Being employed as a logic tutor for three nondual teacher me to hear many excuses from many students on why their work was not up to par. The prevailing reasoning though put the teacher at fault.
I heard one of these or a variation of them in a least one out of three cases. Speaking with friends of mine who enrolled in different classes had me realizing that they too had chosen the wrong teacher; one who is incompetent at getting the point across. With so many bad teachers out there, this problem is no doubt an epidemic, right?
Hold the phone. While bad teachers no doubt exist, statistically speaking, since there are more students than teachers, it is all the more likely that there are more bad students than bad teachers. The most common excuse that I heard from a student, that of claiming the teacher incompetent, was also the best way to annoy me. The teachers I worked for were professors that I respected, that I had also taken classes from, and that I had satisfactory experiences with. To hear their name in the same sentence as incompetent was an insult, I believed, to the department.
The fact that I had a different experience than another only gives testament to the fact that different students learn differently. However, when a student falls behind who is at fault? Well, presumably both. However, I have a natural tendency to take sides with the teacher. So, what is the student doing wrong that is hindering their progress in learning?
My experiences come from college-aged students, and I believe that is an important factor. Four year old Johnny is treated differently than twenty year old Johnny. A college student has no doubt been through many years of schooling before reaching that point. It is through these experiences that he should have learned that different teachers have different teaching styles, just as different students learn differently. While we all “connect” with some teacher at some point, most of the time their styles and our styles conflict with each other.
While a younger child cannot acknowledge this, a college student must take responsibility for it. To be unable to adapt to the different style is a failing of the student, not of the teacher.
Each teacher presents his or her own problems, homework assignments, grading styles, etc. Coming to understand the teacher becomes its own lesson before being able to understand the material which the teacher is trying to get across. Taking advantage of this ability to become aware of different styles though is an extremely useful tool, not only for understanding future teachers, but future communication in general.
To be able to listen to someone in such a way as to genuinely try to understand what they are meaning allows a person to be more educated in general, beyond the walls of the school. It can also aid in one’s relationships with others. People communicate differently, and coming to be aware of the differences.