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Readers Respond: What Do You Think is the Worst Things That a Teacher Can Do?

Responses: 21


We all make mistakes when we are teaching. I know that there have been many instances when I've done something that I regretted upon further reflection. However, here I want you to share what you think is the worst thing that a teacher can do.

Worst Teacher

I have a learning disability, and my kindergarten teacher hated me for it. One day I hadn't handed in my homework so she went to the front of the class and told the class that the shape of my head meant that my mom was over forty when she gave birth to me. She then spent about ten minutes talking about the dangers of having a child when you're over forty. Specifically saying that it was highly likely that I had Down Syndrome. Later that month we had a new student from Brazil and the teacher would smack her on the cheek whenever she did something wrong... In my opinion, she wasn't a good teacher.
—Guest dbry

the worst thing ,we teachers, can do

Belittle their learners and make them lose confidence in their potentialities.
—Guest ayati

student relationship destroyer

Insulting a student, especially in front of the class is one surefire way to guarantee that student will never trust you again. You'll also make an enemy of that student's parents, and risk losing your job.
—Guest thomas

Don't Do It

After teaching school, for 26 years, I want to warn any person considering becoming a teacher-You better be intrinsically motivated- How about an article about what parents should do to make their child a better learner- ie: quit using the television as a babysitter, buy some books, or find time to tell your child's teacher how you appreciate what they do for your child. Oh, no time, you say! Well, it's been my experience that you can find the time to come to school to complain, if the teacher reprimands your little darling for being an undisciplined, obnoxious, disruptive brat. What makes this even worse is that it reinforces, in your child's mind, that-Hey, I can be a complete jerk in class, and the teacher gets in trouble! I agree with the points brought out in this article, but how about an article on 10 things a parent can do to teach manners and respect for learning. How about taking some responsibility for your role in your child's education at home? - besides complaining.


I would like to share my thoughts with all you educated teachers around the world, especially to all you British Teachers. I really need your opinion on this matter. My three children who are American born are living in Greece right now. They all attend middle school. There ages are 12 and 14 years old. This year a new English/British teacher came to there British accent, and wants my three American children to start talking like her. She does not like their American accent or the way they write. She wants them to pronounce "Car," without the "R," sound because she told them that the letter "R" in the end of the word is silent. Now in America we are used to pronouncing our "R" and are proud of them. Also, she gets upset when the children say "Garbage" instead of "Rubbish", and told them that it is also wrong that when they want to refer to waste they should only use the word "Rubbish". I say, "what a bunch of Rubbish," to her and told my children to continue using "Garbage." Sorry,Mu
—Guest ann mantzanas


The worst thing a teacher can do is read out loud the names of the students with the lowest grades and tells them that they are not good enough. Then goes on and reads the names of the high grade students and points out how great they are.
—Guest ann mantzanas

The worst things that a teacher can do

To me personally, I think that the worst things that a teacher can do is to come into class without being prepared with the lesson, to give wrong information to students and be adamant about it. Teach with lack of professional ethics and without empathy, care and concern towards his/her students.
—Guest vani


I am a high school student, and I agree with almost everything in the list. If any teacher reads this, don't yell, it's funny and makes us laugh at you and makes you lose control. Don't single students out during class they will feel crap and ashamed they will resent you for it and retaliate by disrespecting class rules. Never give up on a student, they do want to do well, they just don't know how to use the tools. Smile and be friendly to students this makes students respect you and like you and they will engage in class more. Get involved and use different Methods of teaching it's boring to watch movies all day or lectures.
—Guest Tim

crushing hopes

The worst thing to do is to break a student's heart when he/she looks up to you for support. One of my teachers crushed my self-esteem n confidence when I sought her help to eliminate it. Another person would have made out easily. I was making an effort and struggling to come out of my shell. But she failed to. She preferred personal glory to helping a student. A teacher can't be a bigger failure when it comes to that. That's my take.
—Guest Anantjeet Kaur

Avoid smiling is one the worst things

I've seen teachers do every single thing on this list. Some are worse than others. I have yet to see a "perfect" teacher. But, in response to those who think the "avoid smiling" is silly. Please understand that the topic isn't to AVOID smiling....the topic states that to avoid smiling is one of the worst things a teacher can do. Just wanted to clear that up for anyone else who might be confused.
—Guest miss smith

worst teachers

I am a mother of 5th grade twins with an elderly, impaired teacher. She remains at her desk, even while teaching. She doesn't help the students understand the concept that she is teaching. Help a frustrated mother - what should I do if the administrator defends this type of teaching? We had the same problem in the 4th grade with a teacher who was either on her cell phone or the internet during class. My kids, I feel, have lost a great deal in their education.
—Guest kathy

My nephew

My nephew is only 5 and therefore in kindergarten and my brother and sister-in-law have been having a terrible time with his teacher. She constantly tries to tell them that he has add or adhd and that he has learning disabilities or speech problems. He has been to a speech specialist, and she has said that he's actually well beyond the expected level for his age. Its quite clear to me that the teacher has something against him as he is a very intelligent and artistic little boy.
—Guest Kevin long

Great to know

My Math teacher has done five of these things. She talks about how horrible her life is, and how she has two kids to take care of all the time.
—Guest bbwaugh


After reading this article, I noticed that my 8th grade spanish teacher whom I will NEVER forget comitted everything from 3 up! She was also a complete hypocrite- she always talked about how her family was rich in Ecuador and how her parents paid for her expensive art school in the US, but would scold us lower-middle class teenagers for being "spoiled rotten American brats" whenever she was mad at us. Worst of all those, she sexually harrased a kid, called another teacher fat and ugly, and smoked in the teacher's lounge, which was against school policy, of course. The worst part was how she treated us- she once took up my quiz for "copying off another student"- even though that student had a completely different test than me. Then she LIED to my parents about the whole dang thing! Personally, I can't think of a worse teacher I've ever heard of.
—Guest A Typical Citizen

Brilliant Article, but avoid smiling?

I'm a new TEFL teacher myself and have just had a horrible day where I've lost my temper with the class. Probably because I've been trying to teach them English and when they said they didn't understand, I offered to use Cantonese to explain the definitions in which they laughed at my broken Cantonese. When I tried to reprimand the student, they just laughed at me. This ended with my raising my voice. However, I think on reflection, I will have to think of ways of keeping them busy for long periods of time rather than resorting to letting off steam. Still learning the tricks of the trade! Hope they will forgive me someday. Doesn't help when I have 8 different lessons to teach every day, 6 days a week.
—Guest Mr Ed

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