Which teachers make the grade?


It’s that time of year again: the time when signing up for a session with your counselor is as difficult as meeting with President Obama. The Student Services Office is packed with anxious freshmen, sophomores and juniors abuzz with questions on classes and credits, as well as seniors attempting to guide their young protégés in the right direction. Course selection season has officially begun.
What many students fail to realize is that sometimes it’s not so much the level of a given course that can prove challenging the following year, but also the teacher. Let me begin by first stating how many wonderful teachers there are at AHS. It would be somewhat idealistic, however, to pretend that all of these teachers are without certain quirks and habitual tendencies that students find either endearing or infuriating.

The Perpetual PowerPointer: This teacher relies solely on Microsoft PowerPoints to teach material in every class. They may attempt to “engage” students with flashy colors and spinning transitions, but fail to realize the damage they are causing to students’ precious retinas. While it certainly is entertaining to watch famous authors and historians zoom into view at 20 mph, the extremely volatile motions have little impact on students’ comprehension of the material.

The Nicknamer: These teachers bypass the traditional names that students’ parents laboriously chose many years ago, in favor of their own concoctions. You’re likely to hear, “Dan the Man,” at least once a class along with some unoriginal rhymes (Anna Banana, Scary Carrie and others). There are a couple of reasons for this interesting trait. The first is that through the act of giving students nicknames, teachers gain access to the same inclusive feeling that comes with an inside joke; only the student, the teacher and the class understand. The second is far less emotionally driven. When a teacher can’t pronounce a students’ name, he or she gets a nickname. Problem solved.

The Spielbergs: Unbeknownst to many at AHS, we have quite a few teachers who happen to be connoisseurs of film. Students adore these teachers as they can find an applicable movie or YouTube clip for whatever lesson they happen to be teaching that day. Monsters Inc? Sure, it relates to the theme of friendship in one of the books you were supposed to read this year. The latest song by Rebecca Black? It portrays a positive message that any student can achieve success with some hard work and a little bit of luck. Whatever the subject matter, these teachers will find a way to make it work.

The Fashionistas: When movies fail to win over the hearts of students, this next group of teachers rely on their clothing get the job done. They wear stylish brands, trendy prints and always have the right accessories. Male students may not notice (much less care), but female students appreciate every extra minute these teachers spend in the mornings making themselves look presentable for their classes. These teachers must be cautious of dressing too closely to their teenage counterparts. We don’t want to see your undergarments any more than you want to see ours.

The Granola Munchers: In contrast to the teachers on trend, these could care less about style, as long as their clothing is made from 100 percent organic cotton, burlap, or hemp. They carry around aluminum water bottles rather than plastic and deduct points on students’ quizzes when they find they have not properly recycled their waste paper. To survive the year in a class like this, it is recommended that you join the Green Atoms Club or casually mention that your community service hours involved cleaning up a local park.

Whether or not your teacher falls into any of the aforementioned categories, remember that you, the student, are ultimately in control of your academic career. While it’s important to be wary of specific traits that teachers may possess, don’t take any advice from upper classmen too seriously. Take the courses that you are interested in, work hard and everything else should just fall into place. So don’t worry, “Dan the Man,” you’ll get through next year watching The Lion King in your math class after your stylish teacher concludes her superfluously detailed PowerPoint with the lights off to conserve energy. Attitude is everything.