Good Teachers & Bad Teachers


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We all have run across good teachers and, unfortunately, our share of bad teachers. Of course, when we’re young and hate being forced to go to school where teachers boss us around all damn day, give us hard tests, and make us take classwork home to finish, we usually consider them all bad teachers. But, to be fair, they weren’t all bad.

I’ve not had as many bad teachers as some and maybe not as many good ones, either. Perhaps most of them were just mediocre. This is a list of the memorable teachers: the ones who were tough but yet taught well, the ones who listened and helped, those who were fun and interesting, and the bad ones… I hope they know how bad they truly were! I have also included a few teachers I either worked with or encountered during my years working with kids in Special Education.


Good Teachers

Mrs. Staton – I was so jealous that some of my classmates had her in the 3rd grade and then again in the 4th grade! She was nice and I think she was the first teacher who actually had a sense of humor that came through in her teaching. She made lessons interesting and fun. Years later, when I had the opportunity to work with her, she was the same awesome lady she was when I was a kid.

Mrs. Davis – From my days working in Special Education…I loved working with her in the Resource Classroom. I enjoyed learning from her and discovered a passion for working with special kids that I wish I hadn’t given up. I learned teaching techniques and I admired her in so many ways.

Mr. Whittaker – I took his Basic Math class, not because I needed help with basic math but because I was sick of hard math! Haha! I took Algebra and hated it and I took Geometry and although I memorized the formulas, I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to use them so I nearly didn’t pass. Mr. Whittaker let us chat while we worked, he helped those who needed help and was genuinely a good guy. It was the best math class I had ever taken, even though I didn’t need it.

Mrs. George – My friend and I took tennis in the 10th grade. Mrs. George tried and tried to teach us the correct way to hold and swing the racket, but we just never could get it just right. She was patient with us but in the end, she gave up and just let us play tennis! We still played by the rules and we got our exercise – which was the whole reason for P.E. so I appreciate her efforts and her ability to just “let it go!”

Mrs. Dennis – She was my 2nd-grade teacher and the only teacher who ever chose me as Class Pet. That sounds dumb as I write it but it’s true. She liked me, she knew I was smart, and she didn’t have a problem telling me that. It felt good because I don’t remember my mother ever telling me I was smart.

Mrs. Basque – Oh, she was a big ol’ meany 3rd-grade teacher! She made us learn our multiplication tables! We would have to learn a set (ones, twos, threes, etc.) each week and before we could go out for recess we’d have to be quizzed by her. When we passed to her satisfaction, we got a star on our chart and we could go out to play. I hated it at the time but I learned my multiplication tables! I am seriously glad she did it that way.

Mr. Everett – Oh, I hated his ass. He gave us the hardest tests and on subject matter that didn’t interest me in the least. I hated having to listen to him yap for an hour and had to take notes the whole time, too! “Everything on the tests will be talked about so if you take good notes, you’ll have everything you need to pass this class.” I took notes but still stressed. So, I made cheat notes. I wrote everything on a teeny tiny piece of paper, and by the time I had finished my cheat notes, I had it all memorized and didn’t need the notes! I hated him back then, but I realized after high school, that I learned more in his class than most of my other classes!

Ms. Kathy – She was a Science teacher at my kids’ school, believe it or not. I volunteered back then and loved working in her class. She was very good at making things understandable and interesting! I learned a few things right along with her class more than once! Science was never something I enjoyed when I was in school but I really enjoyed being in her class, even though I wasn’t a student!


Bad Teachers

Mrs. Libby – She wounded this 5-year-old Kindergartner’s heart. I thought I followed her instructions but she said I didn’t. She reprimanded me like no 5 year old in Kindergarten should be reprimanded. I felt like crap. She ruined Kindergarten for me. I cried and cried that day. I walked on eggshells the rest of the school year. It sure didn’t help that I went home to my mother every day who never made me feel good about myself either.

Mrs. CareyNot be confused with the Mrs. Carey I had in the 5th grade. This woman wore bright blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. I don’t think anyone ever taught her how to put on makeup properly. In fact, I don’t think anyone ever told her how to put a wig on correctly either. She always had hair sticking out from under the wig in the back and it seemed to be positioned on her head too far forward. She was a sight!  The worst thing about her was the smell, not of cologne, but of her breath! Good grief! I hated for her to come anywhere near me! I had her for Home Ec in high school and I could cook circles around that woman. I always wonder how the fuck she got that job!

Mrs. Rule – I never had her as a teacher but when I worked in Special Ed and had the opportunity to work with her, she treated me with such condescension I wanted to poke her eyes out with my little red pencil! Thank goodness the little bit I worked with her was temporary. I had some extra time occasionally so I offered my services to some of the other teachers. Once was enough with her!

