Teacher Narratives We Need To Ditch Immediately

Every teacher has their own favorite narratives, but some of them need to be reconsidered. Here are 11 common teacher narratives that can be harmful and should be ditched immediately:

1. “Boys will be boys.” This phrase perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes and excuses inappropriate behavior. All students, regardless of gender, need to be held accountable for their actions.

2. “I can’t teach them if they’re not interested.” This narrative puts all of the responsibility for learning on the student and absolves the teacher of any responsibility for engaging them. It’s the responsibility of the teacher to make the subject matter interesting and relevant.

3. “I’m not here to be their friend.” While it’s important to maintain professional boundaries, teachers should strive to build positive relationships with their students. This can lead to better engagement and learning outcomes.

4. “I don’t have time for that.” Teachers can often feel overwhelmed with the demands of their job, but dismissing student concerns or issues only creates a toxic environment.

5. “They’re just lazy.” This narrative dismisses the complexity of individual learning styles and struggles. Teachers need to find ways to engage and support all students, even those who may struggle more than others.

6. “That’s just the way it’s always been done.” This phrase stifles creativity and innovation. Teachers should be open to new ideas and approaches to teaching.

7. “We don’t have the resources for that.” While it’s true that some schools and districts may be under-resourced, teachers should look for creative solutions to meet the needs of their students.

8. “You need to learn this for the test.” While it’s important for students to demonstrate their knowledge, their education should be more than just test scores. Teachers should focus on critical thinking skills and real-world applications of the material.

9. “Just do what the book says.” Teachers should not rely solely on textbooks and should bring in other resources and perspectives to enrich the learning experience.

10. “They’re just bad kids.” Every student brings their own challenges and strengths to the classroom. Teachers need to find ways to support and motivate each individual student.

11. “I’m not paid enough for this.” While teachers deserve fair compensation for their work, this narrative dismisses the passion and dedication that many teachers have for their students and their profession.

In conclusion, the narratives that teachers use to describe their work and students can have a significant impact. By moving away from harmful or dismissive narratives, teachers can create a more positive and supportive environment for their students to learn and grow.   

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