I recently visited my high school a few weeks ago. There was not a single person I had a conversation with that did not complain about one of the calculus teachers. There was not a single student I talked to that did not ask me: How did you do it? Like how? How do you actually deal with her?

There was not a single student that I didn’t empathize with because just last year I sat in the same seats and faced the same teacher for 10 months.

She was intimidating. I would have rather struggled in the class than ask her for extra help. “You’re an AP class, you’re supposed to understand this.” Umm, OK? She was rude. Left and right she put students on the spot, called them out for their mistakes, made countless students cry.

Nevertheless, the school kept her because her AP students scored high on their exams. They kept her because it benefited them.

But what about the students? What about the fact that tons of students stepped foot into her class terrified of what might happen within the next 60 minutes. What about the fact that students felt relief when the bell finally rang, and they had 24 hours before they had to deal with her again?

People ask me if I miss high school. Teachers and the institutional system that is school is the reason why I don’t.

There were several teachers that I encountered who either

1) hated teaching, therefore making the students miserable or

2) made the class unbearable for the heck of it. In both cases, it was never looking good for the students.

Not for their mental, or emotional well-being. And that’s why I don’t miss high school. I will never understand why it was OK for students to be so emotionally distraught because of teachers, as long as AP scores would be great.

No thanks. I’ll take me being emotionally stable over a 4/5 on an AP score any day. I promise I’m not exaggerating, but it really does blow my mind how some teachers remain in school after years. If students are complaining about the same teachers year after year, then where’s the problem? It’s not me, it’s not the students that came before me, nor is it the ones that came after me.

To anyone who has suffered through or is going through a hell of a teacher, remember that that teacher doesn’t define who you are in any way. That teacher can intimidate you and make you feel like a complete failure, but they don’t even have a glimpse of your greatness. The same day I visited my high school, a senior told me “My parents always told me I’m destined for greatness, so I’m just trying to get through this ridiculous calculus class, so I can prove my greatness. I know I’m destined for greatness.”

We all are.