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What Good Teachers Do

They teach. They encourage. They challenge. They don’t try to overwhelm you or make you feel stupid. They’re mainly about making sure that you learn what you need to know.

I am totally tired right now from studying, but I had a good final exam today. That’s what made me think about good teachers.

The exam was thorough but not really hard. No particularly tricky questions. They were all straight-ahead: Do you know what we studied this semester, or not? If you know it, you do well. If you don’t know it, you don’t do well.

That’s not to say that the exam wasn’t a lot of work. It was. And there was one question where I might have messed up the last part. But whether I do well or badly (I expect to do well), I can’t say that the test wasn’t fair. It was fair. And it was clear, and it made me want to learn more. Isn’t that what education should really be about?

We are incredibly lucky at our school to have professors who care about us and take an interest in helping us succeed. Who explain things. Who answer even the stupidest questions with clarity and encouragement.

Another exam looms tomorrow. It will be fair, too. And tough. I know the professor because I’ve taken a class from her before. She’s close enough that I once went to her just to talk about a personal problem that had nothing to do with class.

And I can’t believe it, but I’ve been so consumed by studying for finals that I forgot we had a last homework assignment in her class. She sent me a gentle reminder, so before the exam I’ll get it done and turned in.

I’m going to study some more and then I have to get some sleep. I hope that you are having a great, exciting, and fun week! I am, too, even if I don’t sound like it. 🙂


Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

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  1. May 12, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    OMG! we are almost alike! I had a paper yesterday, final exam for this Semester and it was fair! I did my best but the last thirty minutes were like a punishment, we were just seated waiting for the supervisor to collect our answer sheets, she couldn’t allow anybody to move out in these last minutes, then i also have an assignment to hand in this Saturday which i haven’t started, i also have three more papers, two in the following week and one this Friday so generally, i’m supposed to be busy but i’m not!! Success otherwise,
    my name is Norman, a student of computer science, first year Makerere University Uganda.

    • Rinth de Shadley
      May 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Hi, Norman —

      Good luck on your papers and homework! It sounds like you are doing well even if it’s a lot of work.

  2. May 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I’m glad your professors give you fair tests. Ours often seem to hand out ones that are full of too much information, and test us on our critical thinking skills and guesswork more than whether or not we learned the material. I’m looking forward to my exam tomorrow because it’s actually going to test my knowledge, haha.

    • Rinth de Shadley
      May 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

      Hi, Kremlinmirrors —

      Good luck on your exam! Yes, I have had a few tests like that, with too much information. LOL Sometimes they are okay. 🙂

      Thanks for coming by!

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