To The Worst Professor Ever

To The Absolute Worst Professor I've Ever Had... Thank You

"Turn your wounds into wisdom."


Dear Worst Professor:

You've taught me something in the 10 weeks we've had class together, and no, it isn't mathematics — God knows you're incapable of doing that. No, you've taught me that I want to be a teacher, more than anything else in this whole wide world because if students are going to have to deal with you, then they'll need people like me to outweigh the inevitable suffering you'll cause.

Thank you for showing me the importance of taking time to get to know each student, ten weeks with you taught me how essential it is to TRY to get to know your students. You write off everyone's questions as if they're incompetent as if we're all just morons. You cut us down whenever you get the chance and I genuinely can't tell if you're even aware of it: it's so ingrained into who you are. I thought that teaching could afford to be a bit hands off, that it is important for students to teach themselves, but you showed me, first-hand, why neither statements are true and why no good teacher should ever hold such beliefs.

Teachers are meant to help students, even when they're at their wit's end, even when it doesn't feel like the student's trying. It is our job to never give up on our students, never to make them feel stupid, never to make them feel like they're failures, and yet you haven't seemed to have gotten this memo.

Thank you for showing me that not every teacher out there is in the profession for the right reasons. I thought that everyone who decides to sign up for the bittersweet fruit that is teaching do it for one of these two reasons:

1) they care deeply about education and helping others or

2) they're extremely passionate about the material they're wanting to teach.

I find myself in between the two of these, but you, Professor, find yourself in some made-up third option where you view teaching as a "challenge" to "test yourself."

As endearing as it is to hear you subtly say that you don't really care about our futures and you don't really care much about mathematics, it's also rather demoralizing. I'm a motivated student, a big chunk of who I am comes down to the fact that education is important to me. I can't possibly imagine what a less motivated person feels in your classroom, or what someone who's been waiting for one last straw before they just call it quits and deem themselves "not college material," when in reality, you're the one who isn't cut out for it.

Thank you for showing me that knowing the material isn't enough to be a competent teacher. This really was the push I needed to stray away from becoming a subject-passionate teacher. I genuinely thought that if I was fluent enough with my school of learning then I'd surely become a fantastic teacher. It's honestly a feloniously silly notion now in hindsight. If I'm incapable of connecting with students, incapable of adapting how I teach the material, and incapable of rewording complicated definitions, then perhaps I'm not doing so hot. You seem to be under the impression that the way you teach is the only way it can ever be learned, you get flustered when student don't just "get it," as though we are discussing basic addition and not college-level mathematics.

You don't take advantage of a single teaching technique. Not. One. You act as though reading verbatim from the powerpoint and sometimes writing on the board is teaching, but it isn't. You brush off the brunt of the work to your TA's, which isn't innately bad, but your communication with them is so abysmal that they're essentially on their own. Your highest class average on tests has never been about 70% and that doesn't alarm you in the least. At no point do you stop and think if maybe you could be improving in some facet.

There are more things I'd love to say, but you're not worth the keystrokes, you're not worth the grey hairs I've acquired, you're not worth the tears I've shed, you're simply not worth more than this article. After this semester I hope we never have to cross paths, not that you'd remember me. You'd have to know me to remember me, wouldn't you?


Nykole B.


Here are some things that are too small to really talk about individually, but should be mentioned anyways: thank you for insulting special needs children, thank you for always forgetting to pass out the attendance sheet and causing everyone to stay after an additional five minutes, thank you for giving your wife (I don't know how you're married) back-handed compliments, thank you for discussing serious illnesses as if they were jokes, thank you for wasting our 50 minutes of in-class time on personal stories, and thank you for being incapable of realizing just how much homework you assign.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.


"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Mourning The Loss

She had no direction and already felt like she had lost herself, anyway.


She wore her heart on her sleeve but covered her innermost feeling with laughs, smiles, and awkward jokes that only some thought were funny at all. She was happy on the outside and this got her to the place where she is now. Faking it till she made it made sense until she realized she didn't know what she was making it to.

Regardless, she was a bright light in the hallways of her grade school filled with small plastic chairs and brown square desks. She acted most days as a clown in the classroom in order for her to get some kind of attention. She worked on Accelerated Math and reading books extensively, and in her free time her studying habits were almost obsessive.

Brianna Gavin

When asked to do anything for anyone, she dropped all of what she was doing to help.

High school came around and after being separated from her best friend going to a different school, she knew this time she really had to reinvent herself. At first, she stayed in the bubble of grade school friends and found it hard to ever speak up about anything.

Brianna Gavin

She kept her mouth shut for the first year of high school and lived in the shadows of her siblings' bad decisions. That first year, teachers even called her "little Gavin".

As sophomore year of high school came around, she met a teacher that would forever change her life and brought her out of the shadow of her siblings past. She was the first teacher in that high school to see her as her own person, different from her family.

After meeting this teacher, she stepped into the role of being a leader. She went to summer leadership camps and became actively involved in the Social Committee of Student Council. She created a service club and became the president. She got over 100 hours of service done each year, went on mission trips, led and spoke her story at retreats, went to every football game dressed UP in the theme, and still had time to get a high GPA.

Brianna Gavin

She was KILLING it.

In the mornings before school started, she sat in her car for five minutes by herself to separate her home life from her school life. She listened to "One Man Can Change The World" by Big Sean and sang the words to herself as she began to put on a mask for the day.

Brianna Gavin

She was sometimes a clown. She'd walk around the hallways and go to class while eating boxes of cereal and constantly made jokes about ANYTHING going on. One thing you could always count on her for was authenticity and hope.

Brianna Gavin

Even at her job teaching kids how to swim, the second she came out in her brightly colored swimsuit, her kids were already there and ready to say hi to her. Kids would make her cards and families constantly asked her to babysit and told her stories of how much their kids loved her.

One day during school, she was awarded with a scholarship called "You Can Count On Me", given to her because of how reliable, dependable, and important she was to all those around her. She remembered the words that were said about her when she received the scholarship and those were the driving force for her to continue helping others and being there for herself.

But then came college. And with the goodbye to all of her friends, family, and popular school life also came the goodbye to herself.

Brianna Gavin

She now became something she didn't want to be anymore. She stayed in her room, struggled extensively with mental illness, and looked in the mirror without knowing what she was looking at. She didn't have many friends and she felt alone most of the time.

With change and loss, she lost herself. She, in a sense, died as soon as her relationships with those close friends and family died. And no matter how hard she tries, she will never be the happy, energetic, inspiring, motivational, giving, faithful, loving person she once was.

The truth she has to share...she is gone.

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