9 Comments

Do Teachers Encourage… Or Discourage?

The career of a teacher is one of the most well known in the world. From an early age, we all know what a teacher does, why they do it, and as we get older, we’re told that it’s a secure job – one that has high pay, good holidays and is also considered easy.

However in society we constantly underestimate the role of a teacher. We forget that a teacher doesn’t waltz into school, sing the alphabet to infants, and walk out again later on that day. A teacher has to work hard to impart knowledge, and it’s certainly not something that everyone can do. The reality is that they spend half of their personal lives thinking about school, their pupils, and planning lessons and researching new teaching methods. At least, that’s what a good teacher does.

So what’s the difference between a good and a bad teacher? A good teacher doesn’t have to have all the answers. They treat the students with respect, they always say criticism so that it doesn’t feel like a criticism, they work their absolute hardest, but most of all, they encourage and they inspire. Personally, throughout my school life, which is soon to come to an end, the best teachers I have had were the ones that always encouraged me. They weren’t the ones who knew every Maths formula off by heart, or the ones who could quote all of Hamlet’s soliloquy of Act 3, Scene 1. The best teachers are the ones who aren’t just full of passion for their subject area, they’re also passionate about teaching – about the idea that a student will leave their classroom with new knowledge.

So if a teacher’s job is to encourage, then why is it that so many teachers discourage students? Recently in my school we had a talk from a guest speaker, who was a past pupil of the school, and who has made it big working in America. He mentioned that while he was in school, a teacher called two of the “messers” up to the front of the class, and announced to the class that in ten years time, nobody would want to be like them, even if they were considered cool at the time.

And that really got me thinking. Why is it that so many teachers believe that somehow, it’s acceptable to condemn a student because of their antics in their classroom? How dare they say that that person will never amount to anything, simply because they, as a teacher, have failed to interest them in their subject area, and have failed to get respect from them?

Have you ever been “condemned” by a teacher? Have you ever been shouted at and told that you will never amount to anything? Albert Einstein, for example, didn’t speak until he was four years old, and didn’t read until he was seven years old. Eventually he was expelled from school. It’s interesting that this person, who was completely dismissed by the education system, went on to win the Nobel Prize and and change the face of modern physics.

Thomas Edison was once told by a teacher that he was “too stupid to learn anything”. Winston Churchill, one of the most renowned British Prime Minister’s of the 2oth century, failed school.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being told that your endeavours in life will fail, just remember: Teachers aren’t always right. Any teacher who makes such an unfair observation isn’t a real teacher, they’re just a civil servant working for a wage. At the end of the day, the only person who can decide on your success is yourself.

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9 comments on “Do Teachers Encourage… Or Discourage?

  1. Excellent point deary. Teaching is often perceived as easy but as you said, it’s not, for those teachers who do actually work to be the best teacher they can. I think your point about good teachers being encouraging is the most important thing a teacher will do. It is so important as a teacher to raise the self esteem and feeling of achievement and pride in our students. If we make them feel worthless, then they will go onto be worthless. We have to make them believe that they can reach the moon if they try! We are responsible for the next generation and through how we treat them, and how we teach them, we will partially determine the people they will become. By this, I don’t mean the careers they will go on to have, I mean the morals, beliefs, values and positive characteristics they will have and use in their day to day life. And that is of the utmost importance.

  2. Patrick, Louise I love both you blog and reply. Self-esteem is vitally important to a human being and it is something that needs to be encouraged from as young an age as possible. I agree with both of you, the problem is not so much that the teacher dismisses a pupil as that those teachers who love their profession and the art of teaching have no need to speak to students in that way because if they are imparting the knowledge in an interesting and stimulating way the student will engage and there is then a need only for praise and encouragement
    Well done you both!!!
    Your Mum

  3. Wow, very interesting blog baby bro!
    And so true! i suppose in my second level education i experienced a lot of these ‘civil servants working for a wage’. a lot of my teachers destroyed my self esteem and led me to believe i wouldn’t get into college.
    my career guidance teacher told me, more or less, that i would never get enough points for the college courses i wanted.
    my art teacher was impatient with my work because she hated teaching, and only paid attention to 1 or 2 pupils. she regularly used my drawings as bad examples in front of the class, and loudly referred to my drawings as bad.
    i think this whole thing of teachers being discouraging starts off from teachers being frustrated at what they’re doing.
    many art and music teachers would much prefer to practice their creativity than teach it. many career guidance teachers are ignorant and don’t understand alternative routes to education and employment.
    it is astonishing how much ignorant people exist in teaching careers; people who couldn’t care less if they’re there or not and discourage students if they’re not perfect at a chosen subject.
    how can a student with low self esteem achieve if their teacher is constantly embarrassing them and telling them they’re not any good?
    it is often the pupils who find a subject challenging who achieve more in the long run, because they know what it is like to fail, which will make them good teachers in the future.
    the teachers who discourage are probably the ones who as students themselves, didn’t struggle or fail so therefore don’t understand what a person needs when they fail, to bring them back to their feet.
    the last thing they need is further discouragement!!
    love your sis ash xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. One of my school teacher always discourage me by saying that i m losing my talent…he says so just becoz i ignored him one day…he was my most fav teacher…

    • That’s awful Nancy, it’s such a shame that teachers can behave in this way. Please remember that you are talented, and nothing he says can ever change that. You are not defined by the people who teach you!

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