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Catherine Okafor Headshot

The Unfortunate Truth in Education

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There has been much debate about the student achievement gap in schools and what factors contribute to so many students falling behind. Well, I have seen first-hand how students in K-12 and in higher education institutions are not succeeding in the classroom. I must say that it deeply saddens me to see the number of high school dropout rates increase year by year.

In my previous article I spoke about my appreciation for teachers and detailed some of the amazing qualities that the best teachers that I know have possessed. Well as we all know, there are not so good teachers out there as well.

Something that I have recently noticed that may contribute to so many students falling behind in schools is that some teachers simply don't care about their students. By this I'm referring to them not caring to get to know their students on a personal level. It's not the teacher's responsibility to know everything about the students. However, it can help them understand their student(s) better in and outside the classroom.

Some students not only look to their teachers for advice but for support, trust, and respect. If this cannot be developed then it can be hard for a student to form a connection with their teacher. Think about it: would you date someone who you can't form a bond or connection with? If the answer is no, then you may understand the point that I'm making.

I have observed a teacher who didn't take into consideration the opinions and suggestions that their students were voicing. Instead of taking the opinions in and absorbing them, the teacher shot them down and made the students feel inferior. I watched as the students showed their distress. In return, the majority of the students stopped voicing their opinions in class due to fear of the teacher not caring. Then people are so confused when students lose interest in their classes. This is a clear and simple reason why.

I also observed that over 80% of the students in the class have a genuine interest in learning more about the subject taught in class. They are so eager to fill their young minds with knowledge. However, by the teacher not taking the students seriously and not caring about them, many of them are losing interest and are not working at their full potential. Some come to class and don't pay attention and some simply don't come to class at all.

It breaks my heart that the teacher can't step out and see where the students are coming from. This can be seen in so many classrooms. I see it as the unfortunate truth to why students are not achieving in schools. With that said, I think that teachers should take more responsibility and show interest and passion for their students and how they teach. I know it's not an easy task. However, it has been proven that it can be done. It only takes one person to try and succeed at it and educate other teachers how to do the same.

To all the students out there in the world: please continue to speak up and speak out on your views on education. In the end the choice is 100% yours to gain a valuable education.