How good are/were your schoolteachers?:

Total posts: [44]
(Since I wrote a huge post and it got thumped. Thank you for thump tag that doesn't erase contents.)

What with the recent discussion about teachers, quality of education, teachers' unions, and related topics (note to mods: yes, this thread can be about that), what do you think of your own teachers?

Let me try to remember my high school teachers, by class:
  • Mike R., health - good. Not the most exciting person of all time, but he taught the material, and he dealt reasonably effectively with a pretty rowdy class.
  • [can't remember first name] N., a subject that was basically home economics - Same as above.
  • Susan S., biology - pretty dedicated teacher who stayed nicely on topic and kept the class focused, but with sprinklings of humor.
  • Jon S., debate - now this guy I didn't like. Yes, he covered content well in class, but outside of class, for mandatory-for-class debate tournament participation, he played favorites, which very much spilled into classroom politics. (Granted, [AC:> politics in a debate class]])
  • Lisa C., mathematics - hard-working, disciplined teacher, always came prepared and dealt effectively with classroom shenanigans.
  • Sandra I., English - somewhat-effective teacher, but had an annoying tendency to revel in a cult of personality around declaring herself "Queen of Evil" and teasing those students who sucked up to her. Not particularly satisfied, though she did definitely start me onto a road of understanding literary devices that has led me eventually to this very site.
  • Robert A., Latin - dedicated, if quirky, teacher, who taught quite effectively (in terms of retention) and whom students quite fondly remember.
  • Abby O., chemistry - dedicated to the subject matter, but somewhat disorganized. Highly motivated, though, and also sponsored school teams to compete in engineering competitions. Credited with sparking my interest in engineering.
  • Robert S., history - good teacher, stayed on topic, and kept students engaged even when the material was somewhat boring, though a bit slow.
  • Luis G., gym - decent, I guess, though there wasn't much to teach in gym; it was more of a supervisory role, to make sure that students used the period for actual exercising—walking circles around the gym at the very least. Somewhat fond of challenging me to chess matches, based on me being the resident (although not the only) nerd in the class.
  • Peter L., mathematics - took a college-like approach to teaching: lectured for first half of class, and left students to their own devices to study, do homework, or goof off for the second half, effectively holding office hours. Seems ineffective, but apparently it worked rather well in terms of test and AP scores. Highly effective at shenanigans control, often humorously pwning the person in question. Very fondly regarded.
  • Gina R., physics - decent, but her quirks were a bit much.
  • Joanne M., English - very nice teacher, and very encouraging of creativity.
  • Kai E., psychology - heavily steeped in quirks and personality, which were very distracting to the class as a whole. Relationship with ex-wife and sons and his dating exploits were interesting the first time only. Ineffective at incubating my interest in the topic; only years later did I realize I was interested in psychology.
  • Dirk G., physics - not particularly engaging or charismatic, but effective at teaching the material, disciplined and dedicated.
  • Michael Y., government and economics - again very focused on his personality, and lots of quirks. He did try to teach the material, but failed to incubate my interest in economics, which I also only discovered years later. (Was already interested in government, but he didn't add much to my interest.)
  • Michelle S., American history - fast lecturer, but between her speaking style and the subject matter, highly engaging. I credit her (and George W. Bush) with getting me interested in U.S. history and politics.
  • Al M., European history - basically taught like a college professor, with a period-long lecture requiring reasonably fast note-taking. Quite effective, though, and quite fondly remembered.
  • [I forget first name] M., Latin - distance-learning teacher for our small class of eight, when our school refused to let Robert A. (mentioned above) spend one class slot teaching it. Did what she could, though the distance learning setup was not conducive to concentration (nor are high school juniors and seniors). Reasonably effective at teaching.
  • [I forget the name], AP Biology lab component - class was hosted at a local community college, so this doesn't count.

I'm probably missing a few, but out of the nineteen high school teachers I've listed, there are only four which I was notably dissatisfied with, and of them I'd only say three ought to improve their teaching styles.

FYI this was all at a public school.

edited 25th Feb '11 4:31:00 PM by GlennMagusHarvey

It Just Bugs Me! - a place to discuss media, real life, and other topics.
2 storyyeller25th Feb 2011 11:07:09 AM from Appleloosa , Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
Most of my teachers were pretty good. There were only two or three that made me wish I had a different teacher.

