Don't Be Afraid of Intelligence

Teachers don't want to make A's. They want to make human beings. 

By: Evan Heiderscheidt

Teaching is a difficult and stressful job and since most students don’t know if teachers are stressed or are having a difficult time, that can make it even harder on a teacher because of grading work and taking care of the students.

“I think as an English teacher-and I’m pretty sure if you asked any English teacher-we have a lot of grading to do,” said Tony Bilotta. “But I think when you get into English then you know that’s going to be the case.” 

Teachers don’t usually talk about their lives with their students, so students have to play a guessing game as to what their teachers really are like, which is probably what leads to these assumptions about their lives being easy. Another teacher, Teresa Potina, who is in her second year at teaching Grandview, and her twelfth year teaching overall, elaborated on the experience and stress of teaching.

“It’s really stressful, when you’re telling the same kid to be quiet seven times,” said Potina. “But you don’t want to say it in a mean way because you know that that relationship is important to that kid, it’s really hard because that kid wants to be heard but everybody else just wants him to shut up.”

Grading and stress does sometimes depend on the teachers themselves too. If a teacher is new to a school or new to teaching, then students can be stressful to them. A lot can go into making teaching a stressful job, but sometimes the fact that teachers have so much to take care of, and usually 25-30 students on average for each class and 8 classes per day, (Except on an A-Day, B-Day system like Grandview) then this adds even more stress to the job.

“Sometimes grading gets piled up but you try to space things out or try to do it to where you grade stuff and get it back in a timely manner. Maybe in your first year or second year of teaching it’s a little more stressful than it is now,” said GHS teacher Jeff Ryan.

Teachers can also feel that they need to change their teaching styles in order to accommodate to all different types of students and learners.

“I definitely think that there’s always room for improvement and I think I have to be aware with my hands-on learners that get really bored with just hearing a story,” said Potina. “So maybe different reading arrangements, different ways to be able to convey a level of knowledge that that the kids have-- those are things that I could look at for my teaching to improve upon.”

As well as trying new things each year, the lecturing can be the problem that a teacher may want to change.

“I think trying to incorporate different types of styles, not being afraid to try different things and sometimes you get stuck in the same routine where its like, ‘Hey this lecture worked really good last year, I’m gonna do it again this year,’ where maybe you can always fluctuate it, change it up and instead of just doing a lecture, let’s try doing an activity along with it.” said Ryan.

A student getting passing grades on every paper or test would make a teacher happy or proud, but their students are more important to them than just that. Sometimes they want their students to walk out with something more than when they walked in. Taking all of this into account can add more stress too. 

“I want my students to recognize the importance of literacy and that being a good reader and writer, regardless of what field of study, what profession, whatever you want to do, is important. So it’s not something just restricted to my English class or another English class and that it’s ok to challenge yourself,” said Bilotta. “Don’t be afraid of intelligence.”

Potina made a different point about what she wants from her students besides just academics.

“If a kid sat in my class and didn’t turn in a single piece of work all year, but they left knowing that they have their own power and that they really were magical and valuable and special to people, that would make me really happy. If they left my class having had a better day because I made a funny joke, that would make me really happy,” said Potina.

Teaching may not be the best job for some people. It can bring a lot of stress into a person’s life and cause a person to do much more work. But at the end of the day, teachers don’t mind the stress and work, it’s part of the job after all, and the most important thing is that their students learn something in class, whether that’s academically or not.

“If I taught them how to be better human beings and to care about other people just a little bit more, that would make me happy. As far as academics, if they learned every single thing that I taught them and aced every single vocab quiz and test and essay, that would make me happy too, but not as happy as if they were a decent human being.” said Potina.

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