Your job is teaching, not showing off

Usually, I want my editorials to encourage awareness and involvement from people, because I feel there is far too much misinformation, ignorance and apathy in our society. I don’t want to be just another person complaining. But I’m going to be this time anyway.

I’m tired of getting talked down to. Yes, teachers, I understand you have your doctorate in whatever you’re teaching, and explaining the same undergrad information over and over can get tiring. You’d probably heard the same dumb question a thousand times.

But I haven’t heard the answer once. I’m showing initiative by asking the question at all. (I’m talking about questions actually about subject content, not just asking whether the test is multiple choice or essay for the sixtieth time.)

Lots of teachers complain about students who never participate, but maybe students don’t do or say anything in class because the slightest display of confusion is met with a rambling response about how the student obviously has not read every book on the subject at hand and how incorrect our dumb, little, undergrad impressions of this field of study are.

Why of course [insert subject here] is the most important subject ever! Everything else on campus is a waste of our tuition money compared to this! How dare we have other classes and jobs that take away from devoting four or five hours a night of extra reading on this important subject!

To the annoyance of both students and teachers, a lot of students are taking classes just to cover requirements, not because the subject captivates them. That doesn’t mean the class can’t be interesting.

For example, I had no interest in taking Criminology, but it was a requirement for my major. I wound up enjoying it. Partly because my professor taught the content at an upper-level undergraduate level, with no undertone of criminal justice being the most amazing, most necessary subject ever or that every student should want to go to grad school to study it.

I still got a whole new respect for those who work in criminal justice and those who research it. And I learned quite a bit about our criminal system, and I’m glad I had to take that class.

For that reason, required classes aren’t a bad thing. We graduate with useful information not particularly in our field of study that can be useful to being an educated citizen.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of classes I’ve hated so much because of a teacher looking down on the students that I want to never discuss the subjects again.

Teachers have the advantage. They are teaching something they are clearly knowledgeable in, and they have control over the content of the class.

Treating students as inferior makes students not bother to put in the effort. What’s the point in trying if the teacher has already decided we’re stupid? It’s not my job to be an expert.

But treating students as actual people who are capable, even if not experts, makes the learning experience a thousand times better. I’m so grateful to the teachers who have made their classes worthwhile and made time for me as a person.

I just wish they could convince their peers that helping students learn is more important than showing off what you wrote your doctorate on. Isn’t helping the student learn what teaching is supposed to be about?

I’m not saying never mention something a little higher level if it is constructive to the class, but just retelling stories of everything your graduate advisor ever said or every theory you ever studied isn’t teaching at all; it is simply showing off.

A classroom is a space for learning, not your personal stage.

I’m here to get an education, to learn things from people who are more informed than I, and to become a well-rounded, educated person. I am not here to hear every single possible theory discussed in the graduate version of a 1500 level class and to listen to complaints about how my efforts are lazy and my questions unimportant.

I was recently told by a teacher that if he wanted to hear an opinion, he’d read an editorial. So here one is if it doesn’t pain him too much to read the opinion of an undergraduate student.