Skip to comments.Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results
Posted on 10/03/2013 8:22:49 AM PDT by DarkSavant
I had a teacher once who called his students "idiots" when they screwed up. He was our orchestra conductor, a fierce Ukrainian immigrant named Jerry Kupchynsky, and when someone played out of tune, he would stop the entire group to yell, "Who eez deaf in first violins!?" He made us rehearse until our fingers almost bled. He corrected our wayward hands and arms by poking at us with a pencil.
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...real teacher ping....
Being a martinet doesn’t work in the long run but having high expectations does.
Sounds a bit like the band teacher when my kids were in high school. He took a little crap high school bunch of kids and turned them into something to be pround of in short order. He was fantastic and my kids loved him. They still do, 20+ years later. Of course they hadn’t been coddled at home like so many are these days.
You better let them who the boss is and what to expect right from the start or there will never be anything much accomplished. Unless your objective is self esteem for nothing.
startling conclusion: It's time to revive old-fashioned education. Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands. Because here's the thing: It works.
My junior hi science teacher, Mr. Scelonge, had been a master sargeant in the Big War. He drove us like bumbling recruits, he shouted, he stamped his foot. He was also personable, funny, and, otoh, let us do stuff in class other teachers would not put up with, i.e., all the girls were knitting caps for all the boys...Scelonge could have cared less as long as we got excellent grades.
Lessee...one of our classmates was on the board of Visa...pretty good job. And others went on to be rich and famous in other ways. Not necessarily just because of that teacher, but the best students loved him and the worst students got better and loved him too.
He was always telling us that the most important thing he was there for was to "TEACH YOU TO THINK." What a concept. I got a lot of confidence from him. And a lot of A's.
My dad is a retired high school teacher. He was constantly butting heads with the administration because of the number of students he failed (he taught remedial math for the last 15 years of his career). He refused to grade on a curve.
But I know a number of his former students speak well of him.
He poked her with a pencil? Big deal. I had a teacher who cut off a finger if you missed a question. And we considered him to be “The Nice Teacher” at our school.
My first grade teacher (private school) owned and ran the place. If you were good, you were rewarded with extra play time. If you were bad, you had to chew a quinine tablet (bitter!).
None of us ever had malaria, and when my class of nearly 500 seniors graduated from the local public high school, two of her former students tied for top scores.
I can name almost every teacher I thought was tough. I can’t so the same with the rest. I can also agree I remember them because I learned the most from them.
Mrs WBill teaches part time at a Community college. She's forever mentioning (complaining) about students who don't cut the mustard. There are a fairly high percentage of them in every one of her classes.
"They don't need to be in a 300-level class.", she says, "What they need is remedial English, Writing, and Math." She's correct, a good bit of the work I've seen is barely literate, and I've helped Mrs WBill with some of the math - it's (for lack of a better word) just wrong. And I'm not talking higher level calculus, either, the students are incapable of correctly adding up columns of 1-digit numbers.
So....I said, "Flunk them." I'm a harda$$ that way. My lovely wife said, "I can't, because I'd need to fail such a high percentage of them, that I'd get fired. The school will just dump me and find someone who will pass the students along."
So, she weeds out the most egregious of the groups - a short handful each year - basically those that don't have any business being there to begin with. Otherwise, a passing grade is pretty easily had. She finds things other than the basic three R's to grade them on - class participation, projects, presentations and the like.
Frankly, I don't blame the community college. I blame the high schools for graduating people who can't read and write.
Another reason why student evaluations of teachers are so counterproductive.
Liberals confuse tough teaching with mindless cruelty.
Liberals have no respect for their parents, grandparents, or the past in general. They spend a lot of wasted years rebelling, rebelling, rebelling. If conservatives have one valuable characteristic it is our ability to learn from our own and other people’s mistakes.
Real-life “Mr. Holland-type” - success was his opus.
Especially like the fact that he was tough precisely BECAUSE he knew they could learn.