Learning from bad teachers

An interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed this morning, “Don’t be that guy” by Sarah “not her real name” Ben-Al. I think that Ben-Al is offering some interesting and good advice to folks who teach and she tells some amusing stories of some bad teachers she’s had in the past. It’s certainly a lot easier to “teach badly” than to “teach well,” and I especially agree with her arguments against teachers who try to “trick” their students with obscure test questions. Education isn’t a contest of “teacher vs. student,” and teachers who treat it that way aren’t playing fair ’cause the teacher wins every time.


* Not that this is the purpose of this article, but it would probably be more useful for teachers– especially relatively young teachers– to think in terms of what to do instead of what not to do.

* Why is Ben-Al using a pseudonym here? Because she’s on the job market? Quite frankly, I would think an article written under your “real name” for CHE about teaching would look pretty good on a CV and in a job letter.

* I can’t but help contemplate the “guy” part of all this, especially in light of gendered-tinged discussion about anonymously written blogs. Have all of her bad teachers really been “guys?” And can you imagine an article written by someone named Samuel Ben-Al titled “Don’t be that gal?”

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