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Why students dislike their teachers

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

The things students don't like about their teachers

There are plenty of reasons students don't like their teachers. Students dislike when their teachers aren't consistent or that their teachers think they know it all. Nor do they like when their teachers criticize them instead of helping them.

This is because students want to improve and get better grades, but if they feel like their teacher isn't on their side, what's the point?

Students don't like when their teachers do nothing about bullying or other inappropriate behavior from other students.

This is because if there is inappropriate behavior happening around the classroom and the teacher doesn't do anything about it, then the student who is being bullied will feel powerless and won't know what to do.

What are some of the other things they don’t like?

This article discusses the things students don’t like about their teachers. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be more aware of how you can improve your teaching methods and become an overall better teacher.

These are among the main reasons why students dislike their teachers:

1) lack of professionalism

Some students dislike their teachers. If you ask them, they will give you a variety of reasons for this dislike. But if you think about it, you realize that all those reasons come down to one thing: an absence of professionalism.

Students like teachers who are professional. A professional teacher has a goal and pursues it with skill and vigor; he is an expert; he knows his material; he delivers it in a way that his students can learn from.

A professional teacher may not be the world's most fascinating human being, but his job is not to entertain the class but to teach it.

Why do students dislike nonprofessional teachers? Because those teachers don't seem to know what they want, and so they waste the students' time and energy accomplishing nothing for them.

Students think teachers should be models of professionalism. They feel entitled to a certain level of performance, and they get frustrated when the teacher doesn't deliver.

The sense of entitlement can come from a lot of places.

Some students think the teacher is their employee. Others think the teacher is a celebrity, or a hero, or, at least, a role model. Some students think teachers should be their friends. In any case, they feel let down when the teacher fails to be what they expected them to be.

2) lack of commitment

Students dislike teachers who lack commitment. They want to know that the teacher cares about teaching them. If the teacher doesn't care, why should they?

The students are right. Teaching is hard, and most of what you get out of it is intangible.

You get social status if the surrounding people think you're a good teacher. You get respect if your students like you and believe they learned from you. And students don't learn from someone they don't respect, or from someone who doesn't seem to care about them or their education.

But these rewards are mostly in the short term, while teaching is a long-term relationship. In order for it to work, both sides have to invest in the relationship over the long term, even when they feel no immediate benefit from doing so.

Students also dislike teachers who don't take their subject seriously. Students want their teachers to be experts in their field, and experts take things seriously.

Students are right about this too, but there is a more subtle point here too: expert knowledge is not created by experts playing around — it comes from experts taking things seriously and investing time in learning something well enough to teach about it.

We dislike people who lack commitment; we don't like it when they try to undercut the standards that define us

Another reason students dislike teachers who lack commitment is that such teachers often seem arbitrary and unjust. Students dislike arbitrary, unjust people even more than they dislike sloppy thinkers.

Students who complain about their teachers usually complain not that their teachers aren't smart enough or haven't read the book, but that their teachers don't treat them fairly. Students want their teachers to be committed not just to teaching them something but also to treating them fairly.

3) lack of inspiration

If students dislike their teachers, it is often because the teachers are cynical or burned out. This is true whether they are cynical about education or just cynicism about the class.

But even if they lack inspiration, why do they dislike their students? Often because the students lack inspiration.

Many students dislike learning. They think it is uncool, or pointless, or requires too much work for too little payoff. If you want to be a teacher but your subject does not inspire you, how can you be inspiring to people who are even less inspired than you? And how can they be inspired by someone who is uninspired?

Everyone knows that there is no substitute for enthusiasm

Students hate teachers who lack inspiration. The students might not put it into words, but they can tell the difference, and they know which teachers are inspired and which ones aren't.

They will not say that one of their teachers is a jerk or a moron, even if that's how they feel. So instead they say the teacher is boring. But the interesting question is: what makes a teacher boring?

It has nothing to do with intelligence, or knowledge, or experience. Not all intelligent people are boring, and not all ignorant people are boring either. What matters is whether you care about what you're talking about.

What makes a teacher seem boring is when you can see that he doesn't really believe in what he's saying. He just wants a paycheck. If a teacher believes in what he's saying — if he feels it in his gut-then he will have the passion to resist the temptation to turn every class into a test of whether you've been paying attention.

4) lack of patience

In my experience, students dislike their teachers when they feel that teachers have little patience with them.

If a student persists in doing something silly or wrong, a patient teacher will correct the error patiently, over and over, if necessary. And a patient teacher is also likely to repeat explanations of why something is wrong until the student understands how and why it went wrong.

But a teacher lacking in patience will either become annoyed and stop trying to explain, or will give up correcting mistaken answers at all.

Students know the difference. They may not put it into words, but they sense when a teacher is giving up on them. And when that happens, they give up on the teacher.

