Eye of the Editors: Disengaged Teachers

Although students are generally capable of managing themselves, they need teachers to stay engaged with their classes.

There seems to be a widespread trend that is being taken up by teachers across the nation. It’s called: not teaching. And as capable as many high school students are of learning things independently, this should not be the default option.

In some cases, teachers may give a bit of a lecture, and then retire for the rest of the period so that students can try the work themselves. There exist other teachers who leave much of the teaching to the students, through presentations and other activities. For many teachers at Diamond Bar High School, this style is becoming more and more common.

Although teachers are right in giving students more responsibility and allowing for students to become more engaged, they have recently begun doing this to an extent where the educators have basically become moderators who throw in advice for a student’s version of a “book club” or a “math club.”

There are many gifted students who would be more than capable of doing the assigned work, and although they may be capable of working independently or leading a presentation, this would not be of much use to students who find it difficult to understand the subject.

Those students need a teacher; someone who can take on a neutral position to present the material, and still make it meaningful for the class. If a presentation were to involve students who barely attempt to understand the material, what effect would this have on the students who could learn so much more from someone with actual experience in teaching?

No matter what you think of them, instructors have spent more time than any student with the material being taught, and therefore possess more thorough views than students.

When an instructor becomes disengaged from a class, the students are deprived of someone who has experienced different world views on his or her subject. They have only the opinions and feedback of each other, and they may become isolated from the ideas that other generations have acquired when they go out into the world.

It is true that a teacher who only lectures is depriving the class of stimulation to participate. However, teachers should not resort to becoming moderators who leave the strings of the class to the few who try, while the other students can fade into the background and do nothing.

There should be enough class time in which the teacher actually goes through lessons, and makes sure that every class member is at least paying attention. That is not to say that students should always sit dumbly through the lectures, and there should also be availability for students to ask questions or to offer differing viewpoints.

That is also not to say that students are never capable of leading each other. Still, teachers should not disregard the influence they have on students’ educations, and should deliver what they know to all of the students in their classes.