MAKE THE BAD TEACHER GO AWAY!

I expect most of us can name the “good teacher” from our
schooldays – the one who encouraged us to achieve what we
were capable of rather than trying to shame us into all
knowledge. My “good teacher” was called Miss Anderson and
I was in her class when I was about seven years old. She
switched me on to the “Narnia” books and taught me my
times tables up to twelve times twelve.

However, what about the bad teachers? The ones who we

feigned illness in order to avoid. The ones who gave us
nightmares. My nemesis was called Mrs Allen and I was in
her class immediately after leaving Miss Anderson’s.
Mrs Allen was the devil incarnate. I am old enough to
remember corporal punishment in schools being legal and
commonplace and the teaching profession being the first
choice for sadists and child haters. Mrs Allen took every
advantage of our barbaric education laws and thumped us
eight year olds at every opportunity (the ruler being her
favourite weapon). Her most evil pleasure was to refuse to
let her pupils go to the toilet (bathroom) when they needed
to. This resulted in many a pair of wet underpants and
serious life-long trauma for many.
However, she was nothing if not predictable. If a child ever
spelt a word wrong she would make that child stay in over
break and write out the misspelt word fifty times. The
cleverer ones among us caught on to this quickly and when
it was pouring down with rain outside, or too damn cold, we
would deliberately misspell a word first thing so as to get to
spend breaktime in the warm of the classroom rather than
outside on the playground.

Eventually, under a more enlightened regime, Mrs Allen was

sacked, sectioned under the mental health act and died of an
alcohol related illness. When I found that out in my twenties it
brought a smile to my face – aw c’mon, I’m only human!

So, now it’s your turn. I don’t want to hear about the nice

teachers in your life. I want the dirt on the evil ones. Go on
– name names and catalogue their crimes. It will make you
feel better about yourselves.

Comments

MAKE THE BAD TEACHER GO AWAY! — 32 Comments

  1. Oh that’s easy. Miss Simonich, 7th grade Math. We had moved between third and fourth grade. In the previous school district multiplication was taught to 4th graders an in the new one it was taught to 3rd graders. So I was instantly behind and belittled for my lack of knowledge. I struggled with math for the rest of my school career. In 7th grade we were actually assigned to “sections” by our grades. I ended up in an advanced section. My grades in science, English and Social Studies were fine but not Math. I still struggled. Miss Simonich (which rhymes with witch among other things)had no time to help me. I was belittled in front of my classmates and told she would see that I was ejected from the advanced section. Since it was an all or nothing situation I’d have been booted out of all classes.
    Eventually there was a parent teacher conference, I received additional tutoring (outside and rather embarassing) and 7th grade finally ended.
    Would you be surprised that I still have a profound dislike of Math?

    Peace
    JP

  2. I had a swimming teacher who told me he would beat me with his belt if I didn’t put my head under the water (which I was frightened of doing). He had this evil-looking huge belt he used to leave coiled up by the side of the pool he would threaten kids with if they didn’t learn to swim as quickly as he wanted. I was, what, eight years old? How creepy, sadistic and downright pervy is that. Don’t remember his name. Thankfully. I expect he’s in jail by now.

  3. My good one was Miss Åberg. A miss, about 60 years of age who once told us that she still curtsied to h e r aunt, who was in her 90ies. Anyhow Miss Åberg taught the baddest of us to reach the high grades (she had her own system, probably not quite legal, based on achievement). So they all got 4s and 5s ;=) This was done without any apparent effort on her part and all loved it – and her.

    The bad teacher was in applied Arts: Wood, to be precise. He used to pinche pupils behind the ear with a key, preferably a sharp eged one. I still remember how he circled around the prospective hit of the day, making his selection among the keys of his big keys circle (?). Slowly, slowly…

  4.      As a teacher, I have always said I became one because of my best teachers and in spite of my worst ones. All too often, the ones I thought were too tough ended up being my favorites.

         The only one I can remember truly terrifying me was my middle school P.E. coach. He yelled a lot – at everyone, but it seemed especially me. I had the opportunity to work with him after I became a teacher and found him to be a very gentle soul – something had changed him.

         Now, not to derail this teacher negativity festival you have going, M.P., but here is a link to my blog where I thank my best teachers for all they did: Teachers I’d Like to Thank.

  5. Mrs Streeter in first year juniors. A rather large lady who made comments about me being thin. She used to bang people over the head with menta arithmetic book. And always had the ruler handy for knuckles.

