Teaching over Their Heads

It seems to be a common complaint among some students that the teachers do not teach on the level that is needed. It is often said that the teacher may teach “over the students’ heads”. This phrase is particularly common when discussing high school and college level courses.

So what does it mean for a teacher to teach over the heads of the students?

When one uses this phrase, it means that the teacher is not giving good explanations of the material that is being taught. It does not mean that the teacher is not knowledgeable or qualified in the content area which he or she is teaching. Actually it is usually the right opposite.

In many cases, the teacher is so educated in the subject area that it is hard for him or her to understand people who do not see things as clearly. It is difficult to move down to a lower level of thinking such as that of the students. The teacher may have trouble simplifying the terms so that others can easily understand them.

This I think is a very natural and common among people. Just because you are knowledgeable and educated in a particular subject does not mean that you can teach a subject well. Teaching is a skill and an art in itself. It takes much more than knowing the material. Teaching requires the ability to put the info into terms that others can easily understand. This can be difficult for some people.

For example I have always admitted that my favorite and best subject is math. I am good with mathematical reasoning and I have a master’s degree in math. However, over the years I have found that I enjoy doing math much more than teaching it. Because logical reasoning comes more natural for me, it can become difficult for me to understand why others do not see things the same way that I do.

I enjoy teaching reading and science much more because I feel that I am also learning as I teach.

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