I'm Only as Good as my Teacher IsThere were two specific teachers that shaped and formed me into the person that I am today.  I absolutely love them, and am very grateful for everything...

I'm Only as Good as my Teacher Is

There were two specific teachers that shaped and formed me into the person that I am today.  I absolutely love them, and am very grateful for everything they have provided for me.  I still go to see them, and converse with them almost every day. 

Let me just state my love for the craft of writing.  I write almost every day.  It soothes me.  Now,  my new grade 10 academic English teacher is very daunting and intimidating.  Her teaching style is very confined; there's no community in the classroom, everyone is to keep their mouths shut and write constant notes on literary devices, etc.  She makes me feel like I'm going to fail in the course.  I can't take it.  She just recently gave us a test today (which I think is stupid:  There should not be tests in literature. I shouldn't be confined to a time limit for my answers.  I can write a story in 10 minutes, or a story in 3 years.)  I did not finish it.  I missed three questions, and since I had a time limit, I had to rush my thoughts.  I don't expect a good grade. 

My inability to do things is increasing the more I'm with her.  I want to become a writer when I grow up, and I can't have people like her causing me to lose the determination that I once had. 

Am I the only one that absolutely needs the best teachers to do well and succeed?    

Asked on by demonic790

12 Answers | Add Yours

mike-krupp's profile pic

mike-krupp | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I think your statement "I'm only as good as my Teacher Is" has elements of truth and -- well, call it "non-truth".  It isn't true that you are defined by your teacher's opinion.  I have an impression of your skill and your intelligence, and your frustration with a teacher who does not know how to motivate you.

Your conflicts -- with the teacher and your own self-image -- will not be easy to resolve, especially by yourself.  It is not easy to overcome  the bad image of yourself that your teacher is giving you.  I think it would be a good idea to look for assistance, perhaps by a school counselor, or a teacher you do respect, or somebody who you think will understand the situation and advise you effectively.

I know, I sound a bit like Ann Landers.  But you are in a situation where you have to advance yourself in spite of an unfavorable environment.  Apparently your teacher doesn't know how to help you, so you have to do it yourself.

Good luck.  If you want to reply, I'll check back in a while.  And "don't let the bastards grind you down".

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psmortimer | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

We all had teachers who inspired us and others that made us go into therapy. I am fortunate that my English and Lit teachers were fabulous.

As for this particular teacher, consider these items:

  • The teacher is new at the job and inexperienced at how to get the best out of her students OR she has been in the job for a hundred years and needs to retire.
  • The teacher may be confined by the administration as to how she teaches. Not an excuse, just a fact.
  • I would speak with the teacher directly at first. There may be some options to make you feel better about your experience in class. It does sound stifling but you seem to have a strong mind and will.
  • Speak with a guidance counselor. There may be alternatives such as another class or some way to make it work for you. You never know until you ask. I had kids that hated English and/or lit because of the teacher. It was a completely different story one on one.

I'm with the others in saying DO NOT GIVE UP. The world needs good writers and your style is already coming through.

 

 

jk180's profile pic

James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

 I'm a determined student, and I wasn't expecting you to get the impression that I need only the best to achieve great things.  And I know that, ''Am I the only one that absolutely needs the best teachers to do well and succeed?'' says the exact opposite.  I was only trying to get across exactly what I was feeling, and why I was feeling this way.  I may not like the teacher, but I will eventually adapt to her teaching style and implant it in my head as something that I learned from the past, and how it has benefited me in a positive way.

But please understand exactly how important literature is to me.  Venting about my distressing situation on an English forum might explain to you how much I care.  I can't stand to see myself get a low grade.  I feel failure, and do everything I can do get the mark I rightfully deserve.  But as of right now, she isn't helping me with that.         

Thanks for your comments. 

I enjoyed reading your initial post and the discussion it provoked, and overall I'm sympathetic because -- probably like every one of the people responding here -- I can remember teachers who inspired me and teachers who didn't. I can also remember often enjoying classes that had a strong sense of community and disliking those that didn't.

