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Most unprofessional math teacher you'd ever had?

  1. Sep 18, 2011 #1
    And what were they like?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2011 #2


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    Asst. Prof who "taught" an 8am class in accelerated calculus for engineering students. He mumbled and stumbled through each class and made numerous mistakes at the chalkboard, and whenever someone pointed out an error, he'd hastily erase the problem and say something like "Just a mistake in the algebra" as if that excused his problem or negated the need to correct it properly so that all the class could see where he screwed up and avoid doing so themselves. So many students were slavishly copying his blackboard exercises... I wonder how many managed to find the source of his mistakes when he did his erasing act? That class was a MUST-ATTEND, and it was a total waste of time. I should have gone to breakfast, then back to my room to study the book for an hour.

    BTW, the best way to get on a teacher's "most hated student" list is to ask them to re-do the problem correctly in class. I had already figured that I couldn't stand a whole semester that that guy, and had to drop the course to save my sanity, but he said if I dropped he'd fail me (death for a first-year engineering student), so I told him that I'd go see the dean and describe his execrable "teaching" methods and ask to transfer to another class. He immediately signed the dropped/passing order and handed it to me without another word. What a creep. I think that he thought teaching accelerated CalcI was beneath him, and that could excuse himself of his laziness and lack of precision that way.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  4. Sep 18, 2011 #3
    An ex-nun who hated people, but for some reason decided she had to teach them. She literally threw tantrums in front of the class and berated individuals. At times she became so upset she couldn't teach and had to leave the room. I don't know if you'd call that unprofessional or just plain unsuited to the profession.
  5. Sep 18, 2011 #4
    My freshman algebra teacher in High School. I don't recall exactly why I couldn't understand algebra that year, but I remember complaining to my older brother about it. He asked me, does he still go to the supply cabinet several times during the class? Yes, it turns out he was drinking. I elected out of algebra II in my junior year because of him. Luckily, my parents reviewed my course selections and forced me to take it. Now I have a masters in math.
  6. Sep 18, 2011 #5
    My last year in high/secondary school. Our math "teacher" had just bought a new notebook and it was consuming nearly all his attention. Everyday, all he would do is say "work from page ___" and then start "work" on his notebook (while I could see from the reflection in the window that he was really playing either Doom I or Doom II).

    This lasted throughout the whole year without fail.
  7. Sep 23, 2011 #6
    Wow! thanks for sharing, that's unbelievable.
  8. Sep 23, 2011 #7
    My high school math teacher, she wore shorts in winter...and often scratches her thigh next to me (I sat in the front), it was really annoying seeing those white stuff that comes off her skin. She also drinks in her class and asks us not to drink.
  9. Sep 23, 2011 #8
    Wow turbo, I think I had that guys wife for College Algebra Honors years ago. No joke, nearly 30% of the problems she did contained mistakes and she got mad when someone pointed them out and did the "well, from here it's just a little algebra to solve.." and erased it. She refused to use the smartboard or the white boards! What did she use you ask? She used one of those ELMO overhead cameras on a steno pad. I will never forget her. She had the most disguisting fingernails that I have ever seen, and most of the time you couldn't see her work (probably a good thing really) because her bee-hive hair-do was blocking the cam.

    Attendance was mandatory, and it was a complete waste of time. I had a score of 101 in her course and she gave me a 98 on a test. I thought the problem was correct and verified it in the physics forum help section. I brought the test back to her the next day and she said "How do I know you didn't change the solution since yesterday?". Miserable.. I insisted that I was in the right and deserved those two extra points and she finally just told me to remind her the next day to add the points to the grade. The next day I reminded her and she said something like "I can't believe you are going to make a big deal out of two points.." and threw the paper on the table to me.
  10. Sep 24, 2011 #9
    you equally had unprofessional teachers in different ways it seems , echhh
  11. Sep 24, 2011 #10
    Ex nun?
  12. Sep 24, 2011 #11
    not fair.
  13. Sep 24, 2011 #12


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    never had one of those, I was lucky enough to be in the class of better lecturers in uni, and in high school I had the highest math grads out of the year level granted me the privillage of choosing to be in the class of my favourite math teachers
  14. Sep 24, 2011 #13
    I had the most chilled out, relaxed informal yet brilliant teacher while I was preparing for engineering entrance exams. That guy changed my life. He made me see math in a whole new light; the impression he's had on me is unbelievable. I owe a lot to that guy.
  15. Sep 24, 2011 #14
    Catholic nun. Some people join monasteries or whatever to escape society, but wherever you go, there you are.
  16. Sep 24, 2011 #15
    7th grade math teacher who would slam a piece of 2x4 on his desk at will and scare us all. I hated him.. :surprised

