Why Idiots should not be teachers

So this last weekend I had the opportunity to experience a hippy music festival (which is not something that I would every recommend doing) and as I’m sure you can imagine, I saw a lot of strange people doing weird things that I’m sure we all know the reason behind (cough* cough* drugs cough*).  However, being a sane and normal member of society I wanted nothing to do with those idiots so I avoided that area of the festival.  Instead I decided to hang out with my friends by the camp fire and listen to the music a safe distance from all hippies losing their minds.  Well needless to say it was forty degrees out and when the morons realized this and the fact that they were only wearing pants, they searched out the only people smart enough to build a fire.  Yep, those people were my friends and I.  Many of the people who I met that night were actually fairly normal and were just relieved by the opportunity to meet the only other sane people at the festival; however, a lot of them were flat out off the rocking chair.  You can probably imagine how amusing it was to have conversations with these people.

One of the people that I met that night was a TA who taught a nonlinear equations class for two years.  He seemed nice and for the most part normal and sense I am an aspiring teacher I decided to strike up a conversation on the subject of education by asking “so sense you’ve been teaching for two years what are your thoughts on education, and what advice would you give a future educator ?”  Before I tell you his answer let just describe the buy first.  He wasn’t wearing any shoes, long grey hiking pants, and a grateful dead T-Shirt.  He had long hair and a huge beard that covered most of his wrinkled face.  At the time I thought I had just smelled the secants of the woods but after he got up and left I realized that it was him who smelled like a large pile of feces.  That picture in mind, in hindsight asking this guy his thoughts on education probably wasn’t the best idea.  This is somewhat how our conversation went (read his dialogue in a stoner voice, it’s way funnier):

Hippy: Teaching was great man, but the technology is just too much.  Using technology in the classroom just distracts from the learning man.  It just gives all these major corporations a way to make money and control use man.  They’re getting into the classrooms, controlling what we teach and how we teach it.  Technology is just an unnecessary evil that needs to be kept out of the classroom.  I mean when are your students ever going to need to use it outside of the classroom.

Me: Cool dude but that’s not what I asked you, I just want to know what your thoughts on the actual concept of teaching are.

Hippy: Oh yeah sorry man (insert nervous stoner giggle here).  No teaching’s great, just great it’s such a rewarding career.  Just know that you’ll have students you like and students you don’t like and treat them as equals.  It’s just the technology man, I didn’t like it and it should be kept out of teaching.  I mean why would you use something that you don’t know how it works ya know?

Me: Well why don’t you learn how it works?

Hippy: (long pause)…  “You know man, I just don’t want to give the corporations that kind of power.  They have control over everything else so why let them in our classrooms.  Hey man, you know where I could find any Jelly Beans?” (he didn’t ask for Jelly Beans)

Me: You’re an idiot

I don’t even know where to begin with this moron.  First off, you are a teacher, you are supposed to be setting an example for your students and coming up into the woods to a music festival and asking your potential past present and future students if they know where you can find Jelly Beans is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.  Second the part about the technology in the classroom.   Our world is constantly changing and while I agree with the guy about things like E-books, other forms of technology are vital to the classroom.  While this guy may spend his days coped up in the woods avoiding the evils that he calls technology, the rest of his students will be going out and getting something most people like to call a life.  If you don’t want one, fine, but don’t take a major part of the real world out of your classroom just because you believe it to be evil.  This guy gave me the worst advice that I have ever heard about teaching.  One of the girls who went to the festival with my group of friends and I actually had him as a teacher a few semesters ago and she even told me the next day when we left she told me, “he was one of the worst teachers that I have ever had.  He didn’t explain anything he tried to teach us and his tests were almost impossible because of it.”  Obviously the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

One thought on “Why Idiots should not be teachers

  1. Andrew,

    I don’t even know where to start with this one…

    Your post left me with an extremely bitter taste in my mouth. So bitter that I felt the need to read it to my roommate and vent about it a bit before posting. My roommate just started his first year as a PhD student in economics at CSU. He has been grading papers for three straight days, and will continue to write/grade tomorrow on his birthday. He took a break to listen to your blog post.

    Let me paint you a picture of him:
    Scruffy beard, doesn’t own a pair of jeans, prefers to be barefoot, wears band t-shirts, rarely showers, rock climber, etc.

    Now imagine my roommate’s face as he was listening to your post; specifically the beginning part when you describe in detail this “moron” at the “hippy” festival…

    What if I told you that I am one of the types of people who LIKES that kind of stuff (minus the drugs, of course). What if I told you that my friends and I fit the stereotype of the “idiots” who “should not be teachers?”

    Wow… it just makes me sad, you know?

    I understand that the point of your post was not to offend anyone in the class. I understand that you wanted to prove a point that technology is an increasingly useful tool in the classroom, and people who choose to ignore technological advances might be denying students valuable learning opportunities. I understand all of this, and I actually agree very strongly!

    What I don’t believe in is the response you gave to this “hippy” when he didn’t give you an answer that you deemed “right.” My roommate and I talked about the fact that he is a math student, and technology can actually be incredibly pervasive (almost to a scary degree) within that discipline. We also talked about how a nonlinear equations grad students probably spends over half of his/her time in front of a computer. For someone who loves math but also is a free spirit in terms of not being tied to technology, might this be a bit overwhelming at times?

    Instead of calling him and “idiot” and leaving, how might you have responded in a way that expressed your own opinion on the matter? What if this guy was a student in your own classroom? What kind of an environment does that type of response create?

    On top of all this your writing was riddled with mechanical errors; making it even harder to see the credibility behind the point you were trying to make. Your stance here is a pre-service english teacher shredding apart the beliefs of a college level math professor who differs in background and lifestyle from you. Frankly, it didn’t make “sense” (not “since”).

    I hope you take the time to read all of this. My point here was certainly not to offend you, and it wasn’t to spread more mean things around this post. I just want to open your eyes to the idea that our whole class reads these blogs: the stoners, the frat bros, the hipsters, the sorority girls, the nerds, the whatevers! We all bring different perspectives to the table, and that is what makes the world an interesting place.

    In the future, I hope you advocate for our profession as inclusive and learning centered!

    – Megan

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