Why We Do Things as Teachers

It’s easy for teachers to go through the motions of doing something without thinking about why they’re doing it. It’s very easy to make a bunch of PowerPoint slides and reuse them year after year to check whatever boxes the state puts in front of them, but it’s important to think about why teachers do certain things.

Why do teachers have their students write essays? Just to make them suffer and force them to study more than they would have to for a multiple choice assessment? No. We want students to have developed and proficient writing skills to prepare them for their future endeavors in life, and the best way to check and improve their abilities is to have them demonstrate what they are capable of. From there, teachers can communicate with them about what they did well and what they need to improve on in the future.

Why do teachers give so many vocabulary terms? It’s not just to test a student’s memorization abilities for a quiz, it’s because an understanding of certain terms is crucial for productive engagement with the various subjects students will interact with in their time in school.

The way teachers go about teaching their classes should have more to it than just making students memorize things for a test or do busy work to fill out class time. Classroom activities should all be ultimately oriented towards the learning goals for the course, and the teacher has to do what they can to help as many of their students as possible to meet or exceed those goals.