    I was scared of my form teacher Miss Hill at secondary she taught science and was totally unaproachable although not violent she did it with words

    Mrs Laughton the maths teacher but that was mainly because I hated maths

  6. I had a friend who went to a Catholic boys’ school. His PE teacher had been in the army and then became a Catholic priest (not a good combination, I suspect). He used to make the boys go on immensely long cross-country runs carrying gigantic long bits of timber, with rusty nails sticking out of them, over their shoulders (some sort of fixation with the Cross, I think). He invented a game called “Jolly Ball” that consisted of the boys throwing balls at each other as hard as they could until they drew blood. He also invented a game called “Death Ball”, but I forget what that one involved.

  7. I have a couple. The first one was “Colonel” Lunger, a former West Point man who perhaps attempted to teach me Algebra II. I mostly remember him explaining to the class that the one reason women earned 54 cents on the dollar was because they chose “worthless” careers. He never said why they were worthless.

    Thwe second was an Educational Psychology professor I had at the University. He had been out of class very ill for several weeks, and when he came back, he was just in time to administer the midterm exam. The problem was, the professor who had been teaching us had not taught things in the same order as he did, assigned different readings, etc., and this guy just gave us the same midterm he had been using for years. The top score was about 20%, and although he did assign a curve, it is very dispiriting to be faced with a very important test about which you have learned close to nothing! I really wish the two professors had bothered to communicate what the students had actually learned.

  8. In high school, I had an algebra teacher who was just generally intimidating to me and ineffective trying to teach me the subject.

    Ever since that class, I have had the attitude that algebra is reason enough to declare war on the Middle East.

    In 5th grade, I had one teacher who – no, I shouldn’t go there. Stereotypes abound. I foresee serious misunderstandings if I say what I was thinking.

    Tracie the Red

  9. According to the news today, as far as our CofE Bishops are concerned, it seems that the only bad teachers are the homosexual ones that will pollute the clean and fragrant air and the clean and fragrant children in our CofE schools if the proposed Equality legislation gets through.

  10. Mrs. Brett, 6th grade.

    Once, before my year, she went to her closet, closed the door, screamed at the top of her lungs and banged on the closet walls in frustration. Or so I’m told. She was psycho enough that I believed it.

    I was a nice kid to a fault, and my peers didn’t like me due to it. I guess they could tell I just plain wasn’t any fun (I’m still not, strangely enough,) so I typically got along well with the older kids and teachers, instead.

    But not this one, no.

    I barely remember most of it, but I remember one time, after we’d finished a quiz. She had told us we could read when we’d finished a quiz, so I whipped out one of my books – probably The Golden Compass or some such fantasy thing (I ignored Narnia because it was popular with my peers. I really didn’t like them, you see.)

    Anyway, reading was my favorite escape from her tyranny, so I happily did as ordered. I got yelled at, again.

    I assumed I was just a bad kid, you know? A teacher was yelling at me, so I had to be behaving badly. But I cried a lot and developed stomach ulcers from the stress of it.

    You have to understand, I really was a good kid. I didn’t like getting in trouble, still don’t. I was so confused and upset.

    My mom didn’t know until another little girl went home and cried to HER mom about how the teacher was treating ME and singling me out. That mom called my mom.

    Then my mom threatened to have the woman arrested for child abuse.

    Didn’t stop her – I just stopped telling mom because I didn’t want to make a fuss.

    That was also the year my peers decided to start calling me a lesbian – that didn’t let up until I graduated. Well…I didn’t help. I DID bring a cute girl in a tuxedo to my 11th grade prom!

  11. Mrs. Little, my 7th grade English teacher, was a sadist on par with any gallery of evil rogues throughout human history. She delighted in tormenting us and insulting us. She enjoyed hitting, too, though she was so old that it never hurt much.
    Every so often she would scream so loud that the blood vessels on her neck would stick out. Teachers would come from other rooms to see what was the matter.
    She once made me stand up in front of the class and admit to everyone that I was useless and would never be anything more than a “common criminal.” She did stuff like that to all of us – education from her was really just training in humiliation.
    She would call our parents on the phone at night just to report that we were lazy and lacked direction and drive. I’m sure that she just picked parents at random to call because in class she was famous for not remembering our names throughout the entire year.
    She also, more than once, threw a book across the room at the wall near the door. I feared her as much as I hated her.
    She retired a year later and was dead before the end of that summer recess. Which news, I must report, made me very, very happy to hear.

