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Many comments referred to the way teachers relate to their students. Students wanted their teachers to/who:

  • "Enjoy your students and have a good relationship [with them]."
  • "Trust students; don't intimidate them into learning."
  • "Have a positive relationship with students."
  • "Relate to me – take an interest in me."
  • "Earn respect and respect me."
  • "Interact with the kids."
  • "Care."
  • "Can talk to us about anything."
  • "Who care and are patient."
  • "Have positive attitudes."
  • "Are patient and tolerant."
  • "Are nice to you."
  • "Are happy. Smile sometimes. Crack a joke or two."
  • "Go the extra mile – pick you up/drop you off when they don't have to."
  • "Are someone that students can have fun with and want to learn with. If students like you and respect you, they will want to do things for you."

Students clearly liked teachers who are passionate (the word was used often) and knowledgeable about their subject, as indicated by the following responses:

  • "Are motivated; passionate about what they are teaching."
  • "Are knowledgeable."
  • "Are passionate about the subject they are teaching."
  • "Have passion for teaching and helping students to understand."
  • "Are passionate about their subjects."
  • "Want to be there."
  • "Seem highly motivated to teach; when they actually know what they are doing and talking about."

Also rated highly was the teacher's ability to recognise different speeds and styles of learning, and to accommodate these. Comments relating to this were:

  • "Not everyone learns the same way – teachers need to cater for different learners/paces of learning."
  • "To make it easier for people that don't understand, and harder for people that do understand."
  • "Within a classroom, different kids have different needs; split into learning ability."
  • "Look at all learning styles."
  • "Focus on those who are not understanding topics in class."
  • "Pay attention to all students, rather than the ones that are ahead."
  • "Telling the students who do not understand to come back at lunch – and make sure they come."
  • "Notice when students are struggling."

The list of what students didn't like about teachers was also substantial:

  • "Don't yell."
  • "Don't growl at you."
  • "Are not racist."
  • "Don't pick on people."
  • "Do not make judgments."
  • "Don't have favourites."
  • "Stop being bossy."
  • "Calm down. Stop boasting."
  • "Explain better. Get more sleep. Don't pick favourites."
  • "Don't patronise us. There is nothing worse for a young person than to be treated as stupid or incapable."
  • "Not be so annoying."
  • "Sometimes teachers get smart and offend you."
  • "Get to know students as people; don't brush them off after the period."
  • "I wouldn't want to be a teacher because I wouldn't want to put children through that."

Many students resented teacher time being given to reluctant learners:

  • "Don't waste time on students who don't want to learn – or help these students, and find ways to make them learn, instead of wasting your time and our time."
  • "Don't let people who don't do well or don't want to do the work bring down or hold back other, more able, students."

Many also commented on discipline issues:

  • "Apply consequence appropriate to the broken rule."
  • "Follow the schools' rules; not make up their own."
  • "Concentrate more on schoolwork rather than us being late or in correct uniform."
  • "Not to focus so much on what the students are doing (like girls giggling quietly). Focus more on the lesson to teach and to make sure the students understand it."
  • "Make sure students are doing their work so they don't fall behind."
  • "Enforce homework rules."

Among the longer responses were:

  • "The big concept of school is being taught how to learn. If teachers taught us how to learn, and reinforced these ideas throughout our school stay, it would be good. I feel most teachers are just glorified babysitters; that they're just there to fill in the one-hour slot with whatever they can think of."
  • "There is a lot of pressure. When you go into one subject, teachers expect you to learn everything being taught. They do not realise that we have other subjects to worry about. This really affects our spiritual well-being, and makes people feel down and depressed. This can be quite hard to cope with. In some cases, you can fall behind in schoolwork. Once you fall behind, teachers give up on you, and don't give you enough attention to catch up."

Published on: 20 Sep 2007