While we often get to hear about how and what students feel about their teachers, it is rare that we come to know the opinions of teachers about their students.
We asked a few teachers what is it that they do not like their students doing or things that their pupils do that bugs them the most.
There are a few things about his students that irk Arun Kalyan, a professor at Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, the most.
Firstly, is when they come to college without taking a bath in the morning. "The hostel is attached to the college. Students stay awake till 2 or 3 in the morning, which is why they can't wake up early. And so they come to class without having a bath,” he says.
Secondly, he can't tolerate students who walk into class late. “Being five minutes late to class is okay, but some even enter 15 minutes after the class has begun. Usually I ask them to get lost, but sometimes I allow them to attend but don’t give attendance.”
The one thing, however, that he hates most is plagiarism. “If students plagiarise in my module in the second term, they get zero for the entire term,” he states.
Anjali R (name changed) spent a year as a lecturer at a media college in Bengaluru where she taught PG students. She too is strictly against the “copy+paste” formula that many students use to finish assignments. “It’s both infuriating and amusing that students copy paste entire Wikipedia entries in assignments they hand over and think lecturers won’t notice."
During her tenure as a teacher, there was one comment that annoyed her to the core. "I was 26 then and got the 'Ma’am, you look like a student only’ comment too many times," she laughs recollecting.
Atin Mitra (name changed), taught at an alternative residential school in Odisha for a year. "Some of the teachers would hit students as a last resort, but I decided I wouldn’t. But then I realized that the children don’t take you seriously, so I had to work out ways to get them to listen to me, and it was very frustrating," he says.
Shivani Kapoor is a guest faculty member at a college in Delhi and while she is quite liberal in her approach to teaching, there are certain things that she finds irritating.
Like when students do not read up before coming to class. In one instance, a student even complained to the principal of the college stating she had given them too many readings. "But if students don’t come prepared to class, lectures fall apart and this happens more often than students realise."
A word of note from her: contrary to what many students may feel, teachers do know what's going on in the class. "We know who is on the phone, is texting or passing chits. But we let it pass many times," she says.
Then there’s also the issue of texting professors at odd hours with trivial issues.
"Nowadays, students mostly have their teachers' personal numbers. But what is slightly irritating is when I get calls or messages from them at odd hours,” she says.
She’s received messages from students at 10:30 and 11 pm saying their attendance was not correct or that they weren't graded properly. “Some text me a night before an exam asking me what is the syllabus and if there are a few sections they can exclude since they hadn't finish their preparations.”
Shivani says that as teachers they are always available to help students and while she gets their problems, "sometimes it gets a little intrusive".
Nithya (name changed), a professor at a Bengaluru college, too echoes a similar opinion. “I’ve got calls at the middle of the night. And they mostly enquire about assignments that I had given in class. What’s the point of attending a class and then later texting your teacher about what happened in that very class?” she asks.
Students “walking in and out of the classroom like the teacher does not exist” and some displaying a know-it-all attitude also gets to her, she states.
Reshmi Iyer has been a trainee teacher at a prominent school in Bengaluru for a few months now. Here’s her list of things that students do, which annoy her:
The Bathroom break: As soon as I enter the class after a break, they wish me and ask me if they can go to the loo. What were they doing during the break?
The know-it-alls: There is a set of students who go to tuitions and already know what’s being taught in class. They are also not interested in the class at school and ruin the learning experience for everyone.
Requests for free period: Right before the exams, when teachers are racing to finish the syllabus, students ask us to give them free periods. Like taking GK quizzes. Anything other than letting us finish the syllabus.
Facebook friends: This one is my pet peeve. My students add me on Facebook and for them I’ve had to create a new and complex set of privacy settings in my account.
Selfies: After every class they want to take selfies with me.
(Inputs from Anisha Sheth)