Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

October 16, 2012
Teachers should challenge, not coddle, students

All students know the feeling of sweet, sweet relief that accompanies the first day of school when you realize that one, many or all of your classes are going to be classic “easy As.” However, it is a totally different feeling when the real world comes knocking and all of those “easy” classes that taught you nothing but how to make your backpack a comfortable pillow become your downfall.

As high school students, we hear a lot about the rigors of college and how it’s going to be a completely different world than that of high school. We tend to dread the teachers that tell us, “This class is going to help you prepare for college.” We wonder why the teacher wants to make the class college level. I usually think to myself that I shouldn’t have to deal with that for at least another year. It’s something I’ve felt many times, and admittedly, sometimes I get irritated when teachers seem to expect so much.

Still, even saying all of this and knowing that learning in high school is crucial, I understand the feeling of appreciation for those teachers who allow us to slack off. After all, how could we resent those teachers that we think are doing us a favor by constantly extending due dates and making allowances for inferior work? I cannot count the number of times I have come to class unprepared only to have one of my teachers allow us to turn it in one or several days late with no penalty. In the moment, I’m grateful for it, but all it has taught me is that procrastinating and failing to do my work pays off.

The thing is, expecting less of students can hardly be considered a favor. In the long run, it becomes a detriment. I’m not saying that teachers shouldn’t be empathetic or understanding, but there is a difference between being lenient for unavoidable circumstances and being a downright pushover.

Learning to maintain good study habits and time management skills is crucial to getting through life — especially college. Even the best students in high school are often shell shocked when they get to college and realize that due dates are not suggested dates to complete your assignments by, and you can’t get good grades by sweet talking your way through a class.  Waiting until the last minute to do things just doesn’t work when hours of every day should be dedicated to homework to keep up.

Though the responsibility does rest on the students to keep up good grades and maintain good study habits, teachers do share a large portion of the blame. Allowing students to get good grades with mediocre work, never assigning homework or failing to stick to a due date all happen frequently at our local schools.

Of course, there are always the teachers who push their students and use every day to its full advantage, instructing and doing their best to make sure their students are prepped with at least the basics needed for a successful college career. However, there are so many more that are apathetic to the actual level of comprehension of their students. These teachers hand out A grades like potato chips.

Though I do not understand the stress and work load that comes with being a teacher, I do know that regardless of extraneous circumstances, it remains their responsibility to teach. Planning lessons that will take up the full class period, making certain that as many students as possible are understanding what they’re saying, being strict about quality and timeliness of work and giving out challenging assignments are all ways that, at present, many of our teachers could work on.

Recognizing the benefits of being challenged in high school is a challenge in itself. I’ll be the first to admit that my easy classes are my favorite ones. However, recognizing the need for both students and teachers to kick it into high gear is crucial to survival when many of us head off to college.


Siera Gomez is a senior at Stansbury High School.

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