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What makes a good class?

You do not want this seat in class.

There is sort of a checklist in my mind that creates an enjoyable class for me. The first is the actual course material. While I genuinely enjoy learning, STEM subjects do not appeal to me as much as the social sciences and other writing heavy classes. As such, my course schedule is dominated by these classes which I find engaging.

The teacher is the second largest factor in determining my enjoyment. What kind of atmosphere do they create in the classroom? How is their personality? Are they easy to find/reach in times of joy or distress? And most importantly, am I entirely convinced that they truly want me to succeed? By succeed, I do not mean in terms of grades. What I mean in terms of success is whether they make it clear to me and all of the other students that they want us to achieve our goals and that they will do their best to help us get there?

Some teachers at the school make the answers to these questions clear. You know where you stand with them at all times and they are willing to be caring and supporting while also holding you accountable to the standards that they know you are able to reach. Unfortunately, there are also those teachers who do not strive to make it clear where and how one can improve. Their principal goal seems to be to get their students scores that will make them look good. They create an aura of unpredictability around them, which leaves students unsure what type of person they will get when they walk into a classroom on any given day. Will they be supporting or harsh? Strict or just plain cruel? I understand that I am offering a very bleak outlook on the state of teaching at Freedom. I assure you that this school has great talent on its faculty, but there are bad apples that should be addressed.

The next factor of what makes an enjoyable class would have to be the people that make up the class. School is at its core a social atmosphere, which provides an opportunity to have fun engaging with others while learning. It also allows me to experience a variety of opinions that I would not otherwise experience if I was not in school. Even though I would likely experience these diverse opinions in college, having access to them at an early age, in my opinion, makes me a more open-minded person.

The last factor that I consider is the atmosphere of the class – the vibe. It is essentially how all of the previously explained factors interact with each other. How do I and other students feel walking into the class? This is the most difficult factor to quantify. The teacher can be less than exemplary and I can still be excited to go to the class. Maybe because of the course material, perhaps because of the interesting people in the class.

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