Leah Gans | La Jolla Country Day Junior
Teachers impact SDHSD students’ lives every single day and, because of this, most of us have some that stand out for some reason. When asked to describe their favorite teacher, students had varying responses. TPHS junior Mary said, “My favorite is my math teacher. I absolutely despise math, but my math teacher makes the class and subject matter enjoyable. She keeps me engaged and somehow is able to spark my natural intellectual curiosity in a subject that I’d otherwise find quite boring.” CCHS sophomore Amy focused on her favorite teacher’s attitude: “My favorite teacher lets us goof around, and he doesn’t favor the kids that get straight As. In fact, I think he likes them less. He sometimes tells stories about his time in college or talks about his family, which gives my brain the break it needs during the day. He never fails to keep the class interesting, and he actually likes normal kids.” A CCA senior shared that “My favorite teacher almost never assigns homework, gives us minimal tests, (which are all very reasonable), and asks us questions about our lives. He seems genuinely interested and makes me feel like he actually cares. He recognizes we have a million other things going on and that his class is not our only major focus. Because of that he makes sure that the class is not too time consuming and that the work load is always reasonable. I respect him a lot for that.”
The teachers I’ve recognized as great have worked in a way as not to simply waste time. They get the class excited to participate in interesting and interactive projects, and they provide us with innovative ways to learn the material. They are able to relate to the subject and relay the information more effectively by doing it in a way that students can relate to and enjoy. Teachers that are capable of this are really quite exceptional because it is definitely not easy to relate to teenagers and really not easy to get them excited about anything school-related.
Because there is so much pressure put on teachers today to cover all the subject matter or get through a certain chapter in the textbook, these characteristics are becoming less and less common. From my experience, it is when teachers focus on learning rather than the specific material that their classes become interesting. If teachers weren’t required to tailor their curriculum to the standardized tests and textbooks, I believe they would not only have much more fun with their jobs, but also be much more effective. Unfortunately, the American education system makes it difficult for many of them to do this. Those few that still manage to make their classes fun and interesting, despite these obstacles, really stand out as our favorites among the dozens of teachers we encounter throughout our education.