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It’s the first day of school, which teacher will you get? Mr Late, Ms Strict or Mr Cool? Carry on reading to find out the most wanted and feared teachers in school.

We are three year 9 students from the British School and together with six other students we have put together a series called ‘The Ultimate Guide to …”. In our case, it is the Ultimate Guide to Teachers. With this guide to teacher stereotypes, we are not only trying to understand which certain types of teachers there are, but also how to stay productive under different conditions. We hope with this guide you can prevent your education from being affected in negative ways and you can achieve your desirable grades.

Not a student? This article is still for you! If you are an adult, maybe you can relate to some of your favourite, nasty teachers that you had when you were younger. Also, if you are a teacher, you can take our advice or hopefully just see this as an entertaining article. Now please enjoy our humorous guide to teachers. Laugh, cry and reminisce as we take you back to school…

The Strict Teacher

A drawing of a stereotypical strict teacher pointing her finger at her students.
The Strict Teacher

We would like to start with a classic; the strict teacher. This teacher type is simply timeless. I’m sure if you would ask your parents or even grandparents, they have all had at least one really strict teacher. As you can see, this teacher never smiles. If you are one of the few people that have seen a strict teacher smile, it was probably an evil grin or a slimy snigger at some other teachers joke.
Another feature of the strict teacher is The Finger. The Finger is one of the strict teachers most used weapons. It is typically used when telling students off, drawing attention to a newly set homework or a test, or when they are picking out the unlucky student of the day. Of course, their absolute favorite student (that in their eyes is perfect in every single way) never, ever, experiences the humiliation of The Finger. Additionally, there is always that one lucky child in a class that is picked out by the strict teacher to be praised and favored. They, are always used as the perfect example and have the only acceptable reason for forgetting homework or being late. Another typical trait of strict teachers is that they are often blunt and brutally honest.
This leads us to the next point; their huge egos. The strict teachers seem to think that they are the most superior type of human being. Sure, they may be pretty good teachers at times but surely they are not above any others in the hierarchy. Another feature of strict teachers are their mountain high expectations. “What? You did not do the optional extension of the extension task?” Any normally valid reason is of course just a lie. A strict teacher will generally not believe a word coming out of a student’s mouth (except their favorite of course). The final feature of the strict teacher we will cover is their all-time hobby; giving useless detentions. A strict teacher will rarely have a free lunch as giving students detentions is part of their daily routine. No one really understands why they do this as they are just wasting their own free time.
In case you still don’t have a clear picture of the strict teacher, here are some extreme fictional example: Ms Trunchbull from Roald Dahls Matilda or Mr Hand from the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Our advice for these teachers is to be polite and always stay on top of your work (organisation gives you bonus points). Just respect them and you will be respected in return.

Late Teacher

Of course we cannot forget the ‘late teacher’. Late teachers are stereotyped as unorganised and hypocritical, this may be true but they definitely capable of a good lesson!

A drawing of a teacher who is late for his lesson.
The Late Teacher

One of the first symptoms you might notice if you have a late teacher is extreme disrespect of students time. They just do not seem to understand that students have lot’s of things that they could be doing that would be much more time efficient than waiting outside a classroom for a teacher. The best way to deal with this is to bring something productive to do while waiting for a lesson to begin (e.g. some flashcards to revise from). A second characteristic is being unorganised. One of the most prominent examples of this is a teacher that is not only late to every lesson but also gives back test results practically months after the test has been done, making it nearly insignificant to the students.

Even though late teachers can be annoying they are not the worst type of teacher, because they are generally quite apologetic and quick to get the lesson started, so you don’t often fall behind on work!

Lazy Teacher

Another typical teacher that I am sure we have all met is the lazy teacher. How to recognize a lazy teacher: Do they constantly show you videos in lessons? Do they give you worksheets from the internet? Do they teach you per Skype while on holiday in Mallorca? Then they are probably a lazy teacher as they are simply not bothered to make their own lesson. This does not always mean they cannot teach well though! Maybe this teacher is just always in a rush and too lazy to get thing organised.

A drawing of a teacher who is tired and not doing any work.
The Lazy Teacher

However, if the teacher does not explain anything, the students do not learn. This not only means we don’t gain any knowledge, but it also means we are tested on things we were never taught! There are two ways we can go from here; either you do all the work at home. This takes a lot of time and is no where near as affective a proper lesson. The other option is to revise normally and hope for the best. This usually results in a bad test result which no one really wants. I mean, the purpose of school is to explain the information we are given and then ask us to use it. If you want to test our independent skill; that’s what homework is for!

Speaking of which, there are some positives to lazy teachers. Lazy teachers are often too lazy to set any homework. This, of course, is a huge bonus but it does not really help your education. The worst is, when a lazy teacher decides to set homework for the sake of setting homework. Yes, this homework will not benefit you at all and yes, this homework it completely irrelevant to the class work and yes, this homework it going to take you hours as I have not explained any of it but you know, it’s homework day. Overall, our advice is to definitely ask if you don’t understand something and to work together with your class mates so you can fully understand and complete the work. Even though they can be very frustrating and boring, try to put some effort into their lessons and lead with example!

