August 1, 2006

Teachers I Could Blame: Feeding the Blame Beast

After reading California Teacher Guy's take on some harsh words by Linda Chavez, the devil in me realized that if we have inadequate teachers in our classrooms, we only have their teachers to blame. If I'm ever blamed for being inadequate, I think I'll try pointing my finger at my teachers.

Lordy, have I known some crappy teachers! I will not be changing names to protect these foolish educators. They had such an impact on my life that I have forgotten their real names.

My college experience was rife with poor instructors. Toward the end of my long college career I had to take yet another science class (I guess to balance out my liberal arts major?), so I chose metereology. Weather affects us all, right? My friends and I thougtht it might be a fascinating class, but what we found was that Professor Blowhard's nostrils were the most fascinating part of the class. If we showed up late, we'd be stuck sitting in the front row where we had a wide-angled view of, well, everything. How in the world could we be expected to focus with that distraction?

Professor Blowhard had nothing on Mister Principal who taught a series of education history and theory classes to all education majors. He was a nice enough guy, but his delivery was so boring and all that theory was so pointless that I opted to sit in the back row so I could study for my other classes. Strangely, I had the sense that although he could drone on about his own school, he wasn't a good administrator. Yea, like he knew what he was talking about. Whatever.

In high school, I had two really terrible math teachers that made my math experience so awful that I almost backed out of going to college when someone told me I had to take calculus. I was ready to go to beauty school instead. The first math teacher, Mr. Happyhour, had chalk-stained fingers, the worst dandruff ever, and a travel mug of "coffee" that was always nearby. We loved to catch him losing his place in solving problems on the board. Obviously he didn't know what he was doing. I tried to explain that to my mother when it was suggested that I report to his office for extra tutoring, but she just didn't believe me. So, off to tutoring I went. It was rather creepy.

The other teacher, Mr. Mathsnob, never knew my name despite the fact that I had him for two years. What was the freakin' point of trigonometry? He was another one who would miscalculate on the board, but then he'd go back and make changes without explanation which would confuse us all. He also didn't require that we have our homework done until the test date when he would nail us hard if we hadn't done every little graph. I shed a lot of tears trying to figure out all that crap. Not that he would have cared. He was all about catering to the students who understood.

The most irritating teacher I had in high school was Mr. Misogynist. He exiled us girls who used to like English to the back of the room where he ignored us. He then proceeded to favor all the dumb jocks he positioned in the front row. My best friend and I ended up passing notes back and forth while doing our tedious Warner exercises. Hundreds of them. Excercises and notes.

High school was a long time ago for me, and junior high/middle school was even longer. I don't remember most of my teachers, but I do remember Mrs. Stinkybreath had the nerve to place me as the 2nd to last flute in my section. Second to last! It was obviously a personal thing because despite the fact I never stopped forging my practice log, after that year in her band, I was never lower than 3rd chair from the top. Never. Even as a underclassman in high school. I guess it's okay, though, because it was in at the bottom of the flute section where I met my best friend. We learned to deal with being losers by acting like losers. We were driven to it. What can I say?

I suppose it's a miracle that I turned out okay with some of the terrible mentors I have had. They were just so boring, indifferent, and they obviously didn't understand me. It's a miracle I learned anything.

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