How to Spot a Bad Teacher

by Graham Hull

Many times, students complain about their teachers; they may not like the teaching style or the work assigned. However, how can one really tell the difference between simple student complaints or legitimate issues of poor teaching in the classroom? In fact, through looking at how a teacher interacts in the classroom, the types of comments that he or she gives while grading papers, or how the teacher aids student progress, it is easy to separate great teachers from under-performing teachers.

To first understand if a teacher is not working well in the classroom, it is a good idea to observe how the teacher interacts with students. Of course, there are many different teaching styles, but good teachers are concerned with student performance and building rapport in the classroom. Conversely, a poor teacher is one who does not care about building a relationship with students. This type of teacher ignores students' needs and creates a destructive environment that does not allow students to progress. This teacher is often yelling at students, though not offering any solutions of how to improve situations. In short, this type of teacher is inflexible and does not see any need to improve his or her teaching style; thus, this teacher is not invested in the students. In fact, this type of teacher unfortunately impedes student progress, as he or she is more concerned with getting through another school day, rather than making sure that the students feels safe and comfortable in the classroom environment.

Another way to judge teaching ability is to see how a teacher performs essay editing duties. Essay editing is a tricky task for any educator, as he or she needs to assess how to best approach the essay and give constructive feedback. Similarly, these skills are very important for students to learn, as they will use editing techniques throughout their college careers and beyond. Poor educators often just mark a grade at the top of a paper, with no valuable comments. Providing valuable commentary is a task that will help students, as they are often not skilled revising. So, by learning writing strategies from their teacher, they will be able to go on and write better papers throughout their college careers and beyond. If a student has a teacher who is not invested in teaching better writing techniques, then the student will not gain anything from the lack of comments. Thus, students need teachers who are invested in teaching and can provide useful commentary. A good teacher would provide thorough editing tips, and then speak with the student about his or her ideas to help improve the paper. However, the uninvolved teacher eschews the importance of giving consistent written feedback and would rather save time by putting a grade at the top of a paper.

Much like providing excellent written commentary, it is important to see how teachers help students reach their goals. With education being the subject of much debate recently, there has been an increased need for teachers to help students meet state and national testing goals. If a teacher is not presenting materials well, providing helpful feedback, or making sure that students are meeting or outpacing the goals for their grade, then the teacher is not doing an effective job within the classroom. Again, this is a disservice to students, as they will continue through their education lacking the basic skills that they will need to survive in the workplace.

Having a bad teacher is not beneficial to any student in the educational system today. If a teacher provides poor performance and rapport in the classroom, then the students do not benefit from a good classroom environment. Similarly, teachers who don't provide good writing techniques do a disservice to students, who will need these skills throughout their lives. Finally, teachers who do not help students reach their goals are also unhelpful to students. If a student has a teacher that fits any of these examples above, he or she should make a complaint to the school and urge the administration to provide quality education for all students.

This post was written by Graham Hull

Graham Hull loves his teaching job, but despises having to be a policeman inside the school.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rafaela Dubberly June 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.


yortz November 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

This is very good content. I have enjoyed reading your views on this subject and I share some of your views. Thank you for sharing.


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