Cool Teacher

We all know this one; the cool teacher. Look, I get that they’re trying to make our lessons fun and interesting and I (to an extent) appreciate that but usually the cool teacher just ends up being weird and annoying. I mean, quite often they are pretty funny but usually in the moments they do not actually intend to be humorous. I think we can all relate – the teacher tells a joke – say, a silly pun – and that one student starts grinning – no one really knows if they actually found it funny or if they think the teacher is just being weird – and suddenly they set the whole class off like a row of dominos. This is a popular strategy used by the cool teacher and – to be fair – it works!

The only downside of this is that they then start grinning exceptionally proud of themselves as they are the great teacher that managed to get the whole class laughing. This causes their egos to grow and soon they are convinced everyone must love them and the are the best teacher on earth.

A drawing of a teacher wearing a typically cool outfit.
The Cool Teacher

Another downside is that they often forget that they are meant to teach. If you are able to teach your students while making it funny and interesting; great! But let’s be hones here, about 0.03% of cool teachers actually do that. Take Dewey Finn (School of Rock) for example, sure he’s fun and pretty hilarious but does he really teach anything? At least not what is on the teaching scheme.

Our advice for these types of teachers is to just go along with it. If they make a really bad pun, just go with it. Yes, this will not solve the ego problem but at least you get some work done and maybe even have some fun! Just appreciate that they are making an effort to make your daily lives a little bit more fun and add a bit of colour into your education.

The Distracted Teacher

A drawing of a tecaher going off subject, from maths to talking about fruit.
The Distracted Teacher

This is a teacher, that at first glance will seem fun and great to be around. The only downside is, it is hard to learn everything. You see, it’s great to include a humorous anecdote now and again (when it is relevant) but is it really necessary to talk about your experience with chocolate covered pineapple when we are meant to be learning about how to multiply fractions. Honestly, after a while it just gets boring and annoying.

On the other hand, this type of teacher has the rare power to make students want to learn. After five completely irrelevant anecdotes, the students just wish for a normal education and to actually learn something. Honestly, their boring voice just becomes white noise and any piece of relevant information is missed. This is not the most effective way to learn. The other type of distracted teacher (assuming they do not come in one as that would be terrible) is the teacher that goes on and on and on. I’m certain we have all experienced a half an hour explanation and one, annoying, person in your class decides to publicly announce they do not understand question 4.c.  The teacher then decides that they have not explained it very well so they start another half an hour explanation. This all results in the students not being able to complete any work and not learning anything. Our advice here is just to persevere and really try hard in the work time you are given. If the teacher is repeating something, you could politely ask a more relevant question to get them back on track. Sadly, for the distracted teacher, it is often necessary to look over the material at home if you fully want to understand. 

The Substitute Teacher

A drawing of a substitute teacher who is questing what he and the class should be doing.
The Substitute Teacher

I can guarantee that nearly all students have had at least one substitute teacher. The annoying part is it is extremely difficult to tell if you have a bad or a good substitute teacher as they do not only come in all shapes and sizes but they also have very different methods.
One of the most common things that substitutes do is confuse students. Now, this can happen in one of three ways:
1) Read out a task along the lines of: ‘complete the worksheet you were doing last lesson about Frankenstein’ when last lesson you were looking at war poems.
2) Start explaining a topic (which they don’t have any experience in) and teaching the wrong thing.
3) Sitting down at a desk without saying anything and then starting to work without informing the students what they are suppose to do.
Of course there are other ways substitutes manage to confuse themselves as well as all the students. Another thing substitutes consistently succeed in doing is annoying all students by making them work in silent, when the students generally don’t have a clue what they are doing. The best way to deal with this is to talk to the substitute and ask whether you can discuss the topic quietly with peers because it is quite difficult and hard to understand. Just keep in mind that the substitute is not familiar with the topic and may feel uncomfortable – especially as they don’t know the students.

What makes a good teacher?

A checklist of what makes a good teacher;
- Being clear
- Kind
- Firm
- Fair
- and interactive
A Good Teachers Checklist

Although there are many teachers with faults, there are also teachers we classify as ‘good’. But what even is a good teacher? The students at The British School in the Netherlands define a good teacher as; kind, fair, firm, creative and clear. A good teacher makes learning interesting as well as engaging for the students. They are also made up of lots of the traits we have mentioned previously just less exaggerated as well as a balance of all characteristics and more.

One of the main natural characteristics of a good teacher is kindness, take Ms. Honey from Matilda as an example, the thing that makes us so attached to her character is the unconditional kindness she shows not only towards Matilda but to the rest of the students as well, this does not only make her likeable but also helps students to feel more comfortable to make mistakes and learn. Another key feature a ‘good’ teacher generally has is the ability to be clear. This is arguably one of the most important parts of being a teacher, because it does not only help students to understand what they are learning but it also makes it easier to understand tasks and homework’s that have been set. Being clear also helps to make students feel at ease and makes lessons feel less rushed and confusing.  Not only this but it is more likely a student will be interested in a topic or subject if the teacher is clear and helps the students to understand what they are learning.

A third feature that is a necessity in order to classify as a ‘good’ teacher a balance of being firm and fair. This does not only ensure good behavior in the classroom but also makes it clear to students that the teacher is superior to students  but are still likeable and are easy to communicate with.

A good teacher should also repeatedly ask, ‘Does everyone understand this?’ just to make sure that all students have fully understood what they have been taught.

There are many great teachers throughout schools globally but if you are the 1 out of 20 unlucky students that have a teacher with bad qualities, we hope that you can not only identify it but also you now know what to do to stay time efficeint and comfortable in different school situations!

By Anya, Ash and Franziska