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No.2 Complaint: How to please students?

1415 views. 2011-11-16 22:24 |

    I hate to come across as a miserable grouch, but complaining anonymously on line is indeed an effective way of reducing stress, especially when neither reality nor myself can be changed. That is, you can't reconcile the old habits and the changing world.  If my last blog marks a beginning, then this one might be labelled as  No.2 complaint.
    My life is complicated because I have to please a lot of people. I've already had family members to please and my efforts are always rewarding. The people-to-please list grows when it comes to my occupation as a teacher. I have to please the dean, the head of our teaching office and those in administrative offices. Nevertheless, I am still able to cope. But my students pose a big challenge to me, as I seem never to have learned how to deal with them, or, to put it more bluntly, to please them. I remember the old days when we respected teachers and worshiped knowledge they possessed. It simply never occurred to us to question teachers' motives. We visited them with questions and left with answers contentedly. We were told that teachers are like books in a library: you read books, not the other way round(只有你读书, 书是不会读你的). So we regarded our teachers' knowledge as one valuable resource and made good and active use of it.Those days are forever gone. Todays' students have a good theory: they pay for their schoolings; therefore, it's just natural that education is commercialized and teachers are consumed like hamburgers in KFCs. If they find them not tasty enough, they have every reason to ask for a change or even throw them into a rubbish can. In the middle of each semester, students give teachers ratings. And that's where my problem lies. Students want to have fun in English class, they expect teachers to tell jokes every minute, whether those jokes are English-related or not. As they see it, entertainment always precedes everything and knowledge is no more important. However, not everyone has the makings of Zhou Sisi, a teacher in New Oriental English School; moreover, knowlege and fun doesn't always go hand in hand. Well, since I am unfortunately such a product, I have to be consumed the way that satisfies my customers. After all, "Customers are God", which also applies to campus. I tried my best to make English more "interesting" than it should be, though usually to no effect. To my disappointment, that's not all. If I am strict with my students and call the roll in each class or dictate new words of every unit, some students are unhappy. If I turn a blind eye to students cutting class or not give  dictations, other students are unhappy and think of me as irresponsible. Either way I get low ratings. Since it's hard to strike a balance and please all, I decide not to bother with ratings. However, the dean  insists that ratings be a major criterion in determing salaries and other incentives. I am really at a loss as to what to do.
   Sometimes I just indulge myself in imagining wildly. What if I timetravelled back to my college days? Would I act up in each class and become my teachers' worst nightmare? I laugh at those silly thoughts. 

Post comment Comment (15 replies)

