Are The Effects of a Bad Teacher Worse For Society Than a Drug Dealer?

We all know that teachers have a huge impact on the lives of their students. They influence their academic performance and impart their values, attitudes, and behavior.

Teachers Have Major Influence on Our Youth

unhappy teacher

Unfortunately, when a teacher underperforms or, worse, treats others poorly, it can be extremely damaging to both individuals and society as a whole.

Opinion: A Bad Teacher Has More Negative Influence Upon Society Than a Drug Dealer. 

old teacher

One user took to the subreddit “unpopular opinions,” saying, “A bad teacher has more negative upon society than a drug dealer.” He went on to explain himself:

“… Take into consideration that drug dealers sell to a very small percentage of the population, whereas teachers are going to impact much more people, teaching hundreds if not thousands of students throughout their entire careers,” the person commented.

Do you agree or disagree with this opinion? We compiled a list of the top-voted responses from other users.

1. You Get What You Pay For

woman teacher picturing something

“Unfortunately, whilst I also agree that a good teacher can make all the difference, a lot of people fail to understand that you get what you pay for,” one user commented.

Being a teacher is tough, with low to moderate pay, limited career advancement opportunities, and having to manage unappreciative students and parents all day. 

2. Parents Are Responsible Too

parent consoling child

“It’s definitely more on sh***y parents or over-enabling parents when it comes to kids than it a bad teacher. Had plenty of bad teachers that I was able to learn from anyways,” another responded.

It is true that poor parenting can have a largely negative influence on a child and their development. You could argue that they have more of an impact on the child.

3. They Can Destroy Your Self-Esteem

teenage boy shutting eyes

One Reddit user wrote about one teacher’s damaging effects on his self-esteem and how the event still plays out in his mind.

This user had a difficult experience in high school with his creative writing teacher. Despite winning local contests, the teacher was unwilling to include any of his work in the end-of-year student project. 

3. They Can Destroy Your Self-Esteem

lonely sad teen boy

When asked for feedback, the teacher shook his head and said that he was not good enough. This experience had an immense negative impact on him, as it killed his passion for writing, and he still struggles with what happened 15 years later.

Stories like these illustrate how a bad teacher’s influence can have such a devastating effect on individuals.

4. We Cannot Ensure Every Teacher is Great

teacher thinking

“Kids have many teachers throughout their school years, and none of those teachers have the kids for more than 20% of their waking hours. Any kid with decent parents will easily overcome a few bad teachers,” one user wrote.

5. It’s Not The Teachers— It’s You

teacher pointing angrily

Some users felt that teachers are blamed too often for the shortcomings of their students when in reality, the student is ultimately responsible for their own behavior and academic performance.

This opinion can be seen in one Reddit user’s comment about how “only so much a teacher can do.” This sentiment was received well in the form of upvotes from others.

6. Stricter Protocol is Needed

teacher checking work

To be able to attract high-quality teachers who are passionate about their work, improved incentives must be put in place, along with stricter requirements for the selection of teaching candidates, some users pointed out.

Steps to improving the quality of teachers could include increasing standards for admission into teaching programs, requiring more classes on child development and classroom management in education degrees, and giving teachers’ professional associations or principals more power to discipline bad teachers.

Additionally, annual performance reviews, merit-based hiring raises, and promotions could help ensure that only the best teachers teach students in classrooms.


teacher scolding

Bad teachers may significantly impact society beyond students who are directly affected by their actions. Poor teaching has the potential to shape societal norms and values in a negative way. 

Does a teacher really have more of a negative impact on society than a drug dealer— what are your thoughts?

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This article is inspired by Reddit and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of TPR Teaching. This post, A Bad Teacher Has More Negative Influence Upon Society Than a Drug Dealer, was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching.

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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