Let us pay tribute to those that never bothered to learn our names, and made us feel terrible for asking questions.
To the worst teacher that I have ever had,
Most people might reflect on their past experiences in school and speak poorly on their least favorite teachers. Arguably, it is easier to praise the good teachers, and it is so much more uplifting to remember the impact that some of them had in students' time of struggle, confusion, and utter frustration. As a bad teacher, you probably don't hear "thank you" very often or receive any sort of appreciation for that matter, so please allow me to be one of the few.
Looking back on my time in school, I remember feeling as though you were out to get me, ran too tight of a ship, never tried to relate, and were just downright mean every day. I never looked forward to coming to your class, raising my hand to ask a question seemed like it was an inconvenience to you, and I was always embarrassed to attempt my homework.
The material was confusing, your room was not welcoming, and I truly can not imagine what you look like with a smile on your face. Every day added more discouragement to come back again. At times, fates worse than In-School-Suspension were more tempting than your class.
Yet, as I progress forward in my pursuit of happiness, I cannot help but to often think about how my life has changed over the course of all the classes I have had to take in my life. More importantly, I realize how many real-world scenarios I have been faced with that I may have been more prepared for because of the less-than-desirable teachers I have encountered in my past.
For instance, in most of my adult life so far, I have observed that the real world is practically out to get you and the working class citizens like myself are taken for granted in a lot of ways. Though at an attempt to avoid sounding completely pessimistic about the overarching powers that be, I struggle to imagine how I could have turned out as an employee or an intellectual if every single one of my teachers growing up treated me as though I was a bright and shining star all of the time.
Good teachers, at least as I remember, helped remind me of deadlines and cute sayings to help complete work more efficiently. They were the ones that made life as painless as possible, and maybe even a little enjoyable.
Not you, though. You, the worst teacher I have ever had, never did anything that could have inadvertently made me softer or more naive to the realities that were to find me in the real world. While the good teachers built my confidence, got me excited about learning, and gave me tools to succeed, you gave me exactly what was awaiting me after high school... absolutely nothing.
Something about not knowing what in the world is going on in your class forced me to learn in a way I never knew existed before, and as it turns out, it ended up being the way I needed to be most familiar with. Double-checking everything has proven to be very important in the job force, and developing a "fake it 'til you make it" mentality really might be the most important strength of being an adult.
Your class required me to approach work much like how it is presented to me as a functioning member of society, and neither of us realized that you were actually doing me a favor all along. You, the teacher that never learned my name, ended up preparing me the most for the college administrators that treat me like another number on a spreadsheet and bosses that only care about my productivity in terms of dollars still in the company's pocket.
Your class required me to teach myself the content, sort through the unorganized nature of the lesson "plans", and find patience in your lack of urgency when it came to entering grades. Some people that had you as a teacher might want to curse at you until they are blue in the face (and believe me, back then, I wanted to). Myself, I found the hardships that come with an increase in responsibility as I age have made me grateful for the attitude that I developed while sitting in the most frustrating class of my life.
Believe it or not, one day I hope to actually be a teacher in either a middle school or high school setting. Don't get me wrong, as I prepare myself for future classrooms, I will model a lot of what I do based on all of the amazing teachers that actually helped me through school. Your methods will have absolutely no place in my lessons whatsoever. Nevertheless, I want to pay tribute to you and all of those who made my life harder back then so it could be easier now.
I now see that my students will need the tools to succeed along with the toughness and determination to persevere as well. They deserve encouragement and tough love. You taught me how hard life can be, and that will help me when I find students that may need a gentle reality check like I did.
To the worst teacher that I have ever had... Thank you. Thank you for my reality check at a young age. Thank you for making me tougher. Thank you for doing your job poorly and setting the bar so low for future teachers like me. Thank you for being the worst so I could be the best. Thank you for being the best bad example.
Sincerely, a future teacher