Teachers staying after school

There’s one minute until the bell rings. You pack up your belongings and stuff them as quickly into your backpack as possible. As soon as class is over, you power walk all the way to the E building, desperate to ask your teacher a few more questions before the big test tomorrow, only to find that the door is locked. Looks like you’re on your own for this test.

Most students are incredibly familiar with this situation. Some teachers simply don’t stay after school long enough to provide the help that their students need. Although it is easy for students to point their fingers and blame their teachers for their confusion, it’s not entirely the teachers’ faults. They have their own lives to manage outside of school and thus, must draw a line somewhere between their work and personal lives.

When teachers draw this line too early, however, the consequences affect the students in a negative way. Students stress about topics they don’t understand and lose their academic integrity. Misunderstandings about the given subject may also affect future grades or AP scores, and time taken up trying to understand a topic means less time working on other class subjects. Many students find that neither tutorial nor lunch provides enough time for teachers to help clear up confusion on certain topics. Material such as polar graphing and improper integrals in calculus can take the entire 75-minute block period to teach, and attempting to explain complicated concepts within a 30-minute time span during tutorial or lunch can be ineffective. While self-teaching or asking friends for supplements is acceptable in some situations, they are often not sufficient enough. As a result, students spend excessive time attempting to teach themselves a topic that could be explained much more quickly and thoroughly by a teacher.

Although it might seem like it, not all students who are unable to come in during tutorial are irresponsible. I have received and watched others receive the “you should have come in during tutorial” lecture far too many times. Using tutorial time seems like the most obvious way to solve the problem for students who need extra help, but most students have make-up tests or other classes they need to go to during tutorial. It is true that these students can make up this work during class time, but doing so would detract valuable learning time and perpetuate the cycle of confusion.

Teachers’ dedication of so much time for their students might be tedious and exhausting, but forming healthier relationships between the teacher and the students will benefit both parties in the long run. Not only will a student experience less burden from stress, but they will also have a much more positive attitude towards school, and the teacher will get the gratification of knowing they helped improve a student’s well-being and understanding of the teacher’s class.

Another common frustration among students is when teachers don’t regularly check and respond to the emails the students send them. Students’ emails usually aren’t meant to be a nuisance; they are more than likely inquiries for clarification or for advice on how to improve their work. This responsibility does make a teacher’s job more difficult; teaching doesn’t seem like it should be a 24-hour job. It is not as if teachers have indispensable time to spend on managing student emails; they’re busy taking care of their own lives. However, occasionally sacrificing some time is worthwhile, as it forges a tighter bond between the teacher and student by allowing mutual communication.

This is not to say that all teachers dislike staying; some dedicate a lot of their time (time that they are not paid for) to clubs and other activities to help foster students’ extracurricular activities. They stay during lunch and after school for meetings and even give up weekends to advise events.  In fact, most teachers are advisers for at least one or more clubs. Students are incredibly grateful for this generous physical and mental dedication from their teachers. Teachers’ willingness to give up their personal time motivates students to do the same for school as well.

At the end of the day, it’s about compromise and understanding. The truth is, everyone—including teachers—has a life, and students often forget this. Teachers have outside obligations such as being a parent or a spouse, and they have to run their own errands. Yes, they should also try to help students to the best of their ability, but there comes a point where they have to separate their jobs and their personal lives. While teachers are often unavailable after school, students should push themselves to become more self-reliant.  Teachers are the path for the future generations, so those who have the power to help their students should consider doing so in order to help foster students who are more willing to learn.

By Erica Chang, Staff writer
Photo by Jeffrey Tran

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