Yep, you read that right. Every child needs to have a bad teacher at some point in their life. I’m not talking about your teachers who are verbally, physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive – I hope no child ever has to come into contact with this person. No one ever deserves to come into contact with a person like that, especially a teacher.
When I was in senior high, I had a science teacher that was a bad teacher. Instead of actually learning the vocabulary words, he would give us student-generated crossword puzzles. These student-generated crossword puzzles often had spelling errors or definition errors, but he continued to use them year after year. These crossword puzzles counted for a good percentage of our grade. Because he was a bad teacher, I learned to teach myself vocabulary skills and because of this, I didn’t really struggle with acquiring vocabulary for college.
This teacher also spent more time flirting with the pretty girls in my class than he did teaching. He would talk to the gamers about whatever video game was new. He would talk to the jocks about football. I didn’t fit into any of these categories, so I was definitely not one of his favorite students. This taught me that not everyone is going to like me, despite my hard work and dedication. This taught me that some people won’t like me no matter what I do. It taught me to judge people based on the qualities they consider are desirable, and then to decide whether I really cared about them liking me or not.
He allowed bullying to happen. My brother is autistic and this man allowed a girl to bully him DURING class. She called him a retard, a sped, and a freak. My brother would get upset and flap his hands. This teacher would scream at my brother to keep control of himself or he would be kicked out. I was involved in advocating for this girl to be disciplined. Because this man was a bad teacher, I learned the importance of standing up for those who cannot. Because of this man, I am a teacher that stops students in the halls for using the R-word and asks them to explain the definition to me. When they cannot explain the precise definition, I educate them calmly and explain the error in their ways.
This terrible teacher allowed students to grade his papers for him. There was a girl in my class who did not like me and did everything she could to secretly pick on me so she could maintain her nice girl image. She would take points for things that weren’t in the rubrics. She would “accidentally” mark things wrong on my tests. When I brought this to his attention, he told me not to complain. Furiously, I went to the administration and had to fight my case using evidence that I collected. Because of this, I learned to advocate for myself. I learned not to go to administration to complain, I learned to go to administration with indisputable evidence to make my case.
When this man finally started grading his own papers (because of me going to admin), he started taking away points for things that weren’t on rubrics and accidentally marking things wrong. Because of this, I learned to double and triple check my work, to go above and beyond in assignments, and to again advocate for myself against an authority figure. It taught me to be a careful worker and to take pride in my own work, regardless of how others feel about it.
When this man sees me as an adult, a teacher myself, he always praises me as such a good student. He tells anyone that will listen how he always liked me, always knew that I would be a good teacher. I always smile and let him know that he helped to mold me into the teacher I am today. I keep it tucked in the back of my mind that I am the teacher I am today because he was a pathetic example of what a teacher should be. He made me strong, he taught me to stand up for myself and others, and he taught me how to fight the right way. Because of this man, I am a good teacher.