Approximately two weeks before school begins, students wait with great anticipation for their schedules. However, when they are finally released, they are often met with mixed reactions: “Nice, I have Mr. Somebody, who grades generously!” or “Ugh, I have Ms. Someone. I heard that she never curves tests, even when no one does well.” Many students start judging their teachers from what others have said about them, even before attending one of their classes or talking to them in person. Some students request schedule changes in order to switch teachers because of the unpleasant rumors they heard about them. What students don’t usually realize, though, is that teaching and learning styles vary widely, and the teacher they initially dreaded might turn out to be the best teacher they ever had; therefore, students should not switch teachers just because of rumors.

“But wait, if everyone I have talked to said that they disliked the teacher, isn’t that saying something?” Yes, it may reflect that his or her teaching style wasn‘t the best method for those students, but that doesn’t imply that the teacher is terrible and provides subpar learning experiences. Based on the Academy’s hiring system, those who lack teaching skills would not have been hired in the first place. And even if they had been, student evaluations would ideally have provided enough constructive criticism to help tweak their methods and teaching styles.

Moreover, changing schedules just because a student has a teacher that’s known to assign a lot of work would display his or her poor character as someone who takes the easy way out. Students come to school to learn, not to cruise along without having to overcome minor obstacles in their academic paths. This kind of attitude detracts from their qualities as good students. It also suggests that they lack the maturity, will, perseverance, and diligence to handle a designated course load.

Students, therefore, should make sure during the two weeks of choosing classes in January that they are confident about the courses they want to enroll in. If someone wants an easy A, then he or she should sign up for relatively less challenging classes, such as non-AP courses. Although students can hope to be assigned to a certain teacher, they shouldn’t seek to have “easier” graders.

Often, surviving a year with a teacher known to be demanding will give a greater feeling of accomplishment. Moreover, it better prepares students for finals, AP exams, and the subsequent school year. Even though it may feel like the world is ending when students find out that they are assigned to rigorous teachers, they should think of it positively and as an opportunity to test their abilities and to grow as learners.

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