At the same time, however, I honestly don't feel that same sympathy when I read your most recent comments about grades, including "I can't stand to see myself get a low grade.  I feel failure, and do everything I can do get the mark I rightfully deserve. But as of right now, she isn't helping me with that." Grades should not be taken as measures of overall success or failure; they measure (very imperfectly, at that) a student's performance in a particular course. Grades have no direct connection to someone's passion for a subject, and certainly no one student walking into a class deserves anything more than other students walking into that class. Everyone works and everyone earns (in the ideal world, at least) a grade that reflects their overall level of performance in that particular course.

You are right to conclude that teachers should help students reach their goals, including target grades. Like a number of others posting here, I would imagine that just about any teacher would enjoy talking with you one-on-one about your performance in the course and be willing to offer insight that might help you reach that target grade.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The above posts are giving lots of good advice, but what no one has mentioned is that if you choose to go to a college/university in 2 years, you are going to need the ability to adapt to all kinds of teaching styles and personalities.

Timed writing is not a bad thing.  In the "real world" you will certainly be under deadlines for almost anything you are doing.  Practicing now is only benefitting you.  Not to mention, I think every one of my college English exams had a time limit, even if they required essays.

I think you are right about the way a good teacher brings out the best in you.  I'm excited you've experienced that so young already.  Now it is time to learn how you can function and excel no matter who your teacher is.  Success (in life, actually) lies in being able to combine your strengths and weaknesses to those with whom you are working to produce great things.

susan3smith's profile pic

susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I'm guessing that you must be in a high level class.  Your teacher is most likely concerned about your academic future.  The timed writings and the strict enforcement of discipline are probably geared to prepare you for standardized writing tests, such as the SAT or AP exams.  Doing well on these requires a different skill set than creative writing. 

Give your teacher a chance.  Sometimes the teachers who are the strictest, the ones we like the least, turn out to be the ones to whom we are most grateful.  It is these teachers who demand more from us than we knew was possible. 

By all means don't give up on your own writing.  Just recognize, though, that many different kinds of writing are required for the world today.  Try to glean from the class what is useful to you while at the same time continue to find your own style and other outlets for your writing. You might develop a Writers Club so that you and other interested writers can share and interact on a more informal basis, and you have more control over the kinds of writing that you do. 

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The beautiful thing about writing is that it's personal.  I'm sorry you're having this experience and feeling this way, but what you do or don't do in this class or on these kinds of exams is not directly correlated to what or how you write when you're free to write whatever you'd like to write.  Use this time in this class to learn (or re-learn) some basic literary and writing skills, then unleash them on your own work outside of class.  You were very fortunate to have several "seed-planters" in your life, but not everyone is a seed-planter.  Sounds like you might have a "weed-picker" right now, but every garden needs that, as well.  Perhaps this is a chance to pay closer attention to the rules and guidelines of written work (the technical or mechanical aspects) rather than on the creative and expressive aspect of writing.  It's a shame there isn't a little more balance, but both components have merit if you want to be a writer.  This, too, shall pass; and you'll go on to be a writer despite any of these roadblocks in your way.  In fact, they'll make you stronger and more determined--I can already hear it in your writer's "voice."  Go make all of us English teachers proud!

P.S. Your tag line says "I'm only as good as my teacher is." That's just not true, and thinkingthat way limits who you can be and how far you can go. I think we teachers all hope--just like parents do for their children--that our students grow to be even better than we are in all the ways that count. You sound like you're on your way.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Well, first of all let me just say good for you for exploring your writing, and for having career and personal goals at such a young age  I am a teacher, and that is both rare and good to see.  Secondly, don't let one teacher discourage you.  Sometimes you'll have a teacher that just doesn't jive with your learning style or way of doing things, you just can't connect.  It happens.  It's even possible the teachers you loved intimidated a different students with a different style as well.