An interesting case is my math teacher. She's very forceful, and pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the advanced math program at my school. (For example, my senior year, she had a class created specifically for me so that I could study Linear Algebra and Diff Eq). She's so busy with the administrative stuff that she barely ever actually teaches, but people in the advanced math classes are assumed to be smart enough to learn it themselves anyway.
Life is simple: it has no nontrivial normal subgroups.
I think most of my teachers were pretty good. One exception that sticks in the mind is my English teacher at high school, not because she was incompetent, but because she always made us read books/plays that were about/could be interpreted as being about prejudice, preferably racial, so she could hammer home how bad it was. We got The Merchant of Venice (anti-Semitism), To Kill A Mockingbird (racism), Of Mice and Men (prejudice against mentally handicapped guy... the place practically rang to the clatter of dropped anvils. After two years, most of the class were probably more prejudiced than when she started.

@Glenn Magus Harvey - that's a very...comprehensive list. Have you considered a career as a school inspector?

edited 25th Feb '11 11:15:53 AM by Captainbrass

"Well, it's a lifestyle."
4 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 11:14:45 AM from Viridian Forest
Most of my teachers in grade school and later on teachers and profs in core subjects like English, math, etc. were mediocre with good moments. Sixth grade was pretty much the worst I've ever seen. Had two math teachers in high school that were unbelievably awesome, and two in college that were horrible. One physics teacher in college who was unbelievably awesome, one the next year that was horrible.

Mostly my best teachers were in the arts, and the ones in general-ed and low-level required subjects outwardly didn't give a shit and looked like they thought it was as much of a waste of oxygen as we did.

edited 25th Feb '11 11:15:04 AM by Pykrete

5 Madrugada25th Feb 2011 12:19:42 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I had one ineffective math teacher, and he was ineffective because he was teaching in a grade school when he should have been teaching AP math in high school or college-level math. It wasn't that he didn't know his subject; it was that he simply couldn't dial his teaching down to an appropriate knowledge level for 12- and 13-year-olds.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
6 JHM25th Feb 2011 12:37:52 PM from Neither Here Nor There , Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
I had quite a few good or above-average teachers, a small number of truly excellent ones, and a handful of mediocre to unspeakably terrible ones.

Of the great ones, I'll give just a few:

  • 2nd grade (first half), general. A really wonderful woman. We talk now and then.
  • 4th grade, general. Intelligent, good-natured and an exceptional educator.
  • 9th grade, English. Generally cool on multiple levels. Big fan of group discussion, which I love.
  • 10th grade, European history. Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire. Very informative and funny.
  • 12th grade, physics. A genuinely good man with total mastery of the Jerkass Façade.

On the opposite end:

  • 2nd grade (second half), general. Having a bad year does not excuse terrifying your students.
  • 8th grade, mathematics. The resulting incident is the stuff of legend. I almost wish I'd hit him.
  • 8th grade, academic support. Mind-bogglingly unintelligent and annoying.
  • 9th grade, phys ed. A sadistic, self-satisfied prick. Nothing more need be said of him. Ever.

edited 25th Feb '11 12:38:54 PM by JHM

I've had a lot of really good teachers and one... um, teacher.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
8 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 12:53:52 PM from Viridian Forest
My sixth grade teacher tried to teach the class the area of a circle was πr*2 instead of πr2. When called out on it by two of the smarter kids, she tried to fight them to save face and was eventually forced to admit she didn't know what exponents were.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
10 Tzetze25th Feb 2011 12:57:11 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Ranges from fine to awesome, with a few exceptions, like my high school law teacher who miused statistics something terrible to prove a point that wasn't even related to the class, and my data structures Java professor this year who shows us code in Microsoft Word.
11 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 01:00:18 PM from Viridian Forest

Tell me he at least puts it in System font so thiings line up correctly...right?
12 Tzetze25th Feb 2011 01:03:57 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Generally... the more annoying issue is not figuring out how to let us turn in homework online until two weeks into class... and making syntax errors in examples constantly... and not knowing how to deal with constructor inheritance... I really don't like that class.
13 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 01:05:59 PM from Viridian Forest
How the hell do you screw up constructor inheritance in Java? I mean you either use super() and then do the extra stuff, or you don't and do everything from scratch.
14 Tzetze25th Feb 2011 01:08:38 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
She didn't realize that the parent class's constructor took arguments. She kind of looked over my shoulder for a few minutes, occasionally asking me to flip between the relevant files, until I figured it out myself. It was more annoying than anything.

I think. It was a while ago.

edited 25th Feb '11 1:08:54 PM by Tzetze

15 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 01:10:09 PM from Viridian Forest
16 Tzetze25th Feb 2011 01:14:44 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Like I said.

As long as I'm complaining about computer classes, my intro to programming class last year was an interesting case. The professor was quite smart, but his specialty was in low-level programming (C, assembly, even transistors) and they had him teaching a class in Python, which he didn't have the best handle on. Sort of a What Could Have Been thing.
They see me troll'n
The best

  • Capovilla, engaging man with a penchant for humor.
  • Carter, ADHD practically always tripping balls, always a good laugh with him.
  • Halverson, bubbly, easy going and very attentive.
  • Cavanaugh, intelligent, informative, takes discussion to a higher level.
  • Cranall, decent guy, let me play minesweeper after finishing work.
  • Posner, very sociable, thoughtful, and kind.