  12. Mr Wright, in my third year of senior school (about age 13) would make kids stand an arm length away from the wall with their finger tips touching the wall for the whole of the lesson, which was an agony on par, almost, with crucifixion. He died of a brain tumour before I left school.

  13. Wow! wouldn’t it be interesting to count the good guys vs the bad guys to see how many of each group we had?
    My baddie was Miss Robbins. grade 5
    grim of face and attitude, short of temper. I was sent a bit late the first day of school, nervous and confused about the correct room in a corridor of closed doors, I finally chanced the correct room, and panting and fearful, yanked open the door and tried to slip into class. Miss R swiveled her head around and said “young lady, YOU are a hoyden”. The rest of grade 5 was an agony of sarcastic criticism.
    I find that I am curling my bare toes even as I sit here an write about it.

    Nij

  14. I do not remember his name, but I remember his nickname, Pickelnose. He taught music in secundaria, He was known to throw books at students. When I was in the 3rd year of secundaria a girl was talking and he threw a music book at her which hit her in the nose with the book binding and broke her nose. When she ran out of the classroom in hysterics with blood streaming down her face he chased her and pushed her down in the hallway.

    It took a group of the bigger boys to hold him down until the authorities arrived and hauled him away literally frothing at the mouth and screaming gibberish. We never saw him again.

    *****
    Metella, I had the identical experience in university biology. But I protested to the administration when the exam was over. The irate professor threw me out of his class for the remainder of the semester, plus two other classes that I took from him; anatomy and pathology. I had to teach myself the material from the syllabus, which the Dean provided. On the day for finals I showed up in class for each exam. He gave me each test without comment. I am sure that he was confident that I would do poorly. I wrote the exams in indelible red ink for spite. I aced all three exams!

    *****
    Cathy, that sounds like what we called slaughterball! But most boys in my school enjoyed it!

  15. Cathy, that sounds like what we called slaughterball! But most boys in my school enjoyed it!

    What, you mean that psycho I was talking about didn’t even invent it?! … Still, nice to hear someone got something out of it.

    I’m sorry about this everyone, but these posts are making me shriek with hysterical laughter, and I’m at work, so it’s not good. If someone asks me why I’m laughing I’m not going to be able to explain.

  16. Sorry, I do realise that probably makes me sound like a weirdo, but it’s more the sheer ludicrousness that the teaching profession is peopled by these sadists and that they could have remotely considered any of this acceptable. It’s so outrageous it’s bringing on the hysteria.

    Honest.

  17. A (What else? Sig Heil!) German professor whose name I’ve thankfully forgotten.

    When I came to complete an (illness-caused) Incomplete—as scheduled by him—he announced that he’d changed his mind, I wouldn’t be allowed to finish the course, and I would be receiving an “F” (though even without the final, I still SHOULD have received a passing grade).

    This caused me to miss my college graduation (had to take summer school–a different course/different professor, OF COURSE!—in order to receive my diploma in the Fall).

    Every time I see my BA diploma, w/ that “September” graduation date, I’m reminded of that b*stard.

  18. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Anderson, was the worst teacher I ever had. She was loud, yelled a lot, and frightened me. I could never drink all the pint of milk for nutrition and she refused to let that carton leave my desk until I did. I grew to hate it. My mom told her I didn’t have to drink it on, but that made no difference.

    She also was adamant that there should be no running in the halls and backed it up by really yelling at kids who did. Once I was kind of late to class and I started to run. I fell down and skinned my knee on the cement, but I was too afraid of her to go into class to get help.

    Instead I went into the girls bathroom, got in a stall, and cried. Someone finally heard me and got me to the nurse’s office to get my knee bandaged up. I remember being surprised I wasn’t yelled at by my rescuer when I tearfully tried to explain what had happened.

    We lived a long way from school (the new one closer to home hadn’t been completed), and I’d get so nervous about Mrs. Anderson on the way that I’d get sick a couple times a week and vomit. Mom, who walked me there, would take me to the nurse’s office if I was badly ill, but then I’d have to go to class. Mom always said that it was amazing I ever liked school after that terrible year.

    Mrs. Anderson was so disliked by the kids that when she stapled her own finger one day, no one was sorry. And when I heard about it (I had chicken pox or the measles or the mumps–got them all that year–so I didn’t get to see it), I wasn’t, either (too much–there was one sympathetic pang but that’s about it).

    —-

    My sister was hit by a teacher-thrown book, but he didn’t intend to hit anyone, wasn’t mad at her, was, indeed, her favorite teacher, and he felt so bad about it that he drove her home that day in his Volkswagen and told my mom what happened and apologized. The book didn’t make a bruise or anything, just got her hand.

