A classroom setting is like a delicate chemical process. Different elements are introduced, matter is transferred and transformed, and the ideal is a constant equilibrium. But sometimes, that equilibrium is compromised—times when the temperature rises and there is an explosion. In those moments, the learning process is impeded upon or inhibited.
One important element of the classroom formula is a student’s relationship with their teachers. And once a student has a conflict with a teacher, a learning inhibitor is introduced. Then, the chemical process ceases and the student feels as though leaving the incubator or dropping the class is their only option.
A friend of mine, who we’ll call Mathilda, recently found herself in an AP Calculus class with a teacher whose classroom style made her cringe. One month into the class, she found herself at her guidance counselor’s office pleading to have the class dropped, but she learned she couldn’t switch. Instead, she found herself stuck in an inhibitor loop.
What should students do in this situation, where you and the teacher fail to bond? Someone wise once told me, “It is up to the teacher to teach but also to the student to learn.” If a student encounters such an inhibitor as a distaste for a teacher’s teaching style, then the only solution would be for the student to find other ways to learn the material. In other words, take the initiative and add a catalyst.
In the case of my friend Mathilda, her steps might look something like the following:
- Step 1: she could meet with the teacher and try to establish a form of resolution and plan to move forward. That might be after-school tutoring sessions or alternatives to the classroom setting, such as a virtual classroom.
- Step 2: she could find another teacher who is educated in the subject matter to help tutor he in processes.
- Step 3: she could create a study guide from different sources to cover any topics she still does not understand. There are excellent resources out there such as Khan Academy. Khan Academy has videos and practice problems. Or there’s surfing YouTube for videos on channels such as TutorGuy as a viable option.
My last piece of advice? Take control of your own learning. If at any point in time a learning inhibitor is introduced, take the initiative to make things better. When all said and done, be sure that you have given it your all, that you’ve also learned all you could have. A student’s life is filled with trials, do not let the trials inhibit your learning. Catalyze the process