Do you Have a Killing Teacher or a Killer Teacher ?
I’ve heard it today again: “I had French lessons before but the teacher was very aggressive. She would lose patience if I was not understanding or pronouncing a word well. So I didn’t really want to go to the lessons anymore.”
(No wonder you didn’t!).
Kristy had met what I call a “Killing Teacher”.
Killing Teachers kill the student’s desire/motivation to learn. This thirst of knowledge or interest for the subject may die by itself as students move on with their lives and discover new centres of interests.
There are teachers who are genuinely trying to do well but just can’t spark any interest whatsoever among their students. That’s sad.
There are teachers who have no passion for teaching (or have lost it) and can’t wait for each lesson being over even before it started, give pages and pages of photocopied exercises to kill time or because they don’t know any better. That’s bad.
And then there are teachers who terrorize their students, and that’s as bad as it can get.
Imagine an adult student who is interested in, curious or already passionate about a particular subject, CHOOSES to study it, looks for a class or a private teacher, is willing to invest time AND money to learn… and who is then despised, yelled at or humiliated ?!!
In Melbourne where I now live, I’ve had a number of students coming to me for lessons after having studied in the same French school…and complaining about the one same teacher. They would tell me: “I come from [French centre] and the teacher humiliated me” or “and I didn’t dare asking questions because the teacher would make me feel like I was so stupid and I had to do it in French only. I was dreading to go to the lessons.” When I ask: “Can I ask you the name of that teacher ?”, I always get the same answer. (In fact, I also had a bad experience with this person myself. Not a pleasant personality indeed!)
Consequently, many adult students have come to me after deciding not to put up with their Killing Teacher any longer. That’s good business for me, but it is nonetheless shocking and unacceptable.
Take my advice if you have a bad teacher /Killing Teacher:
- Speak up
- walk out
- change teacher
- print this article and give them
Don’t let them undermine your confidence.
Don’t continue the lessons with a teacher who puts any kind of negative pressure on you (make the difference with a teacher who is encouragingly pushing you to get the best from you).
Don’t feel threatened or stupid for not understanding something or understanding slowly. YOU are the student, YOU are paying for the lessons, your teacher wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t to teach people like you.
You deserve to learn in a secure environment. If students are afraid to ask questions and make mistakes, what are lessons and teachers for then? Just teaching on autopilot, without any interruption?
There are plenty of amazing teachers out there who will be delighted to share their knowledge with you; they’re waiting for you!
I know that some of you reading me are teachers, and I have no doubt you belong to the great lot 😉 Keep up the great work and pass the word on my behalf and the behalf of abused students: “Please, QUIT YOUR JOB! You’ll do everyone a great favour.”
It makes me so angry when I see that there are teachers who waste the potential and desires of other people L
Fortunately, there are also the “Killer Teachers”.
Killer Teachers are amazing, engaging, sometimes fun, inspiring, make you love their subject and look forward to the next lessons with them. They fuel your desire to learn and make everything easier to understand.
They can be strict, but only to be fair (never out of abusive power). They can see the potential in you even when you don’t and encourage you to reach for the stars – or more pragmatically, push you to help you pass an exam.
Disclaimer: even Killer Teachers can’t learn for you so don’t expect them to perform miracles if you are not putting work yourself!
They are the best teachers. Those you still fondly remember after many years and you feel gratitude for.
My dad was one of these brilliant, unforgettable people who has changed the lives of children with learning or family difficulties.
I also once had one great English teacher in secondary school – I had nicknamed him “Monsieur Andre”. I used to enjoy German much more than English, but then I had Monsieur Andre for English teacher (and a much less dedicated German teacher…). Monsieur Andre was young, dynamic, wearing colourful pants and Doc Martens shoes, he was a vegetarian with Buddhist inclinations, he was fun and playful and always chose most interesting texts to analyse. I can to this day still really appreciate Monsieur Andre’s teaching.
And you, have you had a Killing / Killer Teacher? How did they undermine / inspire you? What makes a good teacher ? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! 🙂