Mrs. “Stick Up Her Ass” – I can’t remember her name now; Elise something. I babysat her daughter when I was a teenager, and then years later when I worked at the high school she worked at she didn’t even remember me! I remember her stopping me in the courtyard on more than one occasion, demanding my hall pass like a royal bitch! And then to top it off, she would walk me to the office so I could prove that I worked there! I know I may have looked young enough to be a high school student but she had no business treating me like one.

Mrs. Johnson – Or should I say Old Mrs. Hands In Her Pants?! She thought no one noticed her unzipping her pants to tuck her shirt in, but we did. She didn’t seem to care about anything because we cheated on every stinkin’ test we took in her Biology class. We learned so much in her class! NOT!

Mrs. “Spanish Bitch” – I can’t recall her name. She never took the time to help those of us who were having difficulties. I would have done better than a D had she taken a little extra time. She graded on a curve so that while 90% of the class did well and got good grades, the rest of us didn’t. Well, at least it wasn’t an F.

Miss Kung – This Chinese woman drove me berzerk! She taught Algebra and I had such a hard time understanding her, it’s a wonder I even passed her class. The hardest part of Algebra for me were word problems. Miss. Kung would get up in front of the blackboard and write and chatter and then turn around, point her finger at me and say, “What does that mean, Debbie?” (Remember she was Chinese so imagine her saying that in her choppy Chinese accent.) My screeching loud response was always, “I don’t know!” I don’t think I learned a thing in her class.


I’m sure if I thought about it a bit harder I’d come up with a few more good teachers and few more bad ones, too. These are the ones that stick in my brain! I think most were most likely good teachers but just not memorable to me. How many good and bad teachers can you remember from your childhood or beyond?




When I was a kid I can’t remember a time that my mother wasn’t trying to make me feel stupid. I don’t recall her ever telling me that I did a great job. She criticized me a lot; told me that I colored outside the lines or one sock was up higher than the other…things like that. I don’t recall if she ever even told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. To be fair, just because I don’t remember doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

But I DO know that as a teenager I DO remember. She never gave me praise for a job well done. She took every opportunity available to make me feel stupid, to make me feel that I wasn’t smart enough to excel in anything. If I showed interest in a certain class or activity, she would do everything she could to let me know that I wouldn’t like it, or that I wouldn’t do well. Many times, when expressing my own opinion she responded with, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Granted, teenagers think they know more than they really do but they should never be stifled the way I was.

Mom always made me feel like I was wrong for being smart, that somehow I wasn’t allowed to be smart. I know now though, that it was HER problem, not mine. She didn’t have but an 8th or 9th-grade education so she was very resentful that I had a better education that she did. Things were different back when she was young, and I was afforded much better opportunities.

To this day, I get angry when people talk to me like I’m stupid. I literally SNAP. Visualize Bruce Banner getting angry. There ya go. I know it’s unintentional most of the time and I choose to let it go, but when it happens over and over again? Enter The Incredible Hulk!


An Insight Into Autism

My “other daughter” has become a very invested, loving parent not only to her own biological children but to 2 step-sons as well. This is her wonderful opinion piece and I hope you will give it a read. I dare you to walk away without getting it in the ‘feels.’ Please do share, and share again…..

Autism: 4 Reasons Why I will Never Accept the Statement “I hope they don’t find a cure for autism” by Alyssa Anderson


   I was sitting in Phase I training soaking in all of the knowledge I could in order to help my step-son who has autism advance in learning. I understood that his autism was something that made it hard for us to communicate. Sometimes we speak the same language, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes he would understand what I meant when I said, “I’m going to get some milk.” He knew I meant “Alyssa is going to get some milk.” Other times, I could say that exact same sentence, “I am going to get some milk”, and this time his response is “Ah! I don’t want any milk!” Yes, those pronouns are sometimes tricky. He processed it as “Colton is going to get some milk.”

   Yes, I was there sitting in training hoping I was determined as Temple Grandin’s mom. I wanted to learn his specific language. I wanted to break that language barrier. I wanted to break that barrier so we could talk and learn things from one another about things way bigger than who wants milk. I wanted to help him count money. I wanted him to understand what rent was. I was soaking in this information like a sponge, and then I heard something that made me angry. Instantly I realized that I didn’t understand why this person said what she did and what she said made me so mad.

   This “autism specialist”, our team leader, was explaining that her son had aspurgers. It was wonderful hearing her talk about his quarks and about how much she loved him. Then she said something that had me seeing red (a metaphor Colton wouldn’t quite understand). She said, “I hope they never find a cure for Autism. Actually, the world would be a lot better place if everyone had Autism.” That statement was made to me about 8 months ago.