    On the other hand, as it were, my sister’s grade drove one teacher, Miss Cheek, to a nervous breakdown. She disappeared mid-semester, never to return. In my grade, the other class of 7th graders tormented one of our teachers, Mr. Hill, so much all the kids in my class felt sorry for him even though he was a lousy, though well-meaning teacher. He barely lasted a year and didn’t return in fall. I worried how he’d get another job and support his family.

    –sheila–

  19. compared to some of the stories here, even my bad teachers were angels.

    One does stand out, Mr. R., an English teacher I had in high school. He was known for being somewhat strange, and would often fly off the handle and let loose in a 5-minute tirade over insignificant matters (such as when Kevin had the audacity to suggest the Hail Mary as the prayer at the beginning of class one day — this teacher was the lone Scots Presbyterian at ann RC school). I ran afoul of him one day when I was coming down with some sort of stomach bug. Lunch was doing somersaults in my stomach, and about 10 minutes before the end of class I bolted from my seat (without asking permission) and ran for the bathroom. He thundered and ran after me in hot pursuit, catching up to me just as I began projectile vomiting in the middle of the corridor. If only I had been a step or two slower, or if he had been just a bit faster, he would have caught me and spun me around just in time to get it in the face.

    The rumor at our 5th year reunion was that he had had some sort of breakdown, and was no longer teaching.

  20. Well, MP, obviously none of this ever did any of us any harm, did it? …

    I have to say, Miss Cheek is a good name for a teacher.

    One of my friends is a music teacher and she worked in a school where the woodwork teacher was named Richard Hair, except he insisted on being called Dick. No, really. I mean, what were you thinking, mate?… But maybe he realised he was going to get called that anyway and just went with it. Or maybe he was just very silly. Who knows?

  21. Sheila – I could never drink that bloody milk they served up in primary school. It was always warm. It was revolting.

  22. My first grade teacher locked me in the coat closet on a regular basis. I had learned to read at home, and was bored by the word drills. I would get up and stare out the window at the birds and squirrels in the tree, not making noise, but clearly not facing front and center. It never occurred to her that I would be sitting at my desk if I were allowed to read my library book. From this experience I learned about the connection between gut and brain. I believe kids who say they have tummyache when they appear stressed.

  23. An English teacher who hated Shakespeare (as well as literature in general) named Mr. Svensen. Classes involved us sitting in silence while he regaled us with an endless array of utterly impossible anecdotes concerning himself (did he really think anyone honestly believed the one about him and Bob Dylan saving hundreds of people from a Hawaiian tidal wave????)

    A couple of months into the year he proclaimed me the “class queen” – a cruel (and dangerous) title for any 13 yr old boy to carry at a violent working-class all-males high school. The rest of the year was filled with taunts and jibes concerning what he assumed was my sexuality: “jokes” which were invariably repeated (usually with a bashing) in recess afterwards by the thugs who admired him.

    Years later I followed the newspaper accounts of his subsequent arrest, trial, and conviction for prolonged sexual and physical abuse of a (male) minor: he died in prison before completing a lengthy sentence. And no, I’ve never since been able to hear someone make a homophobic remark without thinking of him, and wondering what dreadful secrets they’re also hiding.

  24. I had some mediocre teachers in elementary through high school, but never sadistic or cruel ones. There were some we made fun of like our trig-calculus teacher whom we called “jungle breath” because he smelled of cigarette smoke (he ran down to the boiler room to smoke between classes), but he wasn’t a bad teacher. It was only when I was at university that I encountered a few mean ones: one was a humanities professor at MIT who took a dislike to me and said cruel things to me in class. I found out later that he made passes at the females (there were very few of us) and expected some reciprocation. I was clueless.

  25. Miss Knoepfel. She was a harridan of the first order, and taught 7th grade in my Catholic elementary school. I knew in my heart that she was truly sadistic. Unreasonable expectations, brutal shaming, inappropriate physical discipline, putting unruly students in closets.

    Adults in my life said “Oh, no, she couldn’t be that bad.”

    The year after I was in her class, one of her students hung himself in the cloakroom.

    Then the adults believed me.

    She got her job (after, I later learned, being sacked from teaching jobs elsewhere) because her brother was a priest and facilitated her getting appointed.

    There were others, of course – the ones who were too old and infirm to actually teach, the ones who didn’t really know the subject they taught, the cruel ones – but Miss Knoepfel was uniquely awful.

