Course difficulty should not affect willingness to learn


One unavoidable problem that students face at Granite Bay High School is the wide variety of teaching methods, classroom policies and class grading.

For nearly every class I’m in, I hear students arguing outside of class about why another student is ‘lucky’ compared to them.

Common complaints are that one class has a higher average grade than another, one has a better or more exciting teacher than another or one teacher gives out less homework than another.

As far as grading goes, I have experienced both kinds of teachers – those that are extremely hard-nosed and those that are more lenient.

While I appreciate the more difficult teachers who make students work harder – possibly preparing students for future education – I believe grades shouldn’t be the focus of the class.

In classes with ‘hard teachers’ where grades are very low all semester, students tend to be more focused on pulling up a lower grade than on understanding the material longer than the next quiz or test.

When students are more focused on their grades due to stress resulting from a harder teacher’s lower grades, students begin to value a good grade in the current course more than really focusing on learning and retaining the material for further courses.

As a result, once students know who the ‘harder’ teachers are, they are swayed toward taking the easiest classes, or at least the easier classes that give weighted GPA bumps. Thus, students take into account class difficulty levels in choosing a more manageable schedule for the term.

Unfortunately, students might not take classes in fields they are interested in pursuing if the class they are interested in is unfairly difficult, just to preserve their class standing and in turn their college acceptance dreams.

The whole purpose of high school is to find out what majors and careers we want to pursue, but between tempting, classes and classes that are much harder than they should be, we end up never finding what we actually enjoy learning in high school.

Even worse, a daunting class in high school can cause us to dislike a subject we would like in other circumstances.

Student success is also dependent on the different homework loads teachers give out.

Personally, I have seen vast differences in homework loads between teachers in the same courses for nearly every department except for math.

Teachers should keep in mind that students have multiple classes, so when certain classes take up more time than necessary, it hurts students’ performances in other classes because there is no time to prepare for them.

Not only does a good and balanced teacher help students succeed in their class, they also help students manage their other classes better. The opposite is also true – hard teachers can hurt a student’s performance in other classes.

While much of the differences in teacher grading and policies are simply due to personality, it really is needless and detracts from the purpose of our education.

While there will always be variation between teaching styles from class to class, it is unfortunate to jeopardize a student’s future simply because they had a certain teacher.

If I were a teacher, I would want to be known as being fair and helpful to all my students. No matter the difficulty of the course, I would help them achieve success in their goals if they showed effort and a willingness to learn.

By covering all that is needed for the students to continue at a higher level and be successful in their future education, I would do my best to get them excited and interested in the subject. I think the goal of a good teacher is to instill a love for learning and growth.

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