Experience

Some teachers lack empathy

Haley Ahmed, Guest Columnist

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Have you ever had a teacher who just shouldn’t be in a classroom?

Sure, they may have the credentials. They may have the appropriate education and the expertise. They may have been teaching for a long time. But that doesn’t make them a good teacher.

I feel like this is a subject many students, especially college students, are afraid to talk about. It’s easy to just mind our own business when a fellow student is being treated wrongly by an educator. After all, what are we going to do? Call out the person whom our grade depends on? Stand up to the person who could negatively or positively affect our GPA?? Of course not. I don’t expect anybody to. And nobody should have to.

But I see instances where such interventions are needed all the time. Educators treating students poorly, discouraging them, making the class nearly unbearable for the students.

Let me ask you a couple questions. Have you ever seen a student get thrown out of a classroom for asking a question? For possibly challenging the teacher’s knowledge? Maybe even for daring to have a differing opinion?

Have you ever been given an ultimatum – either drop the class or sit still while a teacher sucks the confidence and motivation out of every student in the room, including yourself?

Have you ever had a teacher who doesn’t see you as a human, but rather as a butt in a seat? Not someone who has a life, a job, a family, medical conditions, mental health issues, etc. but rather a one-dimensional college student with nothing else to worry about?

It wasn’t until recently that I experienced these things myself.

Surely, many of you aren’t just butts-in-seats, you’re human beings. Absolutely, we should communicate with our professors as much as humanly possible. Let them know when we won’t be in class, try our best to make up work, provide doctor’s notes when dealing with a medical issue. It’s all we can do.

But some teachers can actually look at all of the effort a student puts into communicating and doing everything right, and still take it personally when we aren’t in class for a day or miss an assignment. So what can we do?

After much observation and talking to other students, I have come to the conclusion that some people simply lack the ability to see college students as anything more than just that: College students. Because we’re lucky, right?

We live in a place where we get to pursue a higher education. We’re at an age where we’re supposed to be “invincible” and healthy and happy and prospering. We have all the time in the world to have jobs and children and responsibilities and illnesses and lives. Right?

I don’t think so.I think a lot of us are dealing with these things now. We are not exclusively college students. Don’t get me wrong, education is incredibly important. And wouldn’t life would be a breeze if we weren’t anything other than college students? I wish I could just be a college student. I wish I wasn’t so human.

I wish that earlier this year, I hadn’t watched a boy who never spoke in class, finally work up the courage to raise his hand and ask a question. I wish that, in return for his bravery, he hadn’t been ordered to leave the classroom loudly, aggressively, for “trying to act like he knew more than the teacher.”

I wish that I didn’t witness his absence from the class for the rest of the semester. And I can only hope that it didn’t completely destroy his motivation and confidence to pursue an education.

So, tell me: have you ever had a teacher who just shouldn’t be in a classroom?

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Some teachers lack empathy