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An open letter to WHS teachers

Business Manager Edan Patterson

Business Manager Edan Patterson

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The laundry list of complaints that teachers have about their students seems to be ever-expanding. We’re always on our phones. We don’t wear enough clothing. We park in the back parking lot. Atrocious grievances all, to be sure, but aside from Twitter rants and Facebook monologues, students don’t exactly have the same platform to air their complaints as their teachers. Never fear, Apple Leaf Business Manager Edan Patterson is here, to share with the staff of Wenatchee High School a few things that drive students (and by students I mean me) insane.

First, how the **** are you gonna assign 50+ assignments a quarter and wait until the last week to update your gradebook? I’m sorry, but I am not some kind of voodoo priestess who is able to divine my grade-point average from tea-leaves. I don’t magically know what assignments from your class that I am missing. If I did, they wouldn’t be missing in the first place. It drives us insane, it drives our overbearing parents insane, and it’s just altogether a recipe for a disastrous semester. Please. For the love of God. Just update your gradebook.

Second, I don’t know why this seems to be a difficult concept for some faculty members to grasp, but we have obligations outside of your class. I understand that your job is to teach bored high school students the same subject for seven hours a day, but your students only spend five hours a week in your class. Most of the time we spend outside of your class is consumed by other classes, extracurricular activities, work, sports, familial obligations, and, on occasion, sleep. If you are unable to accept that fact, maybe you should consider a career change.

Third, if you aren’t passionate about your class, you can’t expect your students to be. I have sat through class periods where a teacher has spent more time complaining about their job than actually performing it. “I have too many assignments to grade, I have four other classes outside of this one, blah, blah, blah.” Well, that’s tough. Last I checked, grading assignments is a part of your job description, and if you have too many assignments, maybe don’t assign as many? Just a suggestion.

Fourth, if you don’t like kids, why are you working in a high school? If anything, that seems to be the one pre-requisite to become a teacher: liking kids. I get that not everyone in your class is a shining star, but what do you expect? High school is the last threshold students have before testing the waters of independence in college. Many are dealing with existential crises. “What am I going to do after high school, what am I going to do after college, what am I going to do with the rest of my life, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera?” I promise you, we – or at least most of us – are doing the best we can. Try and cut us some slack.

Ok. After all that, I can honestly say that these complaints apply to a very small population of the WSD staff. Most of my experiences at WHS and with its staff have been overwhelmingly positive. But hey. It’s whatever. Listen to me, or don’t. It’s your choice. 🙂

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “An open letter to WHS teachers”

  1. Bridget Dowd on April 21st, 2016 3:50 pm

    These are so so true. Sad to say, they don’t really change in college. Keep up the good work Apple Leafers.

    [Reply]

  2. Angel Ruben Ornelas on April 21st, 2016 10:13 pm

    “Real Talk” Loving how someone was able to speak up for most of high school students. Awesome job buddy, I agreed with everything.

    [Reply]

  3. Tom Wright on April 22nd, 2016 5:05 am

    Dear Edan:

    As a educator, with what is now approaching 44 years of experience, I feel the need to point out a couple things about students that you left out in your diatribe about teachers. Teachers also rant (albeit generally privately) about perpetual tardiness, food droppings and paper scraps left on the floor in classes, hallways and the cafeteria because the custodians need to earn their pay, age old complaints about how much work teachers assign and repeated requests for extra credit especially during the last week of each grading period. It should be pointed out that these grievous actions are not committed by a majority of students any more than the issues you complained about are committed by a majority of teachers. But please remember, Edan, that teachers can have really horrid existential crises involving losses of a spouse, divorce, illness of a child or death of a parent that may well knock them sideways for a bit of time. So consider what they may be experiencing and imagine walking a mile in their shoes before so flippantly finding fault. As you say, read this or not, your choice.

    [Reply]

  4. Maya on April 23rd, 2016 3:41 am

    Extremely well written. Good job and good luck in college.

    [Reply]

  5. Eric Knighten on April 24th, 2016 2:59 am

    You’re upset because you don’t know what assignments you are missing in the grade book? You don’t keep track of your assignments yourself? I must be missing something.

    [Reply]

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A forum for student expression since 1916
An open letter to WHS teachers