Sure, you need to pass the class, hopefully better than pass.  So ask for help, and do what it takes to get through it, even if you disagree with the teaching style or the expectations (as they are probably impossible to change). But don't let it get in the way of your writing goals.  One class does not an author make or break.  You'll get through this, sooner than you think, and then you get to make your own rules for writing.  Some of the greatest writers in history were very unconventional.  That could be you.

ramashishsharma's profile pic

ramashishsharma | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Teachers have an indelible influence on students thought and preceptions. Great teachers make great persons. I have read  and I firmly believe that behind every great man there are the hands of a great parent or teacher. Teachers are able to influence infinity in the life of his/her pupil. Thus there is no denying the fact that 'I'm Only as Good as my Teacher Is'. No one can forget good teachers who have been instrumental in shaping our thoughts and personality. No doubt we owe to them for what ever we are. In this context the term teacher should be taken in its broadest sense. Any persons who have been helpful to us in the process of learning skills or wisdom are teachers. Our own personality and convictions are very much shaped by the things we observe in them.

There are people who say that Nature is the best teacher. The idea deserves attention in this respect. Wordsworth got his personality from Nature. But who took him to Nature. Plato was the product of Socates. The world is going ahead with the help of good and great teachers.

demonic790's profile pic

demonic790 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

Thank you everyone for your posts.  I'll keep with it. 

@Jk

I am aware that marks don't reflect my strenghts or weaknessess in any way.  The schoolboard enforces grades so much, that they make you feel as thought grades are the only things that matter.  A low grade makes you a bad student, that's what everybody thinks because of much pressure is put onto you for that A. 

Just a side note:

Is there any area on the site that I could post some of my works? 

demonic790's profile pic

demonic790 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

 I'm a determined student, and I wasn't expecting you to get the impression that I need only the best to achieve great things.  And I know that, ''Am I the only one that absolutely needs the best teachers to do well and succeed?'' says the exact opposite.  I was only trying to get across exactly what I was feeling, and why I was feeling this way.  I may not like the teacher, but I will eventually adapt to her teaching style and implant it in my head as something that I learned from the past, and how it has benefited me in a positive way.

But please understand exactly how important literature is to me.  Venting about my distressing situation on an English forum might explain to you how much I care.  I can't stand to see myself get a low grade.  I feel failure, and do everything I can do get the mark I rightfully deserve.  But as of right now, she isn't helping me with that.         

Thanks for your comments. 

demonic790's profile pic

demonic790 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

Of course I understand that the core of my own knowledge comes from my determination and self-reliance.  I have had teachers in the past that have failed me.  Everyone should take into consideration just how subjective writing can be.  It's not like math or science where there is always one correct answer.  Literature contains hundreds of thousands of different viewpoints, and some of those might not exactly click with a specific person next to the other.  You can't judge me and state that I'm using excuses as a cover up for my own failures.  Quite the opposite actually.  What I say is fact.  Ask any of your students, and they'll explain to you exactly why the better teachers improve you even further.  Strictness isn't a way to get into my thought and teach me anything but the fact that I would rather not have that educator ever again.  I have no doubts that I will improve in her class, even if it's not seen in her eyes by giving me everything but the mark I expect for myself. 

Continues....

 

 

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

For this world to progress. it is absolutely for some students to become better than their teachers. Unless this is so, the theoretical maximum capability of a person will be limited by that of his or her teacher. In practice this is may get reduced successively for every link in the teacher-student chain where the student fails to equal the capabilities of the teacher. This is a very gloomy picture of the world, which is not in line with reality.

Students have been surpassing the performance of their teachers and the world has been improving. So stop using the quality of your teachers as an excuse for your own failure. Teachers can help you achieve your potential. It is your good luck when you get a teacher who is very good. Make best use of the opportunity. But in final analysis, If you must accept the responsibility for your own development. This means,finding way to progress even when you do not have that good luck. Even when there is no one else to help you, you must help yourself.

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