Reply rich 2011-11-17 08:56
now i know that we are in the same occupation. :-) maybe just for that reason, i fully understand how you feel and i just cannot agree with you more. and i believe we are not alone. being a teacher nowadays is not easy and can be physically and mentally exhausting. however, we have to learn some surviving skills. hehe. after all we are no longer living in the good old days when teachers are sincerely respected. on the one hand, we should do what we believe is right. the basic priciples should not be changed, i think. on the other hand, we also should never go to the extremes. society is getting more and more tolerant and liberal, so we have to change a little bit to fit in. education is a kind of cooperation, which demands the efforts of both sides. that way we can possibly get a calm state of mind.
Reply bluephoebe 2011-11-17 10:17
teaching is a serious job. i had a very short term teaching experiences after graduated form normal school. i taught English in a primary school, as far as i love children, i didn't enjoy a bit in teaching. i soon gave it up. Therefore i admire anyone who could stick it out in this career. no matter what your students see you, you've already won my 100 percent support. through your words, i know you are a great teacher. because you care, and you work hard. Life has already taught me in a hard way that no matter how hard you try, you couldn't please everyone around. so cheer up, my friend. if you had any issues, any complaines, always welcome here and share with us.
Reply 如主文 2011-11-17 17:53
When I was a student, every time when I encountered my teacher, I was always like a rat encountering cat. If I didn’t do well on studying, they could scold me and even beat me, my parents didn’t care about it at all and thought it was only for my sake. Nowadays, the teacher and the student are changing roles. It’s really hard for the teacher. He has no other choice but to treat the student as the God, because customer is the God. Most of students are only child, their parents treat them as treasure, they don’t blame their children, of course, there is no way for the teacher to blame their treasure .
Reply louislaolu 2011-11-17 19:13
如主文: When I was a student, every time when I encountered my teacher, I was always like a rat encountering cat. If I didn’t do well on studying, they could
Thanks for the interesting comment. I don't know if you wish to have a teacher who entertains you a lot and teaches you nothing, but I am afraid that I can't agree with you. First, I don't believe there are college teachers who ever beat students or enjoy doing so. Second, teachers still teach and students learn, so I don't think there is so-called exchange in their respective roles. Third, students must be wrong about where their money goes.The goverment pays us salaries and we pay taxes. This is as true of us as it is of many other taxpayers.  Fourth, even if teaching is part of the service industry, it doesn't follow that we have to accomodate students in every way. Our service quality can only be judged by how well we teach, certainly not how well we entertain them. In a word, we are teachers and can do what our responsibility allows/supposes us to do. Perhaps that's what rich referred to as the basic principle, something that doesn't subject to changes in whatever circumstances.
Reply louislaolu 2011-11-17 19:21
rich: now i know that we are in the same occupation. :-) maybe just for that reason, i fully understand how you feel and i just cannot agree with you more.
I am happy that you identifying with me. Yes, I am learning to fit in. Otherwise, I wouldn't survive to today, certainly not as alive, kicking and talking as now. A teacher must be a good learner, not only in what he teaches, but also in what he doesn't. Though it's hard for a man stubborn like me to adapt, I am still trying hard to keep up with the times. Thanks again.
Reply louislaolu 2011-11-17 19:33
bluephoebe: teaching is a serious job. i had a very short term teaching experiences after graduated form normal school. i taught English in a primary school, as f
Thanks for all the ecouragement. You know what? I am sad because I don't have a chance to teach a student like you. You must have been a very nice and understandable student. I am even sadder that I don't have a  chance to be taught by you. Your English is much better than mine.
Reply rich 2011-11-17 20:34
louislaolu: I am happy that you identifying with me. Yes, I am learning to fit in. Otherwise, I wouldn't survive to today, certainly not as alive, kicking and tal
frankly i had and still have similar "problems", if they can be regarded as problems. however, i believe we can change with the times. by the way, i enjoy reading your blogs, which are very well written in english. thanks for sharing.
Reply hurrymm 2011-11-18 13:37
My friend, don't you forget " those who want to please all please nobody at last" ? Just be yourself. Those students who aspire for knowledge or gain little sofiscitication on campus are sure to respect you or understand and adore you. You are difinately a good teacher as you are always thoughtful, hard-working and proficient in English learning.
Reply snowflying 2011-11-20 20:38
dear friend, from your this blog, i read out a true yourself,whether your work, your character and your life presusure. that's true, in fact, to our each one, allof these questions alway be there, whatever field we work in or what age we located, even or what gender we are. that's our real true life status. maybe as a teacher, your work is mainly mental, to those different students, to the new changes in your teaching field, these pressure appears more and obviously than yourself's common desire. doing any thing,if we wanna do well even till a perfect level, so difficult actually. teacher is not only a ommon job, dealing so many students not a easy thing. being a teacher is my dream too, in my college graduation, if i 'm willing to stay my campus, today i'm a college teacher certainly,but i gave up due to wanting to go back my home. though some regret, but leaving a dream in heart too, that's a teacher's dream. my friend, teacher is a respected job, but maybe hard too, especially in such a competitive society, education is full of competition too, so i can understand what you said. after pouring out and thinking, go forward still, i believe,that's you.my friend.
Reply 2010jj 2011-11-27 21:37
It's hard to be a teacher in others' eyes, right? Being a good teacher is more difficult in the modern society. While that making students like teachers is most hard part in the teaching, i think. Anyway, trying to do what we should do. One hardly pleases everyone in the world. Even if you are a good one, there is some people thinking that you are not good enough.
Reply louislaolu 2011-12-15 16:00
Teaching is not a matter of (as we too often say) “making a subject (poetry, physics, philosophy) interesting” to students but of students coming to see how such subjects are intrinsically interesting.
Reply The_Void 2011-12-23 09:35
PLEASE is not the word. I think people do need you to make them comfortable. By doing that you are trying redemption of people who can't put themselves on the right track of feeling or life.
I regard people who need to be pleased as weak, and I have pity on them. It is my duty to make important people around me happy. But surely you don't have to stoop to do that.
Reply louislaolu 2011-12-24 11:27
The_Void: PLEASE is not the word. I think people do need you to make them comfortable. By doing that you are trying redemption of people who can't put themselve
You are right. PlEASE is not the word, especially for what I've done for people important to me, say, my family.  Honestly, I don't mind doing something to please as long as voluntarily. However, I was made to do it  on manny occasions. Believe it or not, there are people really good at it. That is, they appear willing outside but cursing violently inside. When I watch poeple race to pour a cup of tea or light a ciggarette for their superiors, I have ambivlent feelings.  On the one hand, I want to follow the suit; on the other, I wouldn't stoop. Being such a bad learner, I end up going back to read. At least, Reading doesn't give me the pressure to attempt something impossible or try to be some one else.  Doing reseach makes me feel good, but I have to assocaite with people who likes to please or be pleased. If I don't want to come off as eccentric, then I have to find a good compromise.
Reply lushanshan9010 2012-1-22 19:18
I was a teacher, and it seems that you are reading every single teacher's mind. since no dish suits all tastes, its really hard to please everyone. my father was a teacher,and that isone of the reasons that i was expected to follow in my father's footsteps being one, but against his will though the salary of teachers keeps on rising, i have to bring myself to the truth that teaching career is a hard going, and now its becoming not to be my cup of tea as time goes by. but i do admire your aspiration !
Reply Fionahere 2012-3-7 21:41
Nowaday, it's really getting a little harder for teachers. They need to cater for various students. In my eys, there's no need  for teachers to entertain their students, but they do need teach in a humorous or witty way, which can absorb stuents' interests. Besides, the teachers should teach the students not only the knowledge fact but also the strategies of learning, the way of thinking.
     It's easy to say than to do. Indeed, I'm a teacher, too, but my students are far younger than yours. We are just facing different problems. However, we are the same on the point that we should get our students  love our teaching and us as well. There's really a long way to go .

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