With course selections just around the corner, some students may be struggling to choose their classes. There are many factors to consider when signing up for courses: What subjects do I want to take? How many Advanced Placement (AP) or honors classes am I taking? Is this class going to be too hard? And, of course, will I have friends in this class? However, the most important factor to consider during course selection is the teacher who is teaching the class.

Teachers can make or break a class. One bad teacher can put a damper on what would otherwise be a great se- mester. When a teacher does not explain the subject well, it can often lead to a lot of unnecessary stress, bad grades and confusion. Some teachers can also create stressful classroom environments. It is safe to say that most Gunn students already have enough stress in their lives, and getting a bad teacher can really take a toll.

Many students choose a class purely for its subject or because it is an honors or AP class and fail to consider the teacher. The drawbacks of having a bad teacher certainly outweigh that one honors class on your transcript. More often than not, AP classes are time consuming, have challenging grading systems and lead to very stressful experiences.

Students should take classes with great teachers even if they are not honors level classes, or they are not really interested in the subject. Most students are not yet sure what they want to study in college, and it is important to explore a wide variety of subjects to see what you are interested in. Teachers can turn subjects you thought you hated into great classes.

A great teacher can also make a significant impact on a student’s life. Having a class with a teacher that you feel comfortable talking to and joking around with in a stress-free environment is crucial in high school. A Review of Educational Research analysis of 46 studies showed that strong teacher-student relationships were associated with higher student academic engagement, attendance and grades, as well as fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions and lower school dropout rates.

So, before you sign up for your classes, make sure to weigh all your options. Teachers are extremely important in the overall experience of classes. So, talk to upperclass- men about potential teachers, or at least look them up on Rate My Professor before signing up for a class.