The young man in the video is one Jeff Bliss of Duncanville High School, Texas. Not exactly weird news – but it is on YouTube, it is presently viral and I am a teacher… so there is a tacit connection and besides, it caught my interest.
The camera work sucks, but it shows a displeased Bliss putting together a solid, well-reasoned critique of his teacher’s teaching performance. Her crimes, it would seem are simply handing out reading packets, and taking the time to reach out to her kids. She tells him that he is “wasting her time.” I think that she might be wasting his. Sure, he screws up a couple of words, but his delivery is 100% – give that guy the right sort of teachers and he will go far.
Watching the video I can see several things wrong with her teaching technique.
1. She is sitting behind her desk in the corner of the room, behind a pile of books – the entire dynamic of the class would shift if she divided her time between standing up front and walking around the room – and those times when the kids are working on their own are when she should be helping struggling kids.
2. She has no presence or passion – if she felt that his comments were undeserved, she should have been in his face arguing back, not making snide remarks from the corner of the room. If she had engaged any of the kids, they would have been supporting her – instead, they all seemed content to let Bliss say what he had to say.
3. The whiteboard looks like everything was pre-written – I’m guessing that she set it up at the start of the day and left it up throughout the day. Teenagers’ minds don’t work that way. Do it live, or you might as well not do it at all. Writing on blackboards and whiteboards is not a lot of fun – but by doing it as you go, you take the students through step-by-step and have the opportunity to tweak what needs to be tweaked.
As a teacher, I sympathize. There are times that the job is truly excruciating, there are times that it is too much work, and the pay sucks, so if it is just a paycheck, she is definitely in the wrong line of work. It is a responsibility, a heavy one at that, but when it all works out it can be enormously rewarding. For teachers like that, my advice would be to quit, or to try making an effort on at least half of their lessons – if you do that, then you can coast from time to time and the students will give you a break.
To Jeff, I would say that useless teachers are great for teaching you how to teach yourself. Do your own learning – because giving up on a subject that you have an interest in just because a teacher sucks is an enormous waste – and you have awesome here.
In unrelated news, whoever is teaching these kids videography should probably be fired as well.