Bad Teachers Win

You win. Your students get better results in your subject than they do in mine. You must therefore be a better teacher.

It simply isn’t in me to threaten my students, to shout at them and instill in them a sense of fear of upsetting me. I will not throw tantrums when they have no time to do any preparation for my subject because they’re always busy with yours and I try not to make them feel crestfallen when they underperform.

I try to arrange my lessons and assessments into manageable chunks for my students, but I find that they are capable of less and less because you demand more and more from them. You give them an assessment every week which you say counts towards their final mark, but which you know doesn’t. I cannot lie like this.

And you bring them back after school so often that they have no time to attend my remedial sessions.

You say your subject is more complex and demanding and difficult than mine – and thus more important. I’ve always thought that one of the cornerstones of teaching is to make difficult syllabi more digestible. The fact that my subject is ‘easy’, is because I make it that way. I refuse to try to look important by making my subject unnecessarily intimidating and difficult and time-consuming. But you do succeed in having your students spend inordinate amounts of time on your subject because you intentionally make it overly complex. (And in your mind, having students deal with meaningless complexity is the same as encouraging higher order thinking.)

When I reach out and offer inter-departmental collaboration as a way to save us both time and enhance learning for our students, you laugh.

I don’t see teaching the same way as you do. You think of students like dogs to be trained. You shout at them and threaten them with rolled up newspaper. I see teaching like training a cat: I give them the space to explore and be curious, to be themselves, and to learn to be independent and confident. Clearly, they respond better to your approach.

You get better exam results with your tyrannical approach, so you must be the better teacher. And I’m clearly in the wrong gig.

You win.

Well done.


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