Are you a crappy teacher?

Time to take the self-evaluation test

24th May 2011

Answer these questions honestly and find something out about yourself. More to the point, can you do anything about it?

1) Do you show movies to your class? If so what is your motivation for doing so? Is it to complement the material presented in class? Is it an occasional reward for your students for achievement or good behavior? Or is it so you can burn valuable time because it is easier for you to show a movie than actually teach something? If you show movies to your class and at the end of the "lesson" they have learned basically nothing.

2) Do you miss class often or for any excuse? If for example you must make an off campus appointment on a school day, do you schedule your appointment around your classes or do you use the appointment as an excuse to miss class? If you answer is yes to these questions chances are you really don't care too much about your your students.

3) Do you often play games in class that really have no/little value in terms of learning? Like showing the movie that burns time because you are too lazy to teach, playing games can be valuable or they can be an indication that you may be a crappy teacher.

4) Are you a "smart guy" that has "figured out" the system? Is your primary goal to keep your job while doing as little work as possible? Do you give away candy and treats to your students so they will like you? If a kid is struggling in class do you just give him more homework because you know that Thai parents equate lots of homework with good teaching?

5) Do you like to boast how good it feels to see your students learning when in fact you you know they are not learning much if anything at all from you? You figure by saying these things others you will deceive others into believing that you actually care if your students learn or not. Chances are you are not fooling anybody.

6) Do you yourself spend a lot of time playing video games shooting up bad guys in an apocalyptic future world or watching inane TV shows? Well everybody needs to relax and put the brain on hold but the amount of time you spend on non-creative activities such as these is related to how creatively your mind works in general and is also an indicator of your capacity for sloth. Lazy, non creative people generally aren't very good teachers. Chances are if you spend a significant amount of time watching TV and playing video games, you may be a crappy teacher.

7) Do you spend most of your time sitting or standing in class? (This is more directed to teachers working with kids rather than in corporate or language school situations). An enthusiastic teacher will be on his or her feet for the vast majority of time. If you stand and move around the class your students will focus more on you, that should be evident. If you spend more time on you lazy rump than up on your might guessed it.

8) Do you give lots of classwork to fill time? Most of the people reading this are teaching EFL. As an English teacher in a foreign county chances are your school has hired you so that students have a chance to interact with a native speaker to practice/acquire speaking and listening skills. Some classwork which underscores speaking and listening activities is appropriate(and of course it depends on curriculum dictated by course). BUT if you throw classwork at your students so you can sit down and relax, that's just a cop-out

9) Do you have control of your class? Sadly, even if you are giving it your all, if you can't control your classes, you are probably not effective as a teacher. Even if you have the luxury of an assistant who keeps order for you, if you can't control the class yourself, chances are your students are not focusing on what you are teaching. They are just responding to being disciplined. You need to be able to control your class. You may be trying, but if you can't control your class you are probably a crappy teacher.

10) Honestly, do you really care if your students learn or not? Is your job just a way to make a living? I guess it is possible, but in my estimation if you really don't like teaching and if it doesn't bother you when a class doesn't go as well as it could, you should get out of the game.

So now what? If you have evaluated yourself honestly and you have come to a conclusion that you are in fact a crappy teacher what can you do about it? Since most of these things actually have to do with personal motivation, probably not a lot. Laziness and indifference are character flaws and nothing short of a miracle can do anything to change that. If that is your problem my suggestion to you is pray for improvement, but don't hold your breath. If however, you have problems with class management, or finding ways to be more effective in class, you can go to the powerteachers website and learn how to become a Whole Brain teacher. This will solve your problems as long as an aversion to WORK is not your fundamental issue.

Happy Teaching (or gold bricking, whichever the case may be!)


Hit a raw nerve “teacher” Robert?

Might not be the best teacher in the world, but certainly don’t come over as an arrogant know it all prat with stereo types based on a small world of experiences, and certainly believe in putting my students happiness and experiences before the head teachers or nazi regime, if my students hate their grammer books that fine with me…

So what makes the author such an expert? I agree with some of the things he says and a crappy teacher won’t last long. The part about controlling the class is the one that really gets to me. A lot of it depends on the students and how they have been brought up as much as it does the teacher. I can have one class that is an absolute pleasure to teach and the very next one is like a living hell. If you have a solution to misbehaving students that will still make them interested and not resentful, i’d like to hear it.

Whole Brain teaching to my understanding is being reconized as a potent teaching strategy because of test rising test scores amoung students in where it is being used in classrooms in The United States. However, many teachers worldwide are claiming they are seeing sucesses as well. I know I have seen amazing results. The science that it is based on is related to the physiology of the human brain so it would follow that it would be effective wherever humans are being taught.  It is quite possible that techiniques could be adjusted to better adapt to various cultures.

This is a fairly new appraoch and I am sure it will continue to evolve. However the basics will remain largely the same, I believe, for quite some time. When steel shafts were introduced to the game of golf Ben Hogan though hard work and observation discovered “swing plane.” He then developed a set of fundamentals that would enable a player to swing on plane. These fundamentals absolutely work and produce stupendous results.  However Hogan’s approach to timing resulted in a rise of the number of lower back pain sufferers that hadnt been seen since the days of Vlad the Impaler.

So, timing has been reassed and as a result of changing that it was necassary to change other fundamentals. Thus a more modern swing has evolved. It is much less stressful on the body and seems to produce results that are just as consistent thus is better. However the modern swing is still “on plane”-this can not be changed unless the laws of physics change. Likewise the discovery that learning takes places much more effectively when both parts of the brain are engaged will remain constant, however better/more appropropriate techniques may in the future be developed.

“Every day more evidence is pouring in that in terms of rising standardized test scores as well as in controlled laboratory experiments that a classroom environment which foments connections between left brain and right brain activity is superior to one which relies solely on right brain activity (Accelerated Learning is a very related methodology).”

Is this evidence coming from individualistic and lower power distance cultures such as the USA, Canada and the UK? If so, how do we know if these results will be transferred to collectivist and high power distance cultures such as Thailand?

On the other hand, “between left brain and right brain activity is superior to one which relies solely on right brain activity” would seem to be arguing that good teaching produces better results than bad teaching. Not exactly a ground breaking idea.

Fetch more comments

Comment on this Article

Please enter the text you see:

TEFL and TESOL Training Courses
Schools that need Teachers
Your questions answered. Can't find an answer? Ask Ajarn!

Most recently answered question:

What do female teachers wear?

View Answer

About was started as a small hobby website in 1999 by Ian McNamara. It was a simple way for one Bangkok teacher to share his Thailand experiences and pass on advice. The website developed a loyal and enthusiastic following. In 2004, Ian handed over the reins to Phil Williams and 'Bangkok Phil' has run the ajarn website ever since. has grown enormously and is now the most popular TEFL site in Thailand - possibly even South East Asia. Although best-known for its vibrant jobs page, Ajarn has a wealth of articles, blogs, features and help and advice. But one principle has always remained at Ajarn's core - to tell things like they are and to do it with a sense of humor. Thailand can be Heaven or Hell for an English teacher. It's always been's duty to present both sides of the equation. Thanks for stopping by.