The worst.

  • Frau Wilson, stereotypical german; hard ass and full of holocaust guilt.
  • Thomson, unintelligent about subject, soft voice doesn't carry back to class, poor class control skills. I got a C in her class solely because of her incompetence. I aced the final.
  • Mc Hugh, pervy wanker.
  • Bennet, poor teaching skills, very inattentive.
  • Theis, health ed teacher, self righteous, morally holier then thou
  • Taylor, hard ass, unhelpful, showed blatant favoritism, nicknamed "Art Nazi"

edited 25th Feb '11 1:35:56 PM by CommandoDude

18 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 01:40:43 PM from Viridian Forest
I had this guy once. I'm honestly not surprised to see the one obvious sockpuppet rating, I wouldn't put it past him.
19 LoniJay25th Feb 2011 03:16:11 PM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
My teachers were pretty good in general. I had, let's see, which ones were memorable?

My drama teacher was pretty cool. He told me I'd never make a good actress because I have, quote, "A natural reserve". Generally pretty funny and lively. Favourite saying was "Do (X) or I'll rip your arm off and beat you to death with the soggy end!" Known for atrocious puns. All in all good for drama, but I'm not sure I'd want him for a more serious subject.

Biology teacher was polarising. Some people loathed him, I thought he was OK. He was a bit slapdash though.

I had the same problem with anvil-dropping literature, except in our case it was drugs. And alcohol. Just once can we do a nice play that isn't 'meaningful'?

edited 25th Feb '11 3:16:30 PM by LoniJay

Be not afraid...
20 Acebrock25th Feb 2011 03:26:50 PM from So-Cal , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Most of my teachers were good, so I'll just describe the bad:

5th grade teacher was so emotionally abusive he got fired halfway through the school year

A few middle school teachers had no clue how to teach a class.

and I had one high school teacher who seemed intent on making everyone fail.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
Well, apparently, every work of major literary merit has to involve lots of people talking about its metaphorical meanings. Societal commentaries, insights into human psychology, development of gender roles and characterizations, and more.

My English teacher, well specially the one who self-styled as "Queen of Evil", chose to enjoy pointing out how things had to do with sex.

I remember flaming (politely) that idea in the essay assignment on whether Hamlet has an Oedipus Complex, in which I effectively called the notion bull, and said that his actions were justified by the rest of the setting details and backstory.
It Just Bugs Me! - a place to discuss media, real life, and other topics.
22 lordGacek25th Feb 2011 03:35:59 PM from Kansas of Europe
I've had quite a plenty of colourful characters at my high. At least a couple cases of Cool Old Guy, one who was said that a girl could raise her marks by dressing sexy, and physics teacher who was some kind of cross between a Hell's Angel, New-Age Retro Hippie and Albert Einstein.
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
23 Pykrete25th Feb 2011 03:37:06 PM from Viridian Forest
I think someone in my class tried to show that everyone in one of our books was symbolic of Jesus. Wish I could remember which.
^ I think that many of us can credit our presence on this site to our English teachers.

physics teacher who was some kind of cross between a Hell's Angel, New Age Retro Hippie and Albert Einstein.

Epic win?
It Just Bugs Me! - a place to discuss media, real life, and other topics.
Moments Like Ghosts
Most of my high school teachers were above average. Many were awesome. Then there are those who missed the mark...

3 Best
  • Theatre/Shakespeare: Witty and entertaining, but had really high standards and low tolerance for slackers and rude people.
  • Pre-AP US History: Fun, entertaining, lectures. We derailed a lot because he would answer any questions we asked if they were loosely related to whatever we were discussing. We didn't just learn about the political aspects of history but also cultural developments. He made learning even the Industrial Revolution fun, and I've always hated learning about the Industrial Revolution.
  • Pre-AP English: Pretty cool guy, taught us how to decipher even the most complicated texts.

2 Worst
  • Freshman World History teacher: You're supposed to be teaching WORLD HISTORY, not why green energy is the way to go and why x politician or y corporation is evil because they ruin the environment. Made us watch that boring slideshow called An Inconvenient Truth. Had to drop at least one global warming anvil a day. The only useful thing was that all-too-brief unit of Revolutions (American, French, Russian, Haitian, etc).
  • Freshman English: I don't think I learned anything this year. The assigned books were so boring that I skimmed them or used Spark Notes, which is something that rarely happens. Yeah, her book choices were that bad. At least we got a lot of free reading time.

edited 25th Feb '11 3:48:00 PM by apassingthought

Total posts: 44