12 Things I Learned from Teaching College Students

1:34:00 AM

Disclaimer: I am not generalizing all students here. Just like everywhere else, with teachers you get lazy ones and diligent ones, good ones and bad ones. In this post, I am just sharing what I learned from my experience in teaching for years in a uni. Students who read this might say, it depends on the teacher, or it depends on the subject matter, whether it is interesting or not. I am a graduate school student myself and I believe regardless, you're in school to learn. We do our duties and I hope students should know that they should do their's either. I can relate to Sheldon's dilemma in an episode of Big Bang Theory, it is hard to be a teacher. It is not merely about sharing knowledge but about performing and entertaining students in a way to make learning fun.  

1. Teachers don't get paid enough.
Sadly, despite the increase in university tuition fees, the increase does not necessarily mean an increase in our paycheck. My increase comes from miscellaneous fees so if there's no miscellaneous fee increase then we don't get one either. However, it does not necessarily mean that all the increase are given to us as well. We also have unpaid overtime or get asked to do jobs outside of our job description. And if we don't do it, our work piles up or we get sanctioned by the admin.

2. We don't know everything.
Before we get to teach, we need to finish college/uni, gather experience in relation to our field, do some research, then go to graduate school. Depending on our field, some may even need to pass board exams. However, despite all our pursuits to increase your knowledge, it doesn't mean we know everything so forgive us if we cannot answer all your questions. 

3.  We enjoy holidays as well.
Hmm this one depends if you get paid or not. Students are not the only ones happy during vacation, suspension of classes and holidays. We enjoy it too. But it depends whether the university you work for pays you on these days. I have worked in a uni for 4 years where I don't get any pay on said days. But I still enjoy having lazy days at home even if I don't get paid.

4. We hate checking papers.
Students think we like paperwork. We don't. We barely have a social life from teaching and pursuing further education, the last thing we need is bringing work home. However, we need to require assignments, research, term papers, projects to students as part of course and also for students to try and learn things on their own. I hate spoon-feeding my students so I require them paperwork.

5. We are paper hoarders.
I kid you not when I tell you that if a fire break out in our house, my room would be the first to go kaput. I am amazed at the papers I see when I try to clean my room or my locker. I see test papers of students who have graduated years ago, index cards from semesters ago, questionnaires, etc! And for some weird reason, I can't bring myself to throw them away in case a student would come back and ask for them or whatever.

6. Students are becoming lazy.
In connection to paperwork, I noticed that when students submit their paperwork, a lot of students submit sub-par quality work. To be honest, I have noticed around 90% of my students copy things directly from the internet without even reading them or giving credit to the website they copied it from. Tsk tsk tsk. 

Students should realize that it's not just about getting good grades that matters. Studying is about learning, it's about being diligent, developing proper attitude that would determine future success in life.

7. We know when students cheat.
Students are becoming creative in cheating instead. I catch one or two students cheat every exam. And their excuses are also becoming ludicrous. I once caught a female student with a cheat code inside her calculator and when I noticed the cheat code, she said, the current exam was Physics and her Spanish exam was before the present test anyway. Guys, having cheat codes is cheating!

8. Some students do not know respect.
I am disappointed to see uni students chew gum while speaking to their professors, play android games during lecture, sleep, take selfies during lecture and other disrespectful things. Sadly, I have seen some high school kids with better manners than some of the uni students I have taught. One time I had a female student who said in class that she pays me to teach. Yes it is true, my paycheck does come from a portion of each student's tuition but I am not paid to be disrespected. And just like everyone else, I work to earn my salary.

9. We are teachers inside and outside of the classroom.
I get called by my students Miss or Ma'am inside and outside of school. This makes me conscious of how I should conduct myself even when I'm not in school. I need to dress respectably even when I'm just going to a mall since I sometimes bump into some of my students everywhere. Also, I know how influential we can be to our students. I know some students who idolize their teachers. I, myself have done the same thing with my professors (which is why I became a teacher). 

10. Teaching is not for everyone.
We don't get paid enough, we get disrespected, we are overworked, we have no social life, but despite all these, I have known teachers who have been in the academe for more than half of their life until they retire. It takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication to become a teacher. We get criticized by students daily from head to toe. If you want to become a teacher, imagine dealing with a lot of crap from the administration and the students everyday, and on social media. If you think you can handle all of it then go ahead. But don't say I didn't warn you.

11. We are human and we get hurt too.
In connection to dealing with a lot of crap from students, teachers are the common and easy target of jokes among students. I have seen and heard students make fun of their teachers. I have also been the object of my students' jokes. Together with the power of social media, more people get to read how students make fun of their teachers. It hurts. A lot. And the hardest part is trying to be professional despite knowing your students make fun of you behind your back.

Probably the best thing I ever experienced in teaching is the indescribable feeling I get when a student says, "Thank you." Being appreciated by your students makes us feel like the stress of our job is worth it. It makes me feel good that I have done something good in my life and made a significant contribution in society. 

If you're also working at the academe comment below which one relates to you most. I hope you like this post and check out another post I wrote about my tips on long distance relationships.

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  1. I found this interesting. I have to say that I don't think students are lazy as much as when things aren't viewed as useful or necessary they don't put forth enough effort. I'm guilty of this but since I'm such a great bull shitter and fabulous writer, I always walk away with a great grade.

    S .x http://ramblingsofayoungprgirl.blogspot.com