    The most elegant math teacher was a topology professor who allowed me to audit at wonderful university.
    My husband (who followed the work) and I thought he was as beautiful as an orchestral conductor. His teaching style is like listening to classical music. o:)
  17. Sep 24, 2011 #16
    I once had a math teacher whose daily lecture literally consisted of transcribing the textbook's example problems onto the board. He could have at least chose problems for which we didn't already have the solution...
  18. Sep 24, 2011 #17
    Really? Same here! It worked very well in quieting down the class, though, and I think he used the technique just three times towards the beginning of the school year. Didn't need to use it afterwards.

    I had a calculus professor who would fill the blackboards with equations. Yes, they were related to what we were studying. However, they were totally unnecessary in learning the material. It was pure fluff, just him showing off.
  19. Sep 24, 2011 #18
    My high school Algebra I teacher would try to teach until he got tired of people talking over him or noticed that no one was listening, then he would quit, tell us to work in our workbooks, and play on the computer.

    Although I he did have an unprofessional teaching style, I really do owe him for all that free time, in which I learned how to program a TI-83, which sparked my now intense interest in programming. I even made an awesome tic-tac-toe program to play with my friends when we were left with nothing to do in class. (It's not like we were actually going to work in the workbooks; he wouldn't make us, and we were freshmen. What do you expect? :))

    I did end up learning all the material, though. He was a good teacher when I would find a problem in my workbook that I didn't know how to solve. I scored in the 94th percentile on the end of course test (which is slightly low for me, compared to other EOCs I've taken), but most of the rest of the class failed...
  20. Sep 25, 2011 #19

    Chi Meson

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    Tell me when the thread becomes "the most unprofessional Spanish Teacher." All my Math teachers were pretty good.
  21. Sep 26, 2011 #20
    Can't remember her name but not only was she incompetent as a teacher but blatently bigoted towards a chinese girl in the class. This was in an era when no one protested openly about such behavior. Neither the teacher nor the student were there the next year.
    The 'head' of the math department at our high school who just read from our text book and assigned questions for homework. That, quite literally, is all he did. Admitedly I was in with the students expected to go into the 'trades', but lame is lame.

    The best was Mr.Henry-English. Long before that movie with Robin Williams Mr. Henry was inspiring his students to think outside the box. It was a conservative school, that was his one and only year there.
  22. Sep 26, 2011 #21


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    Had to be my 8th Grade Math Teacher. He'd stare up at the ceiling tiles that were full of holes for 15-20 minutes and not say anything, so we would all start staring at the ceiling. Then he tell us to open our book to a certain page and call on someone to start reading, unfortunately it was a blank page. After accusing all of of conspiring against him, we'd finally get it through to him that he had the wrong book for a different course.

    And then he'd go to the chalk board and start saying numbers and then smash his chalk into the board, destroying it. He did this all of the time, and of course kids would laugh, they'd get sent to the priciple, by then, class was over.

    Worst teacher ever was my history teacher.

    Best teacher ever was English grammar.
  23. Sep 27, 2011 #22
    I second that!
  24. Sep 27, 2011 #23
    I was embarrassed by my math teacher telling every student I got all the problems wrong and then the students began laughing. I was sitting in the back of the class that day as well, so to not look like I was being laughed at, I started to laugh as well even though one could make the argument I was still being laughed at, during that time I needed something to mitigate the obvious emotional scarring that was taking place. Even in spite, I made an effort to get the rest of the problems wrong on assignments, and that persisted throughout the year. While I did well on the tests, I still ended up with a D in the class even though I should have gotten a B because the tests were weighted more than the assignments.

    I dislike that man, and he is still teaching! Unethical bastard. (6th grade at the time)
  25. Sep 27, 2011 #24
    Haha good story.
    I "love" those crazy teachers.

    My worst was some guy in highschool that instead of teaching math spent all the time talking about why capitalism was bad and why he was a member of the workers party.
    To this day I can't stand leftists.
  26. Sep 27, 2011 #25
    Same! I consider myself lucky that I've always had very good math teachers (or at least ones that honestly tried).

    My first semester of college I had the same Calc II Prof that my father had ~20 years prior (he was on a 'wind down' class schedule, and was 1 semester from total retirement when I had him). Not a particularly good or bad instructor, but memorable for that.
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