In everyone's academic career you have those teachers that inspire us and those that aren't that great. Then There are those teachers that are so horrible it almost scars us for life. These teachers should have retired or been fired after their first day, but by some stroke of luck, they have managed to keep their jobs. The people in the following stories had to deal with the worst teachers you can imagine.
My worst teacher was by far Mrs. Birt. She was my second-grade teacher. She was a wonderful sort of women that would slap a student if they didn't read fluently enough. She enjoyed throwing pencils and books at students if they needed help more than once.
One fine day when reading an excerpt regarding an owl's nocturnal nature I, as young children do, began to fumble and get the words tangled. SMACK!!
I went home that day and told my mother. Come to find out, my mother and her sister had the same teacher when they were young. My mother told me Mrs. Birt locked my aunt in a closet because she had to go to the restroom. Birt left her in there all day. She was fired shortly after doing that to my aunt, but in time, managed to get herself back in the school system. A leopard never changes its spots and neither did she.
My mother did go to the school and file a statement and she was suspended. I fear Mrs. Birt is still teaching in Lynton, IA."
"My eighth-grade physics teacher Mrs. Hema had just gotten fired for incompetence from a local school where she taught Hindi for elementary kids. For some mysterious reason, our principal thought she was qualified to teach high school physics and recruited her.
The first day of school, I asked her a question at the end of the class. She evaded the answer and asked me to wait until after class. After the others had left, she told me, 'I have heard about you. You are obviously smart and are here to study. But you know half the students are here because their parents send them. So, if you ask questions, it will give them ideas and they will start asking questions too. We wouldn't want that, would we? If you have any questions you can ask me after the class.'
The next week, she mysteriously told the class to silently read through material from the last class. While everybody was busy with this, she came to my desk and asked me, 'Can you prove that the radius of the earth is such-and-such?' (The textbook had glossed over the calculation by saying it was fairly easy to see how from such-and-such formula, the radius of the earth can be calculated.) I thought she was testing my knowledge, so I whipped out a white paper and did the calculation. With a puzzled look, she asked but how did I arrive at this intermediate number. Slightly wary, I added the mental math to the paper. Then she asked me if she could have that piece of paper. It sunk in at that moment. She wasn't testing me. She genuinely didn't know!
Once she was teaching a chapter on Environmental Pollution. She read aloud through a paragraph from the textbook that had a little too many compound sentences for her comfort. It went something like, 'The ever-increasing emissions of CO2 pose a threat to the Ozone layer that filters out harmful UV rays. Scientists are working towards controlling this phenomenon.' She reached the end of this paragraph, but she didn't understand. She read through it again. This time she got it! She turned her attention to the class, 'Ah. The Ozone layer is harmful to the earth. So they removed it.'
I stood up and asked, 'But Miss, who removed it?'
With an annoyed look on her face, she said this, and I kid you not, 'We didn't remove it. Scientists removed it.' At that moment I lost it and broke into laughter. She threw the textbook and ran away sobbing.
After she had gone crying to the principal's office, the physics teacher was sent home that day. The principal dragged me to his room and pinned me to the wall shouting, 'Where am I supposed to find new physics teachers every year if you keep scaring all of them away?' (Guilty as charged!) I told him that I tried really hard this time until she taught about the scientists' secret plan to remove the Ozone layer. He took a while to digest it all and promised to do what he could. Apparently, the principal had given the teacher a full year's contract when she was hired and she couldn't be fired unless she resigned on her own. So she was given the option of quitting honorably but she stuck to her rights. In a bid to smoke her out, the principal told her she could come to the class every day but she couldn't teach anything. Another teacher would be contracted to teach us physics during special hours early in the morning. She accepted the challenge! The rest of the year was awkward. She would come to class punctually, sit on her chair and scowl at me for an entire hour for ruining her career. That was fun."
"The worst teacher I've ever come across was when I was a 15-year-old teen struggling with an evil force called 'math'. While I sucked at pretty much everything math related, Algebra was my main nemesis at the time.
After failing my math courses a million times, I decided to get tutored by a really well-known math teacher at our school, she was usually responsible for setting the exam papers and I'd heard from my sister (who was her student) that she gave her students a lot of hints about what would come for the exam.
So I decided to call her and ask her to tutor me. Immediately after which she asked me how much I usually score in math. I told her honestly about my pathetic grades. This was followed by a very awkward silence. Then she very abruptly told me that she does not teach 'students who score really low'.
