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

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

"Turn your wounds into wisdom."

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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.

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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I Never Wanted To Go To College

I never wanted to go to college, but I stayed because I learned some things along the way - who knew.

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I went because it's what the family expected from me. It's a step towards a successful career path. And obviously because it's a natural progression from high school. But deep down I never wanted to go because I really found no reason to be there.

In my view if you weren't going into traditional career fields, going to college was an expensive long shot. I was also careful to pay attention to all the people that attended college only to work in fields different from what they originally studied.

I was wary but didn't care so I don't put much thought into it. I applied to a handful of schools and attended the one that was more convenient. Once there I found the whole process disheartening.

I relied heavily on financial aid and felt the interaction and choices I was making were more transactional then enriching. It was just like high school again. Go to class take notes, read the book take the test, rinse and repeat until you get the degree.

That was until I fell into a philosophy class that was really challenging. It was challenging in a way that I hadn't been experienced in a while. I was having trouble understanding the material but desperately wanted to learn it. I read books over and over until the concepts were crystal clear. It also helped that I had a teacher who was passionate about the subject as well.

It kind of changed my whole approach to picking classes. Sure I'd visit the advisors and get their take on how to follow the quickest path to graduation. But I also wanted to be intentional with my course selection and take classes where I would learn as much as I could in topics that interested me.

Whether or not they fit my major. That's the only thing that made going to school worth it. Learning topics that change how I approach life and challenged my thinking. Then I was growing intellectually and not just checking boxes for a degree.

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