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?

Sincerely,

Nykole B.


P.S.

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.