Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dear math teacher, I hate you...

Warning: This post has nothing to do with programming, you won't learn any valuable thing from it. 

The other day, something reminded me of my study in primary school. One of the things that I used to hear is something that could be translated as follows: "Whomever taught me a letter, owns me as his slave". The goal of this saying is to emphasize the role of the teacher and how important what he is doing. However although I agree that a teachers should be respected, I would say that respect goes to the ones who deserve it. The story is about my encounters with a teacher who in my opinion does not deserve that respect.

That teacher used to give us two classes, math, and geography. I remember his math class starts as follows:

At the very morning, you must answer three multiplication questions, such as 8 x 7, 9 x 4, ... etc. You get about 3 seconds to answer each question. Now if you can't answer two questions, then you stand in front of the class with other students who did not answer.

The math class was the very first class in the morning, so it used to be kind of cold then. So hitting the hands with a wooden stick while its cold  really hurt. Not to mention, a hit on the fingers hurts more than the palm of the hand, I am not sure though if it was in his intention to hit the fingers and cause more pain.

Sometimes the punishment is different, for example he could hold two students high from the hair near the ear, which is in itself painful, then he would - collide/smash - the heads of the students with one another. I suppose, he was creative in torchering students, don't you think?

In other cases a slap on the face is used. I remember a specific geography class very well. It was the last class in the day. I am not sure what the reason was, but I think something upset him that day. What happened after one minute of him entering is the following:

  • Student stands
  • Teacher asks one question
  • If student answers correctly, he sits down
  • If student answers wrong, the student is awarded a good, nice, firm slap to the face.
  • If student does not give an answer with two seconds, then the student is awarded a good, nice, firm slap to the face.
  • Go to next student until finishing all students
Students used to sit in columns, and our class has 3 columns. I was in the last one, about the forth or fifth seat. All I remember is seeing a continuous stream of slaps happening in front of me, by the time he reached me and asked me his question, I could not even hear the question, or think. The only thing that went through  my mind was "How painful would the slap be?". If I remember correctly, only one or two students answered him.

Now, some might argue that it was for the good of students, and this technique would force students to study. However, when I look at the results I would say:

1- I hated the subject
2- I hated the teacher
3- I did not want to learn so as not to please the teacher, although I read enough to pass the exam or avoid getting hit.

I think a teacher who uses such techniques should be fired from his job.

Let me know about your primary school experiences... was it like this in your school?