Thursday, December 22, 2016

Comparison of Teachers vs. Students


Oftentimes I hear teachers complain that they don't have time to learn a new software platform, research new techniques, create lesson plans to meet the needs of a wider variety of students. I hear it and I respect it but I started thinking about the differences between a teacher's school year and a student's. Are we as educators respecting our students concerns? Bear with me.

Every year a student starts the school year not knowing what their teachers will be like, not knowing their learning styles will match the way the teacher teaches, not knowing what technology abilities the teacher will expect, not knowing how the dynamics of their classmates will affect their learning.

Every year teachers wonder what this group of kids will be like, how much time they will have to spend on classroom procedures before the students understand their expectations, how to freshen up certain lesson plans, wondering if students will test well and progress well in the curriculum.

Teachers and students each have stressful expectations placed on them. It's no wonder the night before school starts each year teachers and students alike often have a sleepless night due to excitement and worries. I look at the list for teachers and I think of how technology can aid some of the burden through efficiencies (because that's what I do). But I'll be honest, as an educator, when I look at the following bullets I see the conformity needed for students to varied teacher whims being much harder than the teacher's expectations. I also look at this list and see more and more reason why personalization of education, voice and choice, and freedom to critically think are so valued by today's students. Take a look and see what you think:

  • Spend the day teaching in the subject area that they chose as something that is interesting to them
  • Teach 1-3 different preps in a day usually within the same overarching curriculum
  • Are confident about the things they teach because they are “degreed” in the subject matter
  • Set the tone and expectations of their classroom based on their likes and dislikes
  • Decide how they will teach the curriculum (for the most part)
  • Usually have 1-2 periods off in a day
  • Have family and/or coaching expectations after a full days work
  • Have grading of the work of many to accomplish in a timely manner
  • Are reviewed by their administration 1-8 times a school year.
  • Have various meetings that pull them out of the classroom teaching time or take away from their planning periods
  • Have a responsibility to students, administrators, parents, and constituency


  • Spend the day in 30 min to 1 hour 20 min segments of time (depending on bell schedule)  in varied topics of interest to them
  • Have 4-7 preps in a day within varied subject matter curriculums and homework coming at them daily from any of those subjects
  • In a constant state of learning and acquiring skills in those subject matters with varied levels of confidence
  • Restricted to rules and regulations from each instructor they visit each day that may vary tremendously based on the instructor and/or subject matter.
  • Must learn in each subject area based on the way the instructor teaches them.
  • May or may not have a study hall or break throughout the day
  • Have sports/arts/job/family expectations after a full day of school
  • Have homework to accomplish in a timely manner (often with one day’s notice of being due)
  • Are reviewed through formative and summative assessments on a regular basis throughout the school year
  • Have consistent expectations of a day except for a few special days/activities throughout the school year
  • Have a responsibility to students, administrators, parents, and constituency

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