I was confused. I mean, DID I JUST GET DISCRIMINATED ON THE BASIS OF MY IQ LEVEL? Not knowing what to say, I then told her that my sister recommended her, to which she fake gasped and couldn't believe my sister was MY SISTER (she was a smart student). Then Miss wannabe Stephen Hawking decided to 'bestow a great honor upon me' and decided to tutor me considering my sister was in her classes.
Little did I know that her class would give me one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
I went to her classes, only to realize that she was speeding through the course material. The discrimination now made sense, students like me who actually needed tutoring would be utterly lost like I was at that point. I then meekly asked her to repeat her explanation to which she retorted a rude, 'NO.' Unfortunately, that was not the end of my misery.
She then told me in front of everyone to solve the sum which she knew I did not understand. Mustering some courage I tried to solve the problem, and at one point I got so panicky that I fumbled with some basic calculations to which she arrogantly said in front of the whole class, 'Look at her, she doesn't even know kindergarten level stuff!'
Suffice to say, the class ended with tears flowing down my cheeks. I felt humiliated and insulted. Very obviously, that was my last tutoring session in that class with that evil teacher."
"Without a doubt, my absolute worst teacher was my 8th-grade biology teacher. He was the football coach and that's obviously what he preferred to be doing. Our classroom had 2 chalkboards with a sliding chalkboard on top. In the same space as 2 chalkboards, we had 3. Every day, I literally mean EVERY SINGLE DAY, we walked into the room with 2 of the chalkboards completely crammed with notes. We were told to copy the notes. About halfway through the class, he slid the top board over to reveal the 3rd board filled with notes. Other than telling us to take notes, he never spoke during the class. What did he do while we took notes? He played a handheld football game.
I hated this class! Although I had an 8th grade teacher that made physics fun, and a 7th grade teacher that made me look forward to his mechanical science class, this was the last year I ever purposely took any science class.
Prior to this class, I was basically an A student. The only class I could never seem to get an A in was PE (I've NEVER been athletic or even coordinated). At least I tried very hard and pulled a B every year. Oh, but not this class. I was earning my first C and in tears. I begged my parents to help me. Wanting to support the teachers and still help me, about midway through the class my mom made an appointment with this teacher to try to figure out what was going on and see what I could do to improve. His response? 'She's fine - she's earning a C.' He actually refused to help!"
"I had a teacher who was so weird. He would bring knives with him to school, an egg, and he would hit students a lot.
One day he came to school, took his knife out of his pocket. People started watching him making a circle around him to see what he was about to do.
So he put it up to his neck and tried to cut it while saying, 'See how strong my neck is.' He is pressing the knife really hard against his neck but nothing would happen.
One day he brought a rock shaped as an egg, and he was telling us his family had a farm somewhere and they had chickens, and those eggs were there and one day a volcano blew up and the lava fell down on the farm and the eggs turned into this rock (pure lies).
Once he even hit me on my neck from behind, I went to the principal's office told him to complain and he said, 'We can't dismiss him. He is crazy but don't worry, he won't last.'"
"In the second year of secondary school, I had a science teacher who did my head in. She was the least scientifically minded person I have ever met. She stuck like glue to the text and didn't know anything that wasn't in the book.
One day, early in the year, we were learning about light and the light spectrum. We learned that light, like ink, has three primary colors; red, blue, and green. We also learned about the secondary colors, made from mixing two primary colors. Again, just like ink. The book gave two examples of secondary colors; magenta (red + blue) and yellow (red + green). The book also mentioned that the third secondary color was cyan.
I, twelve years old and passionately interested in science, put up my hand for clarification. I was pretty sure that the third color would be made by adding green and blue light, but I still wanted confirmation from a trusted teacher. I didn't yet know how awful at science she was. I asked something like, 'Does the last pair give you cyan light?' The teacher looked at me for a few seconds, clearly confused by this extracurricular question. I tried again, 'Green and blue, I mean. Does that make the last secondary color, cyan?'
The teacher looked at the book, then back to me. She still looked deeply confused. 'I'm not sure. The book doesn't say. Maybe just use the examples in the book. The exam will probably only ask for one or two examples, so just use the examples in the book.'
I put my hand down and never asked a question in that class again. That was the first inkling I got that some teachers may, in fact, be idiots.
What I did do was go straight home and gather every flashlight in my house and a bunch of colored cellophane sweet wrappers. I conducted my own experiment and found out that, yes indeed, blue and green light DO make cyan light. 12 years later I conducted the same experiment with several second-year classes as part of a series of workshops in maths and science that I designed and delivered. I also have a degree in physics and am halfway to a Ph.D. All pretty much inspired by this one over-extended geography teacher who had no business teaching science to anyone."
