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  • Writer's pictureRiver Valley Student Editorial Club

Teachers’ pet peeves about students

What actually ticks teachers off?

By: Lim Jing Xiang Jovan

Class: 23J20

Ever wanted to be the perfect student that every teacher adores? You would need to know what your teacher likes and dislikes, i.e. pet peeves—actions that others do that annoy us.

Teachers have to deal with students nearly every day, and every student has different traits: for example, some are more extroverted and talkative, whereas some are more introverted.

Everyone has their own pet peeves, even teachers, but what are the pet peeves different teachers have? Well, we have interviewed some teachers so that you can be the ideal student they dream about this Teachers’ Day!

#1 Ms Jael Tan (History department)

Q: What are some of your pet peeves you have about students? Can be about any aspect, from life to academics.

A: Uh—handwriting. You know sometimes we try to mark your scripts, and then like, marking is already very “sian”, then I still have to try to figure out what you are writing… like, is this a “t” or—it doesn’t make sense!

I don’t know what you're trying to write, so I have to read that sentence like ten times, and then I still don’t get it.

And there are people who cancel, but don’t do it properly—I end up not being sure whether they really cancelled it or not, and I’m still unable to read the thing. Like, I don’t know what [students] are saying.

Q: Ohh so it’s like, you cannot tell between a real cancel or just random scratches?

A: Yeah! —And you know sometimes they do, like, the “carrot” thing and squeeze a lot of things in there. And sometimes they will be like, here* put a lot of things already, then they will go down** here, and they will draw an arrow up… Then I’m just like, where should I go? It’s like I’m in a maze eh hahahaha… Terrible😭

Example of messy handwriting. Source: Griffin Teaching

*refers to the carrots symbol

**writing yet more things somewhere less populated by words

#2 Ms Chitra Jenardhanan (English department)

Q: Hi Ms Chitra, what are your pet peeves?

A: I think the worst is not paying attention. When you don’t pay attention in class, or you’re very distracted, the result of that would be seen in every bit of work that comes in after that.

Let’s say you don’t pay attention. And then either you forget, or you make mistakes. Actually, if you had paid attention, you wouldn’t have made mistakes and because of this, you end up losing marks. Let’s say in comprehension, we tell you not to lift words from the passages into your answers, because if you lift, you lose marks. But then people lift, because they weren’t paying attention when I said don’t lift.

So, that’s my pet peeve: people not paying attention. It's frustrating, because they end up making mistakes that they wouldn’t normally have made. I mean, it’s okay if the mistake has something to do with, for example, not understanding how meritocracy works. I’m okay with something like that because I can explain it to you again. But if, let’s say, we'd already explained it, and then you still make that mistake, then that’s kind of sad, I think, yeah.

I have a lot of pet peeves but that would be my biggest one. In any class, whether it is GP, Math, or Chemistry, I think not paying attention is also really bad because it is disrespectful—the teacher went to a lot of trouble to prepare that lesson. It’s just sad and it’s annoying. Sorry, but yeah.

(This you? 👀)

#3 Mr Nazri Bin Eddy Razali (English department)

Q: What are some of your pet peeves about students?

A: The class being too quiet and passive. GP's about respectful conversations and points of view—can't have that if no one's talking!😪

Q: Could you elaborate on the pet peeve? How quiet do you think is ‘too quiet’? Would you say you would rather have a rowdier class over a quiet class? Would this apply to teaching English Literature?

A: When I find myself monologuing for a bit, I ask a question, and I get total silence for far too many seconds. 😪 I'd rather have a rowdy, engaged class than a class that is just passive.

Q: Actually, it’s quite interesting, because I think for a lot of teachers, their pet peeve is atrocious handwriting.

A: Marking is thirty minutes’ horror, but not as unbearable as three hours of silence weekly!

#4 Mr David Toh (Geography department)

Q: What are some of your pet peeves about students?

A: My pet peeves include unintelligible handwriting, not using paragraphs, and one-word verbal responses.

While it should be a joy reading my students' essays, handwriting and the lack of basic writing conventions make it frustrating and tedious.

As for one-word verbal responses, it peeves me that the other party believes I can read his mind and decipher the rest of what he is trying to say. In the classroom, my favourite phrase seems to be 'yes? what about [insert one word response]?'

#5 Ms Maria Ann Vanderstraaten (English department)

Q: What are your pet peeves about students?

A: It would be when I am in a class and students don’t want to participate in discussions, or answer questions. And I also get very annoyed when I cannot read their handwriting because we give them a lot of reminders but sometimes, I think, our reminders go unheeded.

In conclusion, every teacher has their own pet peeves and we, as students, should lighten their load. After this Teachers’ Day, let’s not make our teachers suffer and put up with those pet peeves they absolutely hate. Let us come together to be the star students that every teacher wants!

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