Why you’re a bad teacher

It’s back to school time y’all and Dr. Raptor is here to tell you why you’re bad at teaching (and what you can do about it).

OK so maybe you aren’t a bad teacher, but I’m sure you know some folks in academia who are. Even if you’ve got some great teaching chops, I’m here to talk about why most of us could still be doing better. And don’t lie, my click-bait title reeled you in, right?! Right?! (call me, Buzzfeed)

Top 4 Reasons You’re Bad at Teaching

  1. Your education did not involve any training or coursework in teaching, you TA’d a few classes in grad school but other than that you’re just winging it.
  2. Your tenure/promotion/next job depends on student reviews of your teaching, so you teach in a way that makes students feel good about themselves, instead of in a way that best enables their learning
  3. You ignore research on education and learning in your discipline or don’t even know it exists; or you do know it exists and don’t use it because it takes too much time and effort to change your classes.
  4. You don’t really care or don’t have the energy/time to care because your institution doesn’t care or actively dissuades you from caring.

OK so now that we’ve got the main reasons you suck at teaching, let’s unpack them! Weeee!!!

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Why is it always my job to fix men?

I was a pretty serious tomboy as a kid. I mostly wore oversized t-shirts, jeans from the boy’s section, converse high tops, and most of my friends were boys. I was also a good student, and a well-behaved kid. Unlike many of the boys I considered my closest friends, I never had to sit on the hard polished wooden bench outside of the Principal’s office.

This dynamic apparently did not go unnoticed by my elementary school. In the 4th grade, my teacher paired me in a classroom with a number of these “troubled” boys. When my mother asked about this, she was told by the (female) teacher that it was because I ‘calmed them down’. My mother was furious. Why was it my job to make these boys behave? Why should my educational needs be potentially compromised or not taken into consideration because these boys needed help that the teacher and the school wasn’t prepared to provide? While she was enraged, I felt a different feeling – a strange sensation of pleasure at being “the one” who could solve all of these boys’ problems just by my mere presence.
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