You are currently viewing Op-ed: Master teachers are comedians |  News, Sports, Jobs

Op-ed: Master teachers are comedians | News, Sports, Jobs

As I neared the end of my K12 career, a first-grade math teacher told me that students always behaved better for male teachers.

I informed her that some of the toughest teachers I encountered as a student were women. One in particular came to mind, Miss Roger, my English 12 teacher in high school.

I then began to tell the young teacher about my experiences as a student under Miss Roger’s rule. We were about 30 students in Miss Roger’s class, made up mostly of athletes – soccer players and wrestlers.

Miss Roger was of very small physical stature, standing less than five feet. To us, she looked 100 years old. But his most dominant feature was his eyes. Miss Roger could stare at a grizzly, making it moan in fear.

We were afraid of Miss Roger. When she was teaching, nothing was heard but her booming voice. You’ve never seen so many burly football players and wrestlers cower when she glared at us. One of his most famous commissions was “Don’t raise your flags!” I will call on you in due time. We had no choice but to learn in his class, and we certainly did. Strict classroom discipline is a powerful motivator for students.

A decade later, Miss Roger attended our class reunion. With a twinkle in her eye, she told us ex-athletes, “I was quite an actress, wasn’t I? »

We worshiped her. As with all exceptional teachers, what was once apprehension turned into respect for Miss Roger as we grew into adults.

After Miss Roger’s story, I advised the young teacher to do the same from the start. Be an actress.

She listened to my advice and today she is one of the best teachers in the school system.


One of William Shakespeare’s famous quotes in Hamlet is “I must be cruel, only be kind.”

The most powerful motivator in human nature is “to fear.” Individuals have accomplished great feats when fear was involved. So what does this have to do with the K12 class?

Since liberal education leaders virtually eliminated corporal punishment in our schools, student behavior has steadily declined over the decades. We’ve seen the arrival of students selling controlled substances in hallways, bringing guns onto school grounds — and much, much deadlier atrocities in recent years.

And why is that? Students are not afraid of the consequences. They don’t care about detention and suspension. And we know that school counseling has not succeeded since the same students continue to disrupt the classroom throughout the year.

No wonder there is a shortage of young teachers in our country. Who would want to work in such a chaotic environment?

I believe that future liberal powers in education meant well instituting the above strategies. But their lenient tactics failed miserably. Their softer approach to student discipline reminds me of an old proverb: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


Let’s take a trip back in time. Remember the “The principal’s paddle.” At the start of the school year, the principal rowed out the worst student-offenders.

He would then hang the paddle on the wall behind his desk for everyone to see.

We feared the paddle, behaved in school and learned in the classroom.

Contrary to what some naive people believe, fear can most certainly produce very positive results by eliminating negative behaviors. This must have been the case for us, former students of the years spent at the school.

Our teachers demonstrated their affection by caring enough for us to teach us in structured classrooms where learning happened. As adults, we treasured their “tough love” approach, and I felt very fortunate to have been under their care as K-12 students.


I don’t have the clout to change the current liberal agenda in our schools, being a retired K12 teacher. But I have a compromise for Liberals to help our future teachers be strong, assertive leaders in their classrooms – the inclusion of “Drama Class” in the teacher preparation program.

A teacher must first control the classroom if student learning is to occur in the K12 environment. Acting classes can offer future teachers “acting” techniques and strategies for asserting oneself in the classroom. Once students realize that the teacher is responsible, they begin to listen and learn.


As a teacher, I led a “watertight ship.” The students knew who “chief” was in my class. I played the role of an austere educator. If the students really knew how much I cared for them, they would have run after me.

My rules were pretty simple: “No talk, no chewing gum.” Too many rules only confuse students. Once my rules were established in class, the students had “fun.” My teaching philosophy was: “Be firm. Be fair. Be consistent. Be humorous.

Looking back, I guess I was a “teacher-facilitator” on the classroom stage.


Bill Welker, EdD, has taught at all levels during his K12 career, teaching at schools in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as other public and private schools during his 40 years in the business. education. He was an assistant instructor at the university level. Welker has published over 20 scientific articles in various educational journals. He also published The Literacy Handbook, which was distributed to schools in eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia. Welker was selected as “Teacher of the Year” by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. He also received the “Jasper N. Deahl Award” by West Virginia University for his achievements as a Certified Reading Specialist.

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox

Leave a Reply