I Don't Like Teaching. There, I Said It


I will never forget the day. I was in my third year of graduate school and had reached a point where I was comfortable discussing things with a faculty mentor. Perhaps letting down my guard too easily, I told him that I was not so sure I liked teaching.
That was an understatement. My admission wasn’t because of a bad episode. And it wasn’t that I was experiencing my first taste of burnout (that would come later). Rather, my discomfort with teaching stemmed from the broad experience I was gaining in the classroom. My Midwestern state university required teaching assistants to lead four 50-minute tutorials each week for a large introductory course. I had four semesters of that behind me, and two small courses that I taught on my own during summers.

I Don’t Like Teaching. There, I Said It. - Do Your Job Better - The Chronicle of Higher Education

I had such a teacher who taught persuasion analysis who really was not into teaching a class and wanted the class to review his book most of the time. Basically the class was a waste.

Anyone else with similar stories?


About bad teachers? Yeah.


My 9th grade english teacher was a Black Panther. She had the tattoo on her arm and everything.

I had no clue about things like that back then. I threw up in her trash can once, the room smelled like cheap beer for a few days.


I see that you know how to win popularity contests.:banana:


I’ve had all kinds of teachers. The ones that don’t like teaching or are burnt out do tend to stand out.


I think some missed the point of the author:

I’m certain some readers are thinking: But if you enjoy teaching for the right reasons, wouldn’t you be more likely to be good at it? Perhaps that is right. But even so, another attitude works just as well: I don’t enjoy cutting the grass, but I do a good job anyway because I care about how my yard looks. Plenty of things are like that: exercising, changing diapers, cooking risotto, doing the laundry, picking up trash. You don’t have to enjoy something to do it, and you don’t have to enjoy something to be good at it.
So if you don’t like teaching, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to like it; you just have to care about it.

That, to me, sounds like an adult approach. The important thing is the result; not that if you like getting there.

So many times I used to say, "I’d like to vacuum and dust."
NO, I wouldn’t! What I’d like is to have those tasks done, and my home looking clean and comfortable; the result of which is an amount of satisfaction in a job well done.
I don’t know that teaching would be any different. Does one have to love teaching to do a proper job of it? It seems to me that this particular teacher put his/her feelings aside, (sounded like a ‘her’), and put the importance of her students learning ahead of her own, personal comfort level.

One thing bothered me, though:

Take grading papers, an activity to which many of use are deeply averse. Don’t we often dislike grading because we care about whether our students are learning, and we think they have fallen short? If you were indifferent, you might not dislike grading papers so much.

They” have fallen short?
I’d tend to think that the dislike of grading papers is because it’s more of a reflection on you if the students fall short.

But then, maybe not so if, say, 95% of the students are doing well. In that case, it’d show a concern for the student, not her own abilities.
In which case, that’s a ‘plus’ in this teachers column, as far as I’m concerned.


I had some hot young teachers when I was in school. They weren’t much older than me. I should look in the school picture book and find their names so I can look them up and go out with a couple of them. They did like me a lot, because I was such a nice guy. However, this is a discussion for another day or thread…


[quote=“2cent, post:6, topic:39789”]
it’s more of a reflection on you if the students fall short.
[/quote]I’ve told this story before, and it’s going in the opposite direction of the topic . . . it’s a story of a GOOD teacher. But it’s pertinent to what 2cent said.

I had a teacher in college calculus who was an old Armenian fellow . . . had a thick and heavy accent that actually added to his character. Anyway, calculus was not my strong suit, yet I was a Chemical Engineering major and calculus was essential. So I had to study twice as hard as other students, and even then I struggled with it.

But this Armenian guy was a motivator . . . not the “ra-ra” kind, but rather he showed a such a genuine concern for his students that I just flat out didn’t want to disappoint him.

When we’d take a quiz or go up to the board to work a problem, this guy was absolutely DEVASTATED if any of us stumbled. He didn’t break out in tears (almost though), but you could see that in his facial expression and body language this guy was heartbroken that HE had FAILED his students.

My motivation was that I just did not want to see this guy upset, it was so genuine and so crushing to him.

I ended up doing well in that class, and to this day I give him all the credit.