Ugh! It’s that time of year again. The smell of firework smoke has not even left the air yet, but there are rows and rows of school supplies in every store, even the grocery store. This time of year always takes me back to the anxiety I felt before school started. As a short, chubby, visibly frightened child going to ghetto-rific schools, I usually stood out. I hated the beginning of each school year, as I knew I would be picked on by a lot of my fellow students.
The only bright side of school was the teachers. Most of them were nice, and went out of their way to encourage me. They told me how intelligent I was, and that I could do great things if I put my mind to it. Most of them were like this. Most. I did have some pretty sucky teachers along the way, though.
When I started high school, I was so excited to take drama class. I had always wanted to act, and I thought I would finally get a chance to learn how. Everyone loved Mr. D, the drama teacher at my high school, but he didn’t love all of his students. On our first or second day in class, he announced that he hated preps, the kids I hung out with. He had his favorites who would hang out back stage with him while the rest of us sat in the auditorium drawing “flats” or doing other nonsense book work. The few times when we actually performed, he was gruff and not very encouraging. I left drama class never wanting to take drama again. I did learn something from Mr. D, though. Years later, when I became a teacher, I remembered to treat my students equally, and to try my best to never intimidate them.
As an English major, I took a lot of creative writing courses. I have always been a writer, from elementary school on. I loved the way writing allowed me to work through problems in life, or create a whole new fantasy world. I was thrilled to have author J.D. as a professor, until I learned he was a terrible teacher. J.D. liked to tell the class that if you didn’t write every day, you weren’t a real writer. He also told me I wasn’t that good and maybe I should consider another career. Just as with my drama teacher, I learned to NOT be like J.D. I guide and encourage my students rather than step on their fragile egos.
I had the creepiest math and science teacher during my two years at McNichol Middle. I have blocked his name out of my head, but I have his face permanently etched in my brain. He was bald with what seemed to be x-ray glasses by the way he seemed to look through girl’s clothes. He was my math teacher in 6th grade, and my science teacher in 7th grade, a particularly rough year for me. It was during science when he got really creepy. He sat me at my own special desk, away from the others, but close to him, and he sent me to get him coffee every day. It was like I was some kind of teacher’s pet/waitress combo. One day, I asked him if he could send someone else to get his coffee. He seemed irked by this. Soon after, my grades went down in science.
Seventh grade must have been the year for scary teachers. My drunk algebra teacher was Mrs. Hannigan scary. She had that same bristly red hair, and she smelled of cigarettes and liquor. I swear she must have had a flask in her desk. I cried more than a few times in her class that year. When I didn’t get a problem right, she would yell at me. Math has always been a foreign language to me. I tried to understand all of the formulas with letters, but they made my head hurt. Just when I thought I finally understood, Mrs. Hannigan would cackle and tell me I was wrong. I ended up failing math that year.
Well, thanks for listening. I haven’t thought about those teachers in a while. I hope I don’t have nightmares about them tonight. So, what about you? What crappy teachers have you known? Have your kids had any disturbing teachers? Do share; just avoid using real names to avoid lawsuits and such.
Disclaimer: I have also had some AWESOME teachers. Like this one: https://lisarpetty.com/2013/06/06/equations-with-the-stubbly-good-witch/