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The 7 Types Of High School Teachers

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High school is about learning. But it’s also about coping. And to help you make it through the day or at least until lunch without escaping through a window or heating duct, here’s a handy guide to the seven most common teacher personalities you’ll encounter this school year.


1. The Disciplinarian


Often referred to as “stern,” “humorless” and “maybe armed,” The Disciplinarian is every student’s worst nightmare (aside from showing up on test day unprepared and pantless). They start class demanding no one say a word or get up for any reason whatsoever. They end class wondering why no one answered a single question and everyone went to the bathroom at their own desk. The Disciplinarian is never approachable, frequently discouraging and overly critical to the point that a student may come home with a note saying they have the wrong type of nose. The result is a teacher that never encourages learning, never excites the students about a subject and never ends a lesson without saying, “And don’t forget, I know where each and every one of you lives.”


2. The Undermedicated


Some teachers just know how to make learning fun…or at the very least exceedingly memorable. They go out of their way to get grab your attention, like having the class learn about human biology by crashing a surgical procedure. Or dressing up as Julius Caesar for a Shakespeare reading even though they teach math and happen to be in the supermarket at the time. Or interrupting their own lesson plan by repeatedly yelling “Pancakes!” at louder and louder volumes. Or lecturing on the evils of fractions from the roof of the school as authorities and news crews swarm the campus. In the end this teacher either gets the right treatment and becomes a responsible, run-of-the-mill educator or times a final exam with a live grenade.


3. The Failed Musician


Of course, this teacher could also be called “The Failed Artist,” “The Failed Writer” or “The Failed Shadow Puppeteer Who Really Should Have Seen How That Career Would Lead to Outright Bankruptcy.” But no matter what the professional defeat, they all share the same common trait—crippling bitterness at having never made it big and being forced to teach what they love to students who couldn’t care less or, even worse, are much better at it than they are. And it’s a bitterness that often curdles into a horribly condescending attitude. This teacher will often stare in jaw-dropping disbelief when no one in music class is able to play a complete violin concerto on the first lesson, when no one in writing class says they’ve been short-listed for a National Book Award or when no one in gym class knows how to properly perform 17th century kabuki.


4. The Nice Guy/Gal


Every so often you get that teacher who lets you call them by their first name. That teacher who says “Well, we all make mistakes” whenever you forget to bring in your homework, show up for a test or alert the other students you are a walking contagion. They never raise their voice, grade harshly or treat the kids as anything less than peers. And in return the students take advantage of that teacher in every single way possible until The Nice Guy/Gal completely snaps and becomes the very worst type of teacher possible—the hybrid Undermedicated/Disciplinarian. And so you spend the rest of the year ducking flung erasers and poo as the teacher fails everyone for a test he administered to an empty classroom at 2 am.


5. The Robot


We’re not talking about a real robot here…though how cool would THAT be?! Just imagine your teacher rolling in on treads, scanning retinas for attendance and lecturing with the use of high-powered lasers. But then the robot teacher would try to destroy humanity as it demands all of NORAD’s launch codes from a group of frightened ninth graders. No, by “Robot” we mean a teacher who seems to sleepwalk through their day. The one who always speaks in a droning monotone, no matter if the subject is grammar or how the school is on fire. The one who can’t answer a single student’s question—even if it’s “Can I go see the nurse?”—without consulting their teacher’s edition. And the one who might have passed away 15 years ago but keeps showing up to class out of force of habit.


6. The Novice


This may be the most endearing and yet the saddest of the bunch. The Novice Teacher enters the classroom with dreams of reaching troubled students, of changing lives through the magic of books and of showing their own parents that you can almost make a living wage with a liberal arts degree. The Novice Teacher leaves the school year sobbing relentlessly, hating the very sound of children’s voices, wondering why teachers are no longer allowed to chloroform students and firmly believing that everyone under the age of 18 should be ejected into space and society should start over, preferably with monkeys or some less smart-mouth primate.


7. The Almost Retiree


Some say with age comes wisdom. Others say with age comes resentment. And a few say that with age comes the belief that you can flunk your entire class for saying the Korean War is still not being fought, if only in the teacher’s head. Unwilling to keep up with current educational methods, current national borders or current politically correct terms for ethnic groups, The Almost Retiree despises the students for showing up, despises the school system for paying him and despises time for continuing its relentless march forward. Alas, outside of getting the sneaky suspicion that he was the one who shot President McKinley, students will learn little from this teacher except for the fact that some people still think women never should have won the right to read.

Which is your least favorite teacher type? Let us know in the comments!

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