• Christian Paul

How To Spot A Troublesome Teacher…

Updated: May 21

Unfortunately, the frustrating truth of the school system is that not all teachers are fantastic.

Don’t get me wrong, many teachers are outstanding. They are both passionate and patient, taking the time for each and every one of their students.

But for every teacher who loves their job, there is another who doesn’t.

A troublesome teacher who, for whatever reason, is frustrating to work with for both students and parents. These teachers can cause endless headaches, anxiety and all around discomfort for students. And there can be some pretty daunting flow-on effects from this too.

Here’s some of the most common signs I’ve noticed about teachers who might not be doing the best job they could….

Relying solely on a textbook to teach

The textbook in any subject is quite often the backbone of a curriculum.

But they are also convoluted, and frequently present information in baffling ways.

It is the role of a teacher to take the content there and translate it into a language that makes sense to his students. Which means that simply regurgitating the content without further explanation or insight isn’t really the best use of a teacher’s skills…

Refusing to answer questions

Questions are what make the difference between a classroom and a lecture. They allow students to grow and develop their own thoughts, processes and analyses.

However, I hear more and more reports of troublesome teachers who simply don’t acknowledge questions. Students who want to learn are being ignored, or even punished, for being curious.


This is most commonly seen in situations where perhaps teachers may not actually know the answer to a question. This in itself is not particularly problematic. The issue is when a teacher refuses to admit that they don’t know, prefering to avoid the question rather than explain that they may need to do some research or refreshing themself.

Being more interested in showing what they know, rather than teaching

This actually shines through more commonly than you might think.

Teachers are often incredibly knowledgeable about their speciality, and they are rightly proud of that fact.

However, this shouldn’t be an invitation for a teacher to show off at every opportunity. Most of those more complex explanations end up confusing and intimidating students, rather than teaching them.

Unfortunately, teachers like this are part of the reason that tutors like myself are so busy…

A common reason for students to get a tutor is due to the fact that they don’t feel comfortable with relying solely on their teacher. Sometimes, this is simply due to time constraints or the difficulty of the content.

More commonly, however, is the fact that students don’t respond well to the teacher and how they run the class.

If you do find yourself in this position, organising a private tutor or other third-party help is always a great step in the right direction. They can help to solidify your understanding as well as your own confidence in the subject and give you a “safety net” to rely on.

Teachers do such an important job in our world, and so very many of them are outstanding role-models and invaluable assets to students lives. Making sure that we hold them to a high standard is critical to ensuring that students across the country (and realistically, the world) receive the absolute best education they can.

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