Judge me fairly or judge me not


Friends’ opinions of a teacher or a class can greatly influence our learning experiences. Photo Illustration by Kevin Tsukii

Megan Jones

Friends’ opinions of a teacher or a class can greatly influence our learning experiences. Photo Illustration by Kevin Tsukii

The first few weeks of school are all about the comparing – comparing clothes bought over summer, comparing locker locations, comparing awkward ID pictures, and the most common of all: comparing teachers.

In the morning before the first day of school, the pink schedule sheets are obsessively shared and assessed. Everyone wants to know your classes, the periods and of course, the teachers. Friends share their own personal insights as to what the class is like, how the teacher teaches and what their experiences were in the class. As a result, even before you step foot inside your first class of the year, you already have preconceived, and not necessarily accurate, notions of what a class will be like. You walk into class with an unfair judgment of how the class will be and automatically your mindset changes. And this is all before you have even met the teacher.

It is true around this campus, as it is at every other school, teachers earn a reputation based on the judgments of students. This reputation is often not based upon the difficulty of the class, but upon how easy it is to receive an A. Students are constantly searching for insights as to what a certain teacher’s reputation is, and how that certain reputation can hinder, or help, their success in the class. The race for this information is not just limited to school grounds. Websites like ratemyteachers.com give students a chance to rate their teachers on “easiness”, “helpfulness” and “clarity.” However, other students can then view these comments and take one student’s opinion for fact.

Even if a teacher was not the best in one studentís experience, that same teacher could be the best for another. But these opinionated websites don’t give teachers a chance to prove themselves. Once these blog entries are read, the damage is done. It is hard to make your own judgments and decisions about a teacher when you read a comment about a teacher that states, “Extremely immature and impatient. No control over her temper. Not fit to be teaching high school kids.” The mind becomes fixed on this one comment, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to change it.

Administration has done its best to change these negative, opinionated ways of judging teachers before students even meet them. They removed the names of teachers from the tentative Running of the Bulls schedules in the hopes of reducing the amount of schedule changes. Students were automatically assuming the worst in their teachers, and as a result were hoping to take the easy way out by by switching classes. However, administration put a stop to the nonsense and now does not release the teachers’ names until the very first day of school.

But even then, students have found loopholes in this madness – now appealing to guidance counselors that they want to change their schedules, all in the hopes of getting a different teacher. Now, this has reached a whole new level of childishness. They are after all teachers, not alien life forms that don’t have feelings. So take the higher road and at least meet the teacher and get to know them before opting to switch out of the class.

So while a little background information on teachers may be insightful, make your own opinions. Do not let your friends or a silly website influence your own thoughts and ideas. It is basic human curiosity to want to know at whose mercy you will be for the rest of the year, but it is up to us whether we choose to let our friends’ negative opinions color our own experiences. Give teachers a chance to prove themselves and then make your decision. Do not be too quick to judge. Give them a chance and you might be surprised on how much they have to offer. While one teaching style might not be good for one student, it might be the perfect one for you. So go out into your classes, and start thinking for yourself. That’s what school is for, isn’t it?