My 5th-grade teacher was just a horrible person. I was in an extra credit class called 'Advanced Instruction'. It was just an extra class twice a week where we were allowed to study different subjects to a deeper degree - silk paintings, haiku, hieroglyphs, geology - just extra time to learn extra things of interest under the guidance of a teacher. I'd been in that program since 2nd grade. Unfortunately, in 5th grade, two things coincided in a bad way for me: The district introduced new math and my AI class was held during math period twice a week. So I missed a lot of stuff.
The teacher that year, though, was merciless. Mrs. Cook was very tall and thin with a long, hatchet-nosed face. I was very short, small, already a year younger than my classmates and awkward, and the only student in AI. When I asked her to go over the math I'd missed, she told me, verbatim, 'You're smart enough to be in Advanced Instruction, you can figure it out.' It was the first time I received a less-than-A grade in my life, and I hated her for not taking the time to help me. That was her job.
In university-level Algebra II, the professor held a double master: mathematics and logic. He taught us in Greek. We were stupefied. We had no idea what he was writing. He would cover two whiteboards with numbers and symbols, while we would scribble frantically trying to keep up with what he was writing AND saying, then he'd come to the end of the equation and say, 'Well, there's a mistake somewhere in the arithmetic, don't worry about it,' and erase the whole thing! The class was a pre-requisite for many degrees, and so started out with over 30 students, but ended with only nine. I squeaked by with a C.
Those two, but especially Mrs. Cook, helped shape my attitude towards mathematics: I don't understand too many concepts, and always feel as if I'm handicapped and way out of shape climbing a mental mountain when faced with anything more involved than beginning Algebra. I don't know what happened to Mrs. Cook, but the algebra professor never taught at that school again after our critiques."
"My English teacher sophomore year was the most narcissistic, lazy teacher I've ever had. She didn't teach us anything, and I'm not exaggerating. We had to learn Macbeth, so she showed us the movie first, which no one understood, and then had us read on our own. I would ask her questions and she would undermine the questions instead of answering them.
No one in our class could comprehend it, thank God for Cliff Notes and No Fear Shakespeare. I once had an hour and a half test where she made two mistakes. Instead of just correcting our grades, she made everyone rip up the test. Her midterm was random stuff we didn't learn about, it was the first time I got less than an A on an English exam, I got a D, first time I ever got below a B in any class, and yes, I studied.
The only time she 'taught us' was for the Ohio Graduation test, essentially the test that showed how well she was doing. Also, she had the most inflated grades ever, a project was once worth 1000 points, 10 times bigger than it needed to be.
What finally set me off, was at the end of the year. She was moving rooms and making us clean it out for her. She wanted me to toss out at least 20 good books into the trash. I asked her why not donate and she said she was too lazy. So I stuffed them in my backpack and give them to a charity that benefits inner city Cleveland schools.
She was just one of those lazy, pass out a paper every time type of teacher. Many of my peers' parents approached the school about her. She still works there. Thank goodness I'm graduating."
"Last year, in 11th grade, I had a substitute (we'll call her Miss. A). She started class by saying, 'I used to be a teacher, so don't pull crap on me. Now, I have a few rules. 1, No talking when I'm talking. 2, respect me.' Well, we started an assignment (working in groups). After a few minutes, she stood up to give us the next directions. Obviously, people were finishing their original assignments, so they tried to hurry and wrap it up. However, as soon as she stood up, she said, 'My turn to talk! Be quiet! High schoolers should know better! It's my turn to talk!'
At which point this one student spoke up, saying, 'We're just finishing the assignment.'
So, she tells him that he's being immature and, 'Trying to look cool and impress people,' and that he should shut up.
A while later, he was sitting with his hands in his lap and appeared to be on his phone. Mrs. A calls him out, 'How immature! Playing on your phone while I'm teaching!'
He then lifts up his hands, saying, 'I don't have a phone.' Well, I guess the substitute did not like being wrong. The next thing we know, she goes on a rant about respecting people and not goofing off in class. This guy then, (probably unwisely) says, 'Why should I respect you, if you're treating all of us like 2nd graders?' As soon as these words left his mouth, she kicked him out of the class and told him not to come back. (Just to clarify. This is not allowed by school policy. Especially by substitutes.)"
"I was a junior in high school. My favorite English teacher was absent so we had a fill in.
As soon as the bell rang he told us all to work on any assignments we had and made it crystal clear none of us could leave. Well, I had to tinkle and to make it worse, I thought I had just started my period.