Teachers also dislike students who lack patience. But they don't express their displeasure as clearly as students do. They fall back instead on the standard teacher complaint: "They're lazy."

Tis true, some students are lazier than others, but what teachers really mean is that many students lack patience. And it's not just that they lack the patience to sit still, listen, and take notes. They lack the patience to try to figure out what the teacher is saying, and even more the patience to think about it for themselves after class.

The reason you can learn complex things quickly when you are young is because you have so much energy and so little knowledge. As your knowledge gets bigger, it takes longer to fit new things in; there's less room for them.

It would be wonderful if everything always happened for the first time only once. Then you could learn it by heart from a book or a lecture, and never have to think about it again as long as you lived. But as soon as you've learned something once, you have to do it again with less energy and more knowledge. This takes more time and makes more demands on your patience.

5) lack of creativity

Creative teachers aren't merely good at delivering lectures. They create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. Such teachers are adept at helping students learn through active participation and meaningful assignments. And they're just plain fun to be around! Creative teachers also model critical thinking, which teaches students how to think on their own.

Creative teachers challenge the status quo in their profession by taking risks with lesson plans and course materials, and they don't let laziness or fear of failure keep them from pushing students to reach higher levels of achievement.

Creative teachers stay abreast of fresh developments in pedagogy. They experiment and engage in scholarly work related to their field.

You can't teach what you don't know. Creative teachers strive to stay current in their fields of knowledge. They read journals and books, and they network with colleagues and attend professional conferences and workshops.

Some teachers assume that creativity suffers because too much technology has entered our classrooms, but technology can spark creative thinking and free up time for putting creative teaching strategies to the test — as well as for one-on-one interaction with students.

Teaching is a creative endeavor, so creative teachers should use every tool at their disposal to make it more effective.

6) lack of enthusiasm

It's difficult to teach something you don't like. I know; I've tried it. It's hard to stay enthusiastic about something, when you've seen the best arguments for it and still aren't persuaded. But if you can't do that, if you can't convince yourself that there is value in what you are teaching, then why should you expect your students to be convinced?

Even if a student is not naturally enthusiastic about a subject, the excitement of the teacher can still motivate them to learn it. In some areas, enthusiasm can be contagious.

Students don't just want their teachers to be knowledgeable about the subject; they want them to care about it. They want someone who is excited and engaged and makes them excited and engaged. Students like teachers who seem enthusiastic.

7) lack of knowledge

The same mistaken ideas about teaching in many places. Some think that good teaching is mainly a matter of having a friendly manner, or interesting slides, or an inspirational lecture opener.

This is wrong for three reasons:

One: students can tell when you don't know what you're talking about. If your class isn't going well, it's probably because you don't really know what you're doing.

Two: students take their cues from you regarding what counts as an important idea and as to how hard work pays off. If they think you don't like having to teach the material yourself, they won't like it either.

Three: your lectures can be great and your homework terrible, and vice versa; the two things have nothing to do with each other.

The right way to think about teaching is that it is a craft that can be learned by studying the practices of excellent teachers and then practicing yourself.

There are some things that will always work no matter who you are or what your students are like, but there are also many things that only work if you have mastered them through practice. Some of these are obvious, such as knowing your material cold; some are not so obvious, such as being able to tell when students are confused.

In a social media age, we are the media, which makes us the message. Our culture, to a large extent, is whatever we choose to broadcast.

What does that imply for teachers?

That they must be especially aware of their influence on students. That they must not only teach what is needed but also be models of good citizenship in the digital age.

The most important thing teachers can do to promote civic responsibility among their students is to show that they practice what they preach. They should show openly the virtues of openness and transparency in their own classrooms and lives.

The best way to do this is to share with students the sources of their knowledge — by making available, for example, their teaching notes, videos of themselves in action, summaries of books they have read, and so on.

Students will appreciate this, even if at first it feels strange. Students will also see that teachers are human beings who make mistakes.

Remain open-minded about new ways of teaching and learning

Every student has a teacher that they love and adore, and another one that is the absolute worst.

What makes a teacher one or the other?

There are a lot of factors involved in what makes a teacher successful at work.

To improve your teaching capabilities, it is important to understand why students dislike their teachers.

In most cases, the quality of a teacher has a large impact on how much a student enjoys their classes. In fact, most students feel they learn more from teachers they like.

Students who dislike their teachers often complain that the teacher is boring and seems uninterested in doing a good job. Sometimes, teachers who have been teaching for some time fall into this trap. They have become so accustomed to doing things a certain way that they no longer pay as much attention as they should to their students’ needs.

In order to avoid this problem, it is important for teachers to always remain open-minded about new methods of teaching and learning that may be more effective than those they have been using in the past. It is also important that teachers keep abreast of fresh developments in the fields they are teaching so that they can maintain an interesting perspective on whatever subject matter they decide to share with their students.


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