  26. Most of my teachers were wonderful but the one I ran afoul of the most was my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs Palmer. I was and still am a fast reader. Whenever I had finished the class reading assignment which was most days, I thought it would be OK to sit at my desk and read something else. Granted, I kept the book under the desk but in my logic, I wasn’t making any noise and I was reading even if it wasn’t the class text. I got yelled at several times for that. The worst indignity, however, was what she did to my fourth-grade big history project. I had decided to do it on Scotland so looked up all sorts of things and did a big poster painting of a Beef Eater (one word?). I thought it was pretty cool… until she, fancying herself to be an artist, put eyelashes and big red lips on the drawing. I was so mad at her for defacing my work that I ripped it up in front of her. More demerits.

    Meanwhile, my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Agostini, made up for the horrid year the year before. She was great and even got us out of class to watch the 1967 World Series (Red Sox against the Orioles).

    And then in sixth grade, we all failed because of Miss Lasky who had just come from the high school and assigned us a term project. I don’t think most sixth-graders in 1969 understood what that was so we all did the paper the night before it was due. My mother was livid because it was the time of year we would be placed in tracks in junior high. I think enough parents complained that the grades from her did not count.

    I sympathise with Jay (first comment) about algebra.

    Nonetheless, what I underwent sounds pretty mild to some of the stories I’ve just read.

  27. My worst teacher, Mrs Webster in 5th grade, who had a reputation for making life unpleasant for bright and/or well-behaved kids, was so angelic by these standards that one should let her rest in peace.

    But it’s rather shocking just how many truly loony teachers have made the profession their home, as shown just by this small sampling and borne out in many cases by their known early breakdowns. I’d always thought there was something anomalous about the madly awful schoolmaster C. S. Lewis described; who in fact was locked up a year or two after Lewis’s liberation from that school. Now I’m unsure.

    At the same time, when I think about schools Applying Stricter Standards, I wonder about Anonymous’s teacher —

    “My sister was hit by a teacher-thrown book, but he didn’t intend to hit anyone … he felt so bad about it that he drove her home that day in his Volkswagen and told my mom what happened and apologized.”

    I wonder just when this happened. There are places, and I think in more than one Anglophone nation, where a male teacher could be fired for such behavior with a girl student. And I do not mean the throwing of the book.

    I think I hate everybody.

  28. He could have been fired, Porlock, just because of the book hitting her. In my new elementary school, there was a strict policy that teachers couldn’t touch the kids–only the principal could do that, with permission of the parent.

    I think that’s why he brought her home–so that he could explain in person. In those days mere teachers did not give out their home addresses or call parents at home. It also may have been raining, which in the Los Angeles area was a big deal.

    But you’re right. It was very unusual and he was taking a chance driving her. He was very well regarded so that was in his favor. I don’t think my parents though anything of it: they were glad he gave her a ride.

    A friend of mine did cross the line and his teacher sent him down to the principal’s office for punishment. His father, a member of our Presbyterian church, got the call, heard what his boy had done, and gave Mr. Jones permission to paddle him. That was the only time I ever heard of the corporal punishment option being used.

    Usually they just tossed the very unruly kids out of school. One boy in my fourth and fifth grade classes had made the rounds of a number of schools by the time he got to us, and in fourth grade, he spent a lot of time in the work closet (where he sang loudly to the vast amusement of the rest of the class).

    In fifth grade he got fed up and walked out of class but didn’t leave the school grounds. I’ll never forget watching Miss Gann go after him in her high heels…and then a bit later seeing him pass by the window…and then seeing her making the round of the building again. He didn’t last long after that.

    We had some just plain crazy kids in school, too. The worst was the kid who came from a nutty family. For show and tell in fourth grade, he brought two elk legs fresh off the beast that his father had killed hunting that past weekend. We could hardly bear to look at them. We were city kids.

    He used to give me karate chops on the neck, hard, if I were unfortunate enough to meet him on the walk to school. He would get very frustrated and yell Nazi stuff at us, too. I heard he was a Catholic and in later years, he apparently spent a lot of time at church when he wasn’t at school.

    –sheila–

  29. At meals CS Lewis’s schoolmaster wanted all the boys to eat at the same pace he did (which was very fast), and if anyone lagged behind him he would apparently lose his rag completely and thrash anyone within reach liberally with his cane.

    I quite like the sound of this though – I am going to do the same next time I am out with a gathering of friends.