I went up to him, humbly, asking him politely if I could use the restroom quickly. He looked at me with the dirtiest look, I have ever seen, and let out a solid, 'Absolutely not! You should have gone before the bell rang.'
I went back to my desk. I did the 'I gotta go' dance in my seat, praying and contemplating if I should just disobey his inhumane orders or stay put. I wanted to cry. I am not one to ever disobey anyone, but this was insane.
I was sitting there trying so hard to hold back my tears, not knowing what to do. That is when he put on a Youtube video for the whole class, which featured pole dancers. I was furious with this guy. I texted my mom and told her to come pick me up.
15 long minutes later the office aid came in and handed the fill-in teacher the note that I was able to leave. He called my name up. I went over to reach for the note, but he held it away from me purposely. He gave me one last dirty look and slowly handed it to me reluctantly.
I cried after that. I have never been treated so terribly for absolutely nothing. Justice was served though. My mom called the principal and had him fired."
"My friend was very good (In fact one of the best) in mathematics. He scored 95/100 in 10th board exams and obviously, he opted for the science stream and went to a well known good school to study in science.
Now in the same class and the same school, there was this girl who topped the district in 10th and was also studying.
So, in first-period mathematics, the teacher started explaining matrix multiplication. After explaining the method, she gave the students a tricky sum of matrix multiplication to solve. Obviously, my friend solved it in less than a minute. He was eager to show her that he solved the sum. So when the teacher was near he told her that he solved the example.
She examined his answer with all steps and said, 'Hmm. Okay.' Without any expression on her face.
Two minutes later the girl (the star of the district) told her that she solved the problem.
The teacher said these words to the whole class, 'See, this is what we call a ranker! No one gets the first rank in District without intelligence. You people should learn something from this girl.'
My friend was so confused. He was so upset that day that we thought he was about to cry.
After that, his interest in mathematics started decreasing and it faded away in a year. He got just average marks in mathematics from then."
"The worst teacher I've ever had was in a university-level math course. The instructor had a reputation for being a brilliant researcher, with an Ivy League pedigree and a distinguished career in research. He started the first day of class by telling us about some of his projects. I was impressed.
Then he started teaching. There was a problem. A medical problem. Too much medication, or the wrong kind of medication, or a serious illness, or something.
He'd be working through a problem on the board and suddenly not know what he was doing anymore. He'd ask us, we'd explain things, and he'd go back to the board, working his way back from the beginning.
He'd trail off mid-sentence sometimes and just stare at us for long moments. We had one student who took it upon himself to snap him out of it when he did that. Again, we'd have to explain what the day's lecture was about. He wouldn't remember.
He'd make mistakes. He'd say one thing and write another. Sometimes he seemed to just have trouble forming the words for what he wanted to say. Every class had these kinds of incidents. Sometimes he'd get visibly frustrated.
The thing was, I liked him as a person. He was kind of charming, and he told us funny stories about the '60s. When his mind was really there, I enjoyed the way he spoke about mathematics. I could believe that he really was a brilliant guy, with a mind that was light-years beyond the mere calculus he was teaching us. I felt empathy for what it must be like to be suffering from an illness, or a medical problem or whatever was going on with him.
The problem was, I wasn't mastering the material. I had a friend taking the same class with another instructor, and I started going to her classes as exam time got closer. That was better for me, but by that time it was really too little, too late. I'd let myself fall too far behind.
The instructor had a reputation for giving everyone good grades, regardless of test performance. I was encouraged by that, but I decided I wasn't willing to gamble my grade in a prerequisite course on a reputation, so on the day of the final exam, I let him know I was taking the class Pass-Fail. My eyes pleaded with him when I handed him the form. Please don't fail me, PLEASE. He seemed surprised. Was it because he was planning to pass all of us regardless of performance? Was the grade mostly based on attendance? I'll never know.
Anyway, I struggled. A lot. Time kept ticking by and I started to panic. I got through parts of it, but I started to worry that I was going to fail badly.
Then he did something amazing. Abruptly, he got up and said, 'Now you can all cheat!' in a funny voice and he strolled right out the door.
Within seconds, exams changed hands and discussions took place. Smarter people than me had identified questions that contained errors or weren't clear. People put their heads together and started working things out. I fleshed out my exam. The instructor came back five or ten minutes later, flashed a big smile at the class, and sat down with his eyes closed so people could continue exchanging notes and helping each other out.
I passed. He was the worst teacher I ever had, and he shouldn't have been allowed to teach, but I didn't hate him. Also, he didn't hand out the mandatory teacher evaluation that every teacher was required to hand out after the final exam. Maybe that was his secret to staying on as a teacher."