I wasn’t an honor student, but I wasn’t a screw-up either. Like most kids, I had my favorite teachers. I had teachers I didn’t like.
…and then there was Ms. White.
Ms. White was my ninth grade Algebra teacher. I struggled in her class because she wasn’t very good at explaining how X = Y. I learn best with demonstration, but she couldn’t walk me through it.
Ms. White was good at one thing, though. She knew how to make us laugh.
On one November afternoon, I was so confused by her diagram that I asked her to explain the process in a way that I would understand. She turned around slowly and looked at me. A smile spread across her wide face, and with great triumph, she said…
“Frank. If we opened up your head, and poured the knowledge in, it would leak out your feet!”
This, of course, got a roar of laughter from the class; but did little to help me understand the algebraic formula she had drawn on the board.
Ms. White reused her clever little line on several other students that year. However, I hold the honor of being the first. My fellow classmates didn’t let me forget it, either. As a result, I was reluctant to raise my hand in her class for the rest of the year. Predictably, I did not do very well.
I wasn’t the only student who had to make up the credit. We were twenty in all, almost a full classroom, for that summer’s algebra course. (That was just the morning class. There was an afternoon class as well.)
Teachers like Ms. White make every teacher look bad. I still wonder how this woman was able to continue teaching, in spite of complaints by me, and several other students and parents.
When so many students struggle in one teacher’s class, that teacher is not doing his/her job!
Please don’t get me wrong. The majority of my teachers were good. Some of them were excellent. Good teachers deserve to be paid handsomely for their time and effort.
– Just sayin’
BTW – Ms. White was still teaching seven years later, when my younger sister entered ninth grade. Happily, she was assigned a different teacher.
This post was first published July 2011 on ADignorantium.tumblr