We’ve all been to classes or at the very least received instruction from teachers. They seem confident about the subject they’re teaching, and they’re able to answer most questions students throw at them.
At a younger age, some of us even believe our teachers know everything and we idolize them. So, it can be surprising to imagine these teachers being afraid of anything.
However, the harsh reality is that teachers do indeed have real worries. And even if experience and other variables may lessen some of their anxieties, these professionals nonetheless go through them.
So, let’s take a look at some of their most prominent fears.
No one, including teachers, likes being accused of something they didn’t do. And no matter how ridiculous the accusation may seem to the teacher, the school board may end up investigating the matter.
Depending on the severity of the accusation, the teacher may be suspended during the course of the investigation. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for a teacher to plan for any potential accusation as it could come from anywhere.
And parents and society, in general, have a habit of quickly taking the side of the student, especially when they are younger.
In this age of social media where news travels fast, the teacher’s reputation would still be impacted even when they’re cleared of any wrongdoing.
Keep in mind that this fear is quite prominent in male teachers who refrain from teaching students at younger ages out of fear of false accusations of inappropriate behavior.
This has led to lesser male teachers at the early childhood education levels in recent times.
Unfortunately, teaching high school and college levels do not always protect teachers from such accusations as students looking to improve their grades sometimes leverage inappropriate means.
Teachers have had their careers ruined and even lost their licenses due to false accusations. Unfortunately, the court of public opinion still exists even when these teachers are found innocent.
This makes it difficult for them to find and maintain teaching roles due to parental concerns.
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Dealing With Student Misbehavior
Inappropriate student behavior is a challenging problem in regular classroom settings.
Examples of such behavior include obnoxious talking, persistent procrastination, clowning, interfering with instructional tasks, pestering classmates, verbal insults, disrespect for the teacher, resistance, and anger.
Misbehavior on the part of students impedes their own and their classmates’ learning as well as the efficiency and flow of instruction.
Teachers without adequate training in strategies for classroom management may find it difficult to maintain order in the classroom.
After all, classroom management is essential to ensure smooth lessons. Keep in mind that while this applies mostly in the case of new and aspiring teachers, experienced teachers sometimes have this fear.
To help new teachers learn to manage classrooms, some educational institutions resort to assigning veteran teachers as mentors to new teachers.
Students expect teachers to know everything about their subject area. They expect teachers to answer any questions they might have about their specific topics.
New teachers may have the fear of making mistakes in their lessons and having a student point them out.
The truth is that teachers aren’t perfect and make mistakes. It’s advisable to identify ways to deal with it to avoid any embarrassment.
Well-trained teachers do not take it personally when students point out their mistakes. Instead, they identify ways to reward students who point out these errors.
Teachers sometimes fear that some students may know more about a topic than they do. The truth is that learning to appreciate students who may have studied ahead on a topic is essential in a classroom environment.
Not only that, some students may already have some experience with the topic the teacher may be teaching. Instead of fearing that they would show you up, it’s better to steer them towards helping their peers with their experience.
You can do this by asking them their thoughts and experiences which also increases engagement in the classroom.
It’s great for the teacher to be an expert in their field, but you should accept that being a teacher does not mean you know everything.
You don’t need to challenge students in an attempt to prove them wrong. Leverage their knowledge to improve as a teacher and also increase classroom engagement.
Walking into the classroom every new term or semester isn’t easy especially when you’ll be meeting a new batch of students.
While this nervousness decreases with time, it never completely vanishes whenever a teacher needs to deal with a new batch.
With every student’s attention focused on the teacher, making a good impression is key. What’s interesting is that even troublesome students would pay attention in an attempt to identify any weaknesses.
Depending on their perception of the teacher during their first encounter, they may mend their behavior to avoid any problems or simply take advantage of the teacher’s inability to properly manage the classroom.
Self-Defense / Violent Incident
No one likes getting hurt and the worse part about someone attacking you is when you can’t fight back offensively. Unfortunately, this is the case for teachers as simply defending themselves against violent students isn’t enough.
The education code states that:
Education Code 49001(a)
“ ‘corporal punishment’ means the willful infliction of, or willfully causing the infliction of, physical pain on a pupil. An amount of force that is reasonable and necessary for a person employed by or engaged in a public school to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to persons or damage to property, for purposes of self-defense, or to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects within the control of the pupil, is not and shall not be construed to be corporal punishment within the meaning and intent of this section.”
The education code 49001(a) recognizes that teachers and other school employees may use reasonable force necessary to quell any disturbance threatening injury to others and property as well as themselves.
Keep in mind, the “amount of force” is an important keyword in the Education Code 49001(a). The amount of force needs to be reasonable which would most likely be determined by authorities after the fact.
Simply defending yourself as a teacher isn’t enough as the amount of force used during the incident would be heavily scrutinized.
So, it’s advisable that teachers refrain from self-defense actions in the absence of credible witnesses as this would most definitely lead to a false report and possible charges from the student’s parents.
Sounds unfair but it’s necessary to protect yourself and your career as a teacher. The teacher would be found guilty in the absence of credible witnesses.
So, yes, teachers fear any such incidents in school. That applies to most professionals as most people don’t want to be involved in physical incidents at the workplace.
However, teachers on the other hand need to think even before they act in self-defense as this could easily be misinterpreted in the absence of credible witnesses.
While most parents respect the role of teachers, there’re always some parents who believe teachers have it easy and want to show them how to do their jobs correctly.
Some parents are always in the school complaining about one thing or the other. Their children are expected to report every single thing that happens in the school.
This leads to anxiety in teachers who feel like they’re constantly being watched and monitored in their working environment.
Every judgment by the teacher is questioned making it difficult for the teacher to confidently administer their duties.
Yes, teachers know when their courses are boring. Some courses are simply boring and as much as teachers may try to make them engaging, the boredom never seems to be fully eliminated.
The teacher may be passionate about the course and topic but that doesn’t mean students find them just as interesting.
Failing to make the course a bit more interesting is a real fear. After all, no one wants to spend a significant amount of time teaching something students are obviously bored with.
Inability To Effectively Educate
Teachers enter into the profession with a passion to help educate the youth. And while a teacher may leverage various tools and approaches to appropriately educate their students, there’re times when some students end up failing.
This leads to teachers feeling responsible for the student’s failure. This is especially true in the case of new teachers or those teaching courses they aren’t very conversant with.
They start wondering whether they aren’t teaching the materials well and whether they’re effectively identifying and addressing learning gaps.