Do We Need Teachers in School?

Mr. Glenn Ames, Assistant Headmaster, Director of the Middle School


Mr. Glenn Ames, Assistant Headmaster, Director of the Middle School

Teachers let us learn more about the world. Teachers are everywhere in our life, and most of the time, our first teachers are our parents.  They teach us how to speak and how to eat.  Then we go to schools–kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school, and college.  Teachers teach us almost everything.

But! Now it’s the twenty-first century; we can learn things on the Internet.  School is just a kind of place for showing we are social and for going to better schools.  Maybe you never think about this question, but do we really need teachers anymore?

We do so many things on the Internet. We can search for things on the Internet, then learn about them, or just let our fathers and mothers teach us what we need to learn about the world.  We can study by ourselves.  If we don’t have teachers, we can learn things the way we like to learn.  If we don’t have teachers, we don’t need to go to school.  We can learn things anywhere, anywhere we like–not just in the classroom.  Any place will be good for learning.  Teachers don’t always know which way to learn is easier for us, which way will keep our interest.  We know what we need. For us, for students, no teachers are a really good idea, right?

What do teachers do? When teachers give us so much homework, we just feel unhappy, no matter how great this teacher does usually. We just say, ‘I don’t like this class.’

Before I wrote this article, I talked to Mr. Ames.  He said, “With technology, so many people say that we don’t need teachers. My belief is that students need teachers to teach them how to learn, especially on the literacy end.  Students need to be taught the basics of reading and writing, and I think teachers are uniquely qualified for that.  When you get to be your age, I think there needs to be less direct instruction.  Once you have a basic understanding, I think our role is to facilitate learning through many different mediums.  So we move from being a teacher who directly instructs to more of a facilitator who sets you up in groups or projects. But still I think teachers need to be the ones to set up the program that makes working together work. I mean just to do your own thing is not productive. But for teachers to say that, hey, this is what we need to learn and give students or groups a task, that’s what teachers’ roles are.  They are giving instruction along with someone to interview or ask for learning, and now the students devise their own paths.  They go about it their way.  No one tells them about that.  They figure it out for themselves.  I think that’s what education is.  Teachers set students up with specific tasks, and students take control of completing those tasks.”

We never think about what teachers do to help us on our projects. For example, one day during the summer, I wanted to study for the SSATs by myself, but when I opened the book, I had no idea where I should start. In school, I do what teachers tell me, but on my own, I sometimes don’t know what to do. Maybe you have also had this kind of experience, and maybe you have your own idea about needing teachers. For me, I think we still need them.  But maybe in the future, when technology and science become better, we won’t need teachers.  We will get all the knowledge we want with new inventions that teach, help us on our projects, and complete our tasks for us.