When you hear the word helicopter, you think about a flying object that has a propeller on the top that flies around incircles. Either it’s doing fly over checks or sending someone off to the hospital, either way you can see it and hear it. The same idea goes for a helicopter teacher. A helicopter teacher is a teacher who hovers over their students. This would be like being a safety net for the students so he or she can be there for them whenever they have a question or concern. Kids will never learn if they are just told what to do all day and how to do it everyday. Conn explains this well in his essay called The Rise of the Helicopter Teacher: “It takes two to tango, as the old cliché has it. But the new partners will never learn to dance if the others keep dragging them around the dance floor, doing all the steps for them”.
Students go to class each day to learn and to be taught by the teacher. Students need to be given direction and structure. It is similar to tough love in a way. The teacher wants you to learn and succeed, but you need to do it on your own. So as a student we want to further our learning ability and to do so we need teachers who will help us by giving us the freedom to learn under our own ways, and not having teachers who will “helicopter” us, and to help us learn with traditional learning styles. When I go to class every day I expect my teachers to prepare me for my future as an education major.I expect a teacher to give me the information I need to succeed and to let me go from there, if I have a question they should answer it or help me figure it out no my own. Not hover over us and give us the answers.
Every student needs freedom to be creative and to learn their own way. Teachers can not just stop students from being creative, they need to encourage it. Teacher’s need to help the students learn and understand the material, but when it comes to a writing a paper or a project in class the teacher needs to take a step back and let the students work. Like what my freshman year literature and composition teacher would tell us when we asked a question about a project or an essay. “You are limited by your own creativity” (John Stelz). Teacher should yes be there if the student has questions or concerns about the paper or project, but unless the students comes up to the teacher for help the teacher should not give their input or critique on anything. Unless a student seems to be needing help in class, the teacher doesn’t need to keep running around the room checking on all of the students. Not being a “helicopter” teacher is one of the most important parts of a good education. Teachers need to guide the students in their learning process, not to hover over them and do it all for them.
Learning in a traditional learning environment is very important. The best way to learn is with other students around you. To be able to discuss with others is a very important in today’s education. In my theology class every day after a reading, we discuss in groups our understanding of the reading the night before. I usually go into class having not understood one single part of it. When we discuss it, it helps me to better understand what was going on in the book. My theology professor is a prime example of how not being a helicopter teacher is more beneficial for a student’s education. A traditional learning setting is more beneficial for all students. Discussing in class is more helpful to the students than just not understanding it. My theology professor always says “Discussing with your classmates helps you learn”. I think she makes a very good point when she says this. Everyone thinks differently so everyone comes up with different questions or theories in class and being able to discuss our questions or theories with other students helps us to get a different perspective on the reading or the assignment. Helping us to better understand what we are learning. My theology professor will let us discuss with our classmates what we think the answer is then, she will talk about it and explain to us why and how it’s the right answer. I feel that my theology professor is a great professor and a great example of what it is like to not be a helicopter teacher. For a while now we have been discussing what a helicopter teacher is and not what it is like to not be one. Showing how when a professor is not a helicopter teacher they are actually helping the students be successful in their class. My professor makes us come up with the answers our self or with our peers and classmates. So when it comes to a quiz or exam you are fully aware of what you are supposed to be learning. Which is not being a helicopter teacher.
Sometimes people get confused between what a helicopter teacher really is. Some teachers just may seem like helicopter teachers because they care, but there is a difference. It’s like what my theology professor was talking about in class today. The topic was Borg on love and justice or Borg on reward and requirement. Actually as the professor was going over the lesson I thought about helicopter teachers and non-helicopter teachers. A love and justice teacher is like a helicopter teacher. Those types of teachers just care about your success and on passing the class. So they may not take off extra points on little mistakes. For example, in Spanish class you may forget an accent mark on a word a love and justice teacher would just ignore it and not give you the point off. A reward and requirement teacher would take off the point because it is incorrect answer. A reward and requirement teacher is a non-helicopter teacher. They may seem mean or have more rules and expectations for the class. To those types of teachers your knowledge is the requirement and using it to do well in their class in the reward you receive.
At the end of the day when you are finished with classes and you are doing your homework. You can think about what teachers, if any are helicopter teachers and what teachers seem like they just give you extra work to do are actually helping you. The helicopter teacher’s class may be easy for you and you may have an A in it, but are you actually learning anything from their class or just getting the good grade because they give you room to slack or they give you the answers.