   I understand very well that my thinking and opinion is often in the minority, therefore I said nothing. Often, I have to research the opposing opinion and sometimes I realize I’m in the wrong. So, over the next few months, I combed through the comments on news blogs and social media posts with titles like, “Mother of Child With Autism determined to ‘Kick Autisms Butt”‘. Once again, I found that I was holding the minority opinion. Comments similar to “how dare you try to change your child, he is who he is and you not accepting that means you don’t love him” riddled the comments. Out of hundreds of comments, maybe ten said “good job, momma”. Out of thousands of reactions, there were few “likes” or “loves” and plenty of “angry” and “wow”. Yes, wow can be on the fence, I understand. Moving forward, I had to ask myself as I often do when my opinion differs: Why? Why do I still feel like I would want a cure? Why am I not convinced? I agreed with their statements like “My son isn’t any less of a person because of his autism”, but I didn’t agree with people ridiculing other parents dealing with autism as trying to “beat it” or advancing their children’s learning to hopefully one day function in society like Temple Grandin. She is an amazing person whose mother never gave up on her. In fact, just like stated earlier, I wanted to have her mother’s determination. Temple’s mom is a hero! That was one determined momma. (If you don’t know the story, look it up. It’s not fiction. If you don’t want to read about it, there is a movie. Watch the movie and the bonus features. You will see Temple herself, and you will most likely cry.)

   I thought long and hard, trying to understand the popular opinion. After a considerable amount of time thinking about my opinion and why I felt that way, at 3 am this morning (yes this thought has been plaguing me enough to keep me awake sometimes) I zeroed in on 4 main reasons why I can not accept the statement, “I hope they don’t find a cure for Autism.”


   Before I start my list of reasons, I want you, as the reader, to understand a little about Colton. He is somewhere between “low functioning” and “aspurgers”. He babbles, but he can speak English. Forming complete sentences in normal conversation isn’t always something he does IF you can get him to hold a conversation in the first place. His favorite word is “no”, and he’s doing this new thing, “Shush! I am the great shusher” when you say something he disagrees with like “eat your vegetables”. He flaps his hands, gets frustrated easily, jumps around, and he does this high-pitched, loud squealing thing and squawking thing when he’s excited watching his movies or playing games like “you’re a dirty old man” with his dad. He is a joker, a prankster, has a wonderful love for his brother, he is exemplary at art, he loves animals, and he draws funny cartoons. One time, he drew me with wings flying in the air, and my arms were open wide, welcoming the children floating around me that were all in the fetal position. He kept saying about the picture “She’s going to love us. That Alyssa is going to love us!” Oh, he is one sweet boy. Do not doubt my love for him because he certainly doesn’t. So here are the reasons why I couldn’t agree with our “team leader”.


   It is hard watching this wonderful, beautiful child cope with his condition. He is frustrated. He may not fully understand autism. He may not fully understand why he feels like he’s different than the majority of people, but he does understand that he IS different. He sees people communicating with one another with ease. He will watch (while looking away. He watches with his ears by putting one close to the conversation with his head slightly turned toward you) in bewilderment as I have a conversation with his dad. It’s so easy for us. I imagine it’s like sitting in a room full of people speaking Spanish while I only speak a little and can’t keep up with deciphering the words. He knows he can’t do that, and it frustrates him. How do I know? Well, no one talks to him here saying he’s different. We try to assimilate and treat him just like we would the other kids in our family. We don’t tell him, “you have autism”. Despite that, he makes statements like “My brain is sick” and “I don’t want friends” (obviously just trying to avoid having to confront his frustration at communication). He has even asked me, “Why do I have to be a human anyway? Why can’t I be a dinosaur? Being a human is stupid. Humans are stupid.” No, I’m not projecting. Sometimes he hurts because of his autism. He doesn’t speak everything on his mind. In fact most of his speaking is trivial and impossible like asking dad to make him a time machine so he can go back in time or asking me to make a DNA splicer since he knows I like Science. Him saying these deeper things are real to him. To him, they are not a joke or a fantasy. He sees the difference, and he doesn’t like it. No one pointed it out to him. Why wouldn’t a parent want for their child exactly what the child wants for his/her own self, especially regarding the struggle with mental health? Could you imagine him asking me to take it away and instead of helping if I could, I tell him “Sorry, I’d rather you have autism”? It would be wrong. I cried thinking about him being upset that “his brain is sick”, those were his words! So for Colton, that dear, loving, wonderful human being, I can not agree with the statement, “I hope they don’t find a cure for Autism.”


