What do my students think?

Recently, I received this response to one of my postings…

“As a student it really sucks to hear that you do not enjoy teaching anymore. I understand that times have changed, yet you being at the University level, you need to show future educators that it still is something to look forward to.  How do your students feel about you not wanting to do this anymore?”  Asked by, Anon.

Well, Anon [come on, give up a name of some sort 🙂 ] here is my response:

My students TOTALLY understand. The reason they understand is because of the type of teacher I am…I am open and honest and have always told it that way it is. I have also always tried my best to be a good role model.

I believe that it is important for students to understand exactly what they are getting into when they choose the teaching field. You see, many people truly believe that teaching is a piece of cake. You go into a class and just do it. My students have learned, through their various practicum activities, that teaching IS HARD WORK. 

  • A good teacher believes in their students’ potential at all times.
  • A good teacher is an ongoing diagnostician…that means that every single response you get from a student, you ANALYZE on the spot and figure out where you need to go next in your instruction.
  • A good teacher takes work home every single night (if not on paper, in their head).
  • A good teacher makes time to work individually with students when needed and even when a student doesn’t know it is needed.
  • A good teacher cares deeply about their students, not only educationally, but as people.
  • A good teacher knows when it is time to push and when it is time to back off.
  • A good teacher advocates for students when it is needed.
  • A good teacher does everything humanly possible to keep his/her own skills sharp.
  • A good teacher does the best he/she can to find time for balance so that rapid burnout does not occur.
  • A good teacher knows how to do the mountains of paperwork in a timely and effiicient manner (and if you are in an area of special ed like I am and my students will be, we have the Mt. McKinley version of paperwork)

I could go on and on about what A GOOD TEACHER does.  One additional thing that a good teacher does is KNOW when it is time to move on!

How many teachers have you had that are stale and simply marking time, counting off the days until THEY CAN RETIRE and that all they really think about is collecting on unused sick days and retiring?  I know, when I was in school (K-20+ counting my Ph.D.), I had far too many of those types of teachers. And to some degree, I find it terribly embarrassing to my profession that I see far too many of that type of teacher in higher education as well. They are collecting a pay check and counting down the days.

I WILL NEVER become one of those teachers. I want to leave knowing that I have tried my hardest and done my best with my ‘kids’…and ALL of my students are ‘my kids’. I will work with them and for them as long as I am their teacher. I want my students to know that after 35 years of teaching (at all levels in education) you know in your heart and mind when it is time to move on.

Part of it for me is that education has changed in such a negative way. I DO NOT LIKE what has happened to education in this country and honestly, I am too tired to fight.

Part of it is the nature of the students…so many come to school feeling entitled. “I am entitled to an ‘A’ in your class just because I showed up.” (I can’t tell you how many students sit in faculty offices LITERALLY crying about not getting an ‘A’ in the class and that it is the end of their lives.) “I am entitled to every minute of your day just for me because I have a cell phone and you have a cell phone and I can call you anytime.” “I am entitled to get instant gratification for every assignment/test/ project that I turn in…you need to grade it immediately and get it back to me.”  “I own you and your time because I pay for your services.”

OBVIOUSLY not all students are like this….but each year, more and more view their teachers as consumables; a product of turning education into a consumer-based system.  Students (and their parents) are customers and teachers provide a service. It isn’t a stretch to see how that is applied when you get to higher ed.

So, you wonder how my students feel?  They have told me repeatedly that they understand, they support me, and that were so very happy to have had me as a teacher.

I have been blessed to have had some of the most wonderful human beings in my Deaf Ed program. They have all found their paths (some have found that teaching WAS NOT their path!) and I am proud to say that I stay in touch with my graduates…I go to their weddings, I know the names of their children, and I write letters of reference for them well after their graduation.

It is TIME for me to say goodbye and it is important for me to do it when I still find joy in my time with my students.

Hope that answered your question, Anon!


16 days to go…..


8 Responses to “What do my students think?”

  1. 1 kb
    November 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    I am your student, I’ve been with you for years, I have seen you go to the ends of the earth for us, that takes a toll on a person! It’s time for a break, I have had so much fun in your classes it wouldn’t be the same and I wouldn’t have learned and grown as much if you were one of the professors that didn’t enjoy being there and didn’t consider us as your own children. You know what I have gone through and how far I have come, I KNOW I wouldn’t have done it without you! The program will not be the same without you but nobody wants to see you burn out on it, go out while you still love it, we would all do the same thing if we were in your shoes!!!

  2. 2 judie
    November 4, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    you go girl! I guess the readers that sign ANON are cowards if all they can do is criticize! you need to say, “walk a mile in my shoes” for what you go through day to day. You give 110% to everyone and everything, that is why you know WHEN enough is enough, not like a lot of those teachers that hide under the umbrella of TENURE!

  3. 3 judie
    November 4, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    GO OBAMA!!!!! woooohoooo

  4. 4 Anon
    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 am

    I am extremely sorry if what I said offended you or your readers in any way. If I did i apologize greatly. It was not intended to be that way in the least. As a college freshman/sophomore I have a handful of professors that are on the “decline” for lack of a better word. One in particular is rated very highly but upperclassmen in the major, yet his classes seem to be lacking…a lot! He tells us all the time that he can not wait for retirement, he is sick of “us kids” and hes a not good at the whole teaching thing in general. It is very discouraging as a student and I think that some of your comments may have fueled some feelings I have towards the profs I am working with. I am sorry and do take back the comments that I made, they were defiantly not geared toward you. I’m sure that you are a great professor, that I do not disagree with..for all I do not even know you! I think it is very neat that you are so close with your students, and I would LOVE to have a professor considering the ones I have now are shit!

  5. November 5, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Hey, ok now.
    Props to Anon because obviously s/he cares enough to come back and take a look at the response. Not all Anons are trolls….especially if they come back and care about what you say as opposed to personally insulting you.
    And see mom, it’s very obvious that you may be ready to retire but you do still care about the people around you and that makes you a higher quality educator.

    Oh and hi Judie!

  6. November 5, 2008 at 6:46 am

    I have a whole new respect for you babe. How I wish many other teachers felt the way you do. Too many are just waiting out and should not be teaching. Perfect example is the teacher both my daughters had for their first year of school. She was amazing. She was wonderful. A true teacher.

    She got older. got jaded. And now is one of the most hated teachers in the district as she no longer has patience nor CARES about the 4-5 year olds in her care. Sad.

  7. 7 hotmamamia
    November 5, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Dear Anon–
    Please don’t think you offended me in any way…you DID NOT! I just like to know who I’m talking to, even if it is a pseudonym!

    I am sorry that you are experiencing some of THOSE types of profs. It makes learning so very difficult and it should be FUN..Learning should ALWAYS be fun. If you are in a teacher ed program…try to remember that…if YOU are having fun, so will your students and more importantly, they will GROW and GROW and GROW right before your eyes! Thanks for commenting and please do come back and let me know how you are doing!

  8. 8 judie
    November 7, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    o.k. ANON, you are alright in my book now! that was a hell of a thing to do and it was the right thing to do. the “deli” is a wonderful human being and you now know the students feel the same way. sorry you have those burned out, tenured teachers who don’t give rats ass about you or the future!

    HI lilac, moms going nuts here, can’t wait to have her there. be well 🙂

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