Point/Counterpoint: Is changing teachers every semester beneficial or convenient?

When+students+returned+to+school+for+the+second+semester%2C+many+of+them+had+to+deal+with+brand+new+schedules.+These+new+schedules+included+both+new+class+times+and+new+teachers%2C+and+students+disagree+on+whether+these+schedule+switches+are+actually+beneficial.

Photo courtesy of Sophia Meytin

When students returned to school for the second semester, many of them had to deal with brand new schedules. These new schedules included both new class times and new teachers, and students disagree on whether these schedule switches are actually beneficial.

Point – Nour

Every semester, there is this moment of truth when students receive their schedules and finally find out with which teachers they are about to spend the next few months.

Switching teachers can actually be beneficial to students. For example, I am taking AP Language right now and had different teachers both semesters. I was warned before that the teacher I have now gives much more work and is a tough grader, but I find that I now enjoy the extra assignments. I genuinely enjoy English class, and I would not mind doing more English homework.

Changing teachers is also good for the long-term. In the real world, when a boss or a co-worker is tough and difficult to work with you can’t go to your counselor and remove them from your life. You have to deal with them and this is good preparation for it.

Switching teachers also helps break up the school year when it starts to get boring. Teachers who teach the same sections and classes teach in completely different ways. Some have artistic slides and give guided notes, while others just stand there and give lectures while you try to jot down some notes. But with the semester schedule change, you can explore different teaching styles and see which works best for you. Again in the real world, you have to get used to everyone’s style.

While it’s true that sometimes when you switch, you get to leave a good teacher, other times you might escape a not-so-nice teacher. Especially in AP and English classes, you write a lot and your grades can really shift depending on the teacher. Some teachers are such tough graders, and if you do not have them next semester, then it is a blessing.

Online school was made so hard last year because of a lack in those first and last five minutes of class where you got the most time and opportunity to make a connection with a teacher. It should not take more than a semester to make a connection with a teacher you like.

Counterpoint – Annabella

There aren’t a lot of things that I miss about middle school. There were less class choices, shorter lunches—the list goes on. But if there’s one thing I wish was carried over from middle school to high school, it would be the year-long class schedules: getting to keep your teachers for the entire year, instead of potentially switching after the first semester.

For one thing, when you switch teachers every semester, it’s harder to develop relationships with them. I’m someone who doesn’t like to be just a face in the crowd to my teachers: I like getting to know them and in return, being someone that they know. It’s a lot harder to accomplish this when you switch teachers every semester. Just when you feel like you’ve gotten to know them (as well as their teaching and grading style), you may need to completely start over again with a brand new teacher.

Keeping your teachers for the whole year also has a more practical plus: when you’re a junior, it’s a lot easier to find teachers who will write good recommendation letters for college. The more that teachers get to know you, the better their recommendation letters will be, since it can be tailored more to what they’ve learned about you in the classroom. If you have a teacher you really liked in the first semester, and you want them to write one of your recommendation letters, what happens when you switch over in the second semester? By the time that teacher gets around to writing your recommendation letter, you’ll have been out of their classroom for at least a couple of months. They might not remember as much about you and, consequently, the letter they write for you might not be as strong.

Of course, some people might argue that switching teachers enables you to escape teachers whose style might be…less than ideal. But the flip side to this is that if you really like a teacher you have in the first semester, you risk having to leave them and being in a less enjoyable class. Although I know my experience probably doesn’t reflect everyone’s, I’ve always liked the teachers I’ve had in the first semester, and I’ve always been disappointed if I’ve had to switch during the second semester.

Switching teachers might be typical in MCPS, but just because something is the “standard” doesn’t mean it’s beneficial. Let’s think practically, and let’s start sticking to yearly schedules

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