What Makes a Teacher Ineffective

What makes a teacher ineffective? Contrary to what is held in view by many, the Principal does not make ineffective teachers but rightfully identifies them. Ineffective teachers are easy to identify. They hold certain characteristics that are not difficult to spot. It is NOT a loud voice that makes ineffective teachers. Rather, it is what the loud voice is saying or does not say. The following makes a teacher ineffective:

~ An ineffective teacher has no smart goals.

A teacher is ineffective because he is so caught up in the rush of the activities he thinks constitute teaching that he has no personal goals of his own. No doubt, there are goals the Principal has set for the school, goals the syllabus has in place for what the students must achieve, goals the Ministry of Education has for schools in general. These goals, however, are beyond an ineffective teacher. An ineffective teacher has not internalised or claimed them as his own. Often, he does not realise that they even exist.

A teacher who steps into the classroom without specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound timely goals or interventions is a teacher doomed to failure and ineffectiveness. At the end of the day, nothing is achieved because nothing has been worked towards what should have been done.

~ An ineffective teacher has no self-control.

He goes into the classroom screaming away. He thinks that if he behaves like the macaque, screaming, yelling, snarling and barring his teeth, all will be well and his students will stay within their boundaries. In a sense, he is right. His students will stay within their boundaries because they recognise an empty shell when they see one.

His students have given up trying to size him up. They have realized since Day One of the new semester that the most effective way to pass time in this teacher’s class is to let him scream all his energies away while they hide in their own little dream world, pretending to listen to the screams but inwardly listening to the sweet voices that beckon them to the Land of Oz.

Sadly, the ineffective teacher goes home thinking that he has managed well by his screams and acts of terrorism because his students are quietly sitting and listening away. What he has failed to recognize is that they have been listening to the wrong voice, to their own quiet little voices from within, and not to his screams and yells that they equate to the barking of a mad dog.

~ An ineffective teacher has motivations driven by his own desires and needs, not by his students.

An ineffective teacher has to finish his teaching for the day. He forgets that he has students who have to finish their learning for the day. He rushes through the lessons because he has been home Monday and Tuesday tending to a hangover from Saturday’s partying at his cousin’s wedding. His work is complete when he has rattled what he has prepared to teach and does not know or care to know if his students have learnt at all.

When their bad results appear end of the year, it is not because he has not taught but because they have not learnt. They have not understood him because they come from the poor side of the town, they have no tuition, no motivation (from him) to learn, no prior knowledge (from private tutors) of the lessons he has to teach.

Sadly, the ineffective teacher goes home lamenting that his students will never pass because he fails to realize that it is he that needs to ensure they know their work and have learnt from him – every day – and not just during the term tests.

~ An ineffective teacher does not realize that he is boring.

An ineffective teacher does not see that not all silence is golden. He does not see his poor students are bored to death. He fails to realize that he has lost them and not taught them a single thing.

~ An ineffective teacher blames the students for their lack of self-discipline.

He fails to recognize that students do not do their assignments because they do not know how to, not because they are just lazy. He fails to realize that having been taught does not equate having learnt. He fails to monitor his students’ learning or their ability to learn.

~ An ineffective teacher bribes his students.

He thinks that by dangling a juicy carrot in front of them, his students will be pro-active and learn on their own. What he does not see is they do not know what and how to learn.

~ An ineffective teacher threatens and does not motivate.

A shy student is lost in an ineffective teacher’s class because he has not helped this student find the path that leads to success in school. His doors are not open to the roads to success.

~ An ineffective teacher seems to know, but is actually an empty shell.

An ineffective teacher parrots the good lesson plans of great teachers but does not internalise learning himself.

~ An ineffective teacher knows how to please – everyone else but not his students.

He often puts on a show. As the Kitchen God of the Chinese is bribed with sticky glutinous rice to carry only good news to the gods of Heaven, an ineffective teacher knows instinctively what to do to keep his job. His students remain clueless about what they have to learn.