Teaching styles vary between faculty at GBHS

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Teaching styles vary between faculty at GBHS

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The differences between some teachers are not noticeable, while for other teachers, the different teaching styles and chosen material can make students’ educational experiences inconsistent.

With multiple teachers, whether across campus or across the district, complete consistency is impossible. Teachers have freedom to teach in the way they wish while delivering a quality education. A teacher’s individual ability and expertise is trusted, and they are expected to teach accordingly to their professionalism.

“Nothing I’ve ever taught has been challenged or questioned,” Advanced Placement Literature teacher Jenny Padgett said. “I just keep doing what I enjoy and what I think is important … I value academic freedom way too much, (and I want)  to be able to go with my expertise and my intuition on what to teach and when and how.”

Padgett teaches AP Literature alongside David Tastor. According to Padgett, she and Tastor vary greatly in the material they choose to teach, and their different personalities reflect their teaching styles.

“As far as teaching the same thing in the same way, I don’t even know how that’s possible,” Padgett said. “I couldn’t teach like Mr. Tastor if I tried. With something like literature, he and I have philosophical and ideological differences that make it a richer experience … We’re very different. It’s going to be a different experience, but both experiences are going to be really rich and really valuable.”

Junior Will Duval said he has felt that he could be learning easier if he had a teacher that could have taught material that better suited his style of learning.

Each student’s learning style is unique, just like every teacher’s teaching styles. When a student does not get a teacher that complements his or her learning style, it can be frustrating.

“I have had two different teachers in a subject, and most of the time they are a lot different in how they teach,” Duval said. “It just depends on the type of student you are. Sometimes, you have to be more independent and teach yourself (the material). A lot of the time one of the teachers will be a better teacher because that is how you like to be taught.”

Duval said he has experienced two teachers teaching the same class, with one teacher preparing his or her students more specifically to the test that they both give out. The other teacher may not have covered some material at all, so preparedness may vary.

Bonnie Robbins, Shannon McCann and Michaela Badaracco teach AP Language and Composition. While standards for the common assessment, in this case the AP test, are consistent, these teachers are allowed to use their personal discretion in choosing what texts to teach beyond a required few.

“There’s not always going to be consistency across the board curriculum-wise, but in terms of standards and skills there should be,” Robbins said. “Obviously it’s inconsistent because (students are) being taught different material or being exposed to different material, but I don’t think it’s doing a disservice to students if teachers choose to teach different things.”

Individual teachers have unique strengths, and according to Robbins these can aid in their address and approach to certain texts and subjects.

“(Differing styles) in teaching is really important. I wouldn’t try to force any other teacher to teach the same curriculum that I teach just because I’ve been teaching it longer,” Robbins said.

While collaboration is apparent in uniformity of grading, some students believe each teacher’s individuality leads to grading inconsistency, especially in subjective subjects.

“Some teachers are more unbiased, and some teachers definitely play favorites towards students, especially when the grading isn’t exact like multiple choice,” junior Frances Strnad said. “(In essays) when the teacher can have their own take when reading into it, it can definitely change (from teacher to teacher). There’s definitely a difference.”

Although equality and fairness are desired by most students, it is the teachers’ individuality and professionalism that is trusted to add variety and originality.

“If you’re too routinized, and given a curriculum day by day, then are you more than an actor?” Robbins said.

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