March 20, ’12
Teachers vs. Students.
What came first, the chicken, or the egg? A question in which many would say the chicken, because without the chicken, the egg wouldn’t be there. Others might say that the egg came first because chickens come from eggs, so without the egg, the chicken wouldn't even exist. Its not the fact of which came first in this situation, rather than how they go hand in hand. Both the egg and the chicken need each other to be complete, just like teachers, and students. Teachers need students for educational purposes, and students need teachers to learn. The idea of “can there be education without passion?” is a debatable topic especially since some students might say that it’s the teacher’s job to make the class interesting and gain their interest. Teachers on the other hand might suggest that it’s up to the students to care enough about their education to motivate themselves to learn from the curriculum, no matter how tough, or dry the education may be. In the sense of coming together for a common cause passion is required to learn and succeed in school, but teachers also need passion to successfully teach their students.
Patrick Sullivan, an English teacher at Manchester Community College in Connecticut, author of “A Lifelong Aversion to Writing”: What If Writing Courses Emphasized Motivation” expresses the idea that teachers need to attain the interest of their students and teach them the criteria in ways that the students understand it, and feel the need to learn it, but he also believes that the students themselves need to develop Intrinsic motivation. “Students who are engaged and motivated learn almost effortlessly. Those who are not almost always struggle, resist, and often fail. Unmotivated students also often become disruptive and troublesome influences in our classrooms” (Sullivan, 120 ). Students who put forth the effort needed to succeed in a classroom tend to do better than those who don’t. Without that inner passion to learn what a teacher is teaching, the student won’t learn. A teacher could come up with the best, most interactive lesson plan, but if the motivation isn’t there for a student, then all the teachers’ efforts are for nothing. Not all the blame can be put on the teachers. Some students just are not willing to learn, and continue with their education. “College classrooms are filled with students who do not prepare for class. Many study less than 10 hours a week – that's less than half the hours they spent studying 40 years ago. Paradoxically, students are spending more and more money for an education that seems to deliver less and less content” (Stuart Rojstaczer). Most students in college don’t put forth the effort needed to fully captivate everything a college class is giving, and it’s not because the education isn’t there, but that the students are not motivated to learn because they see that with little effort, they can pass their classes, and don't need to study their brains out.
The blame can’t only lie with the students either. Without teachers being passionate about teaching, then students won’t grasp the concept of what is being taught to them. “It is essential that English teachers begin to engage this research carefully and begin developing curriculum designed specifically to promote and nurture motivation” (Sullivan, 120). Without intrinsic motivation students won’t learn well, but it lies on the teachers as well to motivate students to want to learn, and to want to pursue their education. Students need to see where motivation can get them, for them to want to motivate themselves. “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire. “The presence or absence of this “fire,” of course, affects everything students experience in classrooms” (Sullivan, 120). If teachers don’t make the class interesting and engage the students, then they won’t feel the need to motivate themselves to learn what is being taught. How they feel about the class effects how they learn. If they dislike a certain subject, they’ll always approach the subject with a bad mentality, and with that mentality, it will affect how they learn. In the attempt to attract students teachers have “ loosen[ed] up. [They] grade much more softly than [their] colleagues in science. In English. [they] don’t give many D’s or C’s for that matter” (Edmundson). Students wont learn any better If teachers make the class easier, and in no way is that way of teaching ethical. Student’s wont try harder, or be more interested in the class. They will simply slack off even more and take the class as a joke. Teacher’s need to find a balance between making the class understandable, yet understanding. Dumbing it down, and passing students who don’t deserve the grade will make the class pointless and nothing will come from it. I have yet to find a teacher who teaches just to teach. They all want to make an impact on their student’s lives, and dumbing down courses wont help anyone.
Neither the teachers nor the students are to blame for lack of passion in education. They both have to do their job as either a teacher who teaches English, or a student who is in an English class. The teacher has to engage the students to want to learn, and the student has to have motivation to want to learn what the teacher is teaching. If either of the jobs is lacking, then the likelihood of a student or teachers success is lower than if both were giving it their all. They both go hand in hand, and one wouldn’t be complete without the other just like the chicken and the egg. A teacher doesn't teach an empty classroom now do they? They teach students for a reason, so that the students learn, but if the students are just sitting in the classroom, not paying attention or do not come prepared, then they might as well teach to thin air, because no one is benefiting from what the teacher has to offer.