Most people have heard of the website, ratemyteacher.com, where students can post comments and numerically rate their teachers on their personalities and teaching styles. I recently gave Leesville teachers the opportunity to rate their students – not individuals, but what makes a good student or classroom in general. I was surprised to learn what teachers value most in their students, and what annoys them.
I asked teachers of many different subjects a series of “This or That,” questions: Would you rather have a class of all boys or all girls? What about someone who participates in class but gets B’s and C’s, or someone who is quiet but makes straight A’s?
Before I interviewed the teachers, I thought I already had a pretty good idea of what the teachers would say. For example, when I asked teachers whether they would prefer to teach all AP classes or all academic classes, I assumed all would automatically choose AP.
However, Susan Duncan, chemistry teacher at LRHS, said simply, “I like both – there’s good to both [types of students].” Amy Wedge, senior English teacher, had a response that surprised me even further. “I prefer academic – they have more character and more life experience than AP students. I also think they place more value on the sake of learning, while AP students are only concentrated on their grades,” she said.
When it comes to classes, Leesville teachers have gender and age preferences. Wedge would prefer a class of all girls over one of all boys based on the maturity factor. “Girls are more mature and get along better,” she said. “Guys still have that Alpha-male competitive side.”
Duncan agreed, saying, “I’ve had a class of all boys before, and they wore me out. They have so much more energy than girls – I liked it, but it was definitely a challenge.” Both teachers also preferred a class made of entirely seniors over a class of freshmen, again referring to maturity.
All Leesville teachers agreed that when it comes to how a student works in the classroom, trying hard is more important overall than the actual results produced. They prefer students who try hard but might be slow learners over know-it-alls, or those who make straight-A’s but disrupt the class.
They also agree that a student who teachers have had in a previous semester are more desirable than students they do not know. “You can strengthen your bond with the student and have stronger communication and more conversations with students you already know,” said Wedge.
Bottom line, students cannot change their age, gender or learning style. However, they can change their attitudes to become more appealing for their teachers. LRHS teachers concluded that they enjoy teaching mature students who truly value learning and strive to do their best, something that everyone can emulate.