kids Evaluating Teachers?

There was an editorial in our local paper this week written by an 8th grader criticizing teachers. The gist of her writing was something I believe is quite true: nothing will make a kid hate school more than a teacher who hates school. I don't deny for one moment that a teacher's attitude toward his or her job impacts the kids in the classroom with that teacher. I also don't deny that there are plenty of lousy teachers out there right now doing irreparable damage to students. However, this girl seemed highly critical of any teacher who didn't entertain her. She focused a lot on how the good teachers are the ones who make learning fun for her and the bad teachers are boring people who make their subjects boring. How I wish it were as simple as being an entertainer.... If anyone can help me make grammar entertaining, tell me. However, I think she believes entertaining equals effective, and that is simply not true. Some subjects are never going to be fun, but a good teacher covers the topics effectively and makes the learning meaningful to the students. I don't believe an 8th grader is qualified to say what does and does not make a good teacher. She is qualified, however, to speak about what makes a fun teacher. The tone of the article was quite condescending, and while I believe she has a right to freedom of speech, I fear what happens when people read her musings and accept them as truth. No adult should engage in discourse on what makes an effective educator with a child.

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