Is there truly such a thing as a “bad” teacher?

Every teacher is different––with different skills, specializations, rules, and styles of instruction. How good a teacher is can be subjective; students often have differing views on what a “good” teacher is.

However, while no two teachers are the same, and while quality to a certain extent can be subjective, there are teachers out there that aren’t as effective in general as others. There are teachers in our school and outside of it that really shouldn’t be teachers. There are ones that are unorganized. Ones that aren’t knowledgeable enough in their field of teaching. Ones that are lazy. And ones that simply aren’t clear,  aren’t helpful, and aren’t passionate. These teachers are the ones we can logically call “bad” teachers.

Different students have encountered this as a problem to varying degrees; some have faced it often, while others not as much so. Regardless, it’s probably safe to say that most people who read this article would know what I’m talking about. Considering the likelihood that there is such a problem, we must briefly review what kinds of solutions there are.

The problem could lie in the training of teachers. Teachers in Ontario usually receive a one-year Bachelor of Education degree. As well, with their degree they receive different qualifications with respect to which subjects and grades they would specialize in. They then apply for jobs at specific schools and are hired based on the decision of the administration of the schools. Hence, the power of hiring “good” teachers lies to a certain extent within individual schools themselves. However, I don’t believe that the problem of inadequate teachers lies in the training or the hiring of the teachers. Instead, I believe it lies within the teachers themselves.

I see teaching as a job that is rarely learned through a degree. Whether it’s inborn or not I don’t know, but I do believe that teaching is something that a person cannot learn in adulthood. Teaching is an art that is developed in a person throughout his or her life, and it is an art that some are capable of mastering, while others aren’t. It’s about much more than simply delivering curriculum and information; it’s about guiding young people, being a role model, creating a class dynamic that nurtures and supports every student, and being immensely dedicated to the job.

I think a good teacher is a specific type of person. A person who is good at explaining things, who likes explaining things, and who likes young people. A person who is a leader and a guide for students, but not overly controlling of them. A person who can get a group of students to respect him or her without intimidating them. There are probably some teachers out there who aren’t really this kind of person. The problem of “bad” teachers is hard to solve, but it is clear that it is one which exists and which needs to be addressed.