   Autism is a significantly broad spectrum. In no way am I downplaying aspurgers, I grew up with someone who had aspurgers. It’s very hard. However, I found it very insensitive for this mother of a child who has aspurgers to say, “I hope they don’t find a cure for autism” to the mother in the back whose child bangs her head up against the wall in a fit, bites bloody chunks of flesh out of her own arms and legs (most likely out of the mother’s arms too), who is incontinent, has sleepless nights, seizures, and people, the list goes on and on! It’s hard for parents to watch that, and I assure you, this poor child doesn’t want this for herself. It is very insensitive to simply say to this mother and child, who go through this daily, “Actually, the world would be a better place if everyone had autism.” My son does none of these self-harming things, but for the sake of these parents and children who experience it daily, weekly, or even once a year, I refuse to agree with the statement, “I hope they don’t find a cure for autism.”


   Oh boy, this is a conundrum. Not the first definition. No, it isn’t a hard question that has a hard-to-find answer. No, the answer is simple. In fact, it was the first thing we went over during this Phase I training. My son HAS autism. Everyone who has a child with autism can well agree with that. Autism is a mental disorder. Look up “mental disorder”, and you will see autism on the list. Just like a smart woman said at the beginning of Phase I training, we would not say a person IS ADHD, we would say they HAVE ADHD. The main and most important point of it: AUTISM DOESN’T DEFINE A PERSON. They are who they are and autism is a series of symptoms. It is so important, not just politically correct, to say this correctly as we talk about this condition. So then, why is this conundrum amusing? Put frankly, you can’t say “my child has autism” in one breath and “You don’t love your child because you want to “beat autism”. You should love them just the way they are” in another breath because the two sentiments are exactly the opposite. This is a heavy burden and a huge controversy for people with children who have autism, and people with children who don’t have autism cannot understand. Therefore, any person not directly caring for a child with autism has no right to an opinion for no cure (which I’m sure on these comment boards there were many), and their comments are null and void. Sorry. I love you all the same, but you cannot understand. So, now only thinking about the parents who have a right to an opinion and agree that they don’t want a cure, I tried to understand. Every comment section had hundreds of parents saying to other parents who would want to eradicate autism sentiments to the effect of, “how dare you want to change your child. My child is perfect, and I wouldn’t change them for anything. It’s who they are, and you need to accept that.” Ah ha. There it was. They were essentially saying, “My child IS autistic.” In their eyes, if their child didn’t have autism, their child would not be the same person. These same people, who would have another person’s head chopped off if they didn’t say “has autism” instead of “is autistic”, weren’t playing by their own rules. This is identifying autism as the person, not the disease. So I asked myself and pondered on it for a while, “Do I think Colton would be Colton if he didn’t have autism?” Yes, I do. He would still love art. He would still be hilarious and a joker. He would still do “Colton things”. Yes, he still be “Colton”, but he wouldn’t feel the frustration that comes with autism. That child mentioned earlier would still be the same child, but wouldn’t be hanging her head against the wall. It can be said of all mental disorders, “(insert any disorder here) doesn’t define who a person is.” If this is true, then how could my child possibly be a different person if there was a cure? If autism is truly a mental disorder like ADHD (once again: it is defined that way, don’t shoot the messenger), then how would you feel if a parent said, “I hope they don’t find a cure for ADHD” or “I hope they don’t find a cure for tourettes syndrome, depression, anxiety, seizures, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia..” Ok people, once again, the list goes on. I understand autism is different for each child and it is almost impossible to “cure” because no two children with autism are the same. Even the cause varies from person to person. Getting back on track, if it’s true that the disease doesn’t define the person, then how would they be a different person if somehow someone found a “cure all”? The cure would be for the symptoms. It would not result in some new person who is nothing like your old child being born into a more-grown-than-an-infant body. A person can not say their child has autism if their thinking doesn’t line up with that sentiment. Either their child HAS autism, and it doesn’t define the child, or the child IS autistic and would not be your “real” child should there be a cure. My child HAS autism, and I want to help him in any way that he wants to be helped. This is another reason why I can not accept the statement, “I hope they don’t find a cure for autism”.


   If I could get Colton to understand why bad things happen to good people (yes there is a satisfying answer to that question), this would help him. However, I can’t at this point. I can’t explain to him that someday all of his loving parents who love him greatly will probably die before he does. He will have to go on to live somewhere else. Most likely in a group home. Sure, he will most likely be older, but that doesn’t make it any less unnerving that this innocent person will be at the world’s mercy. I know we all want to give ourselves reassurance that at OUR group home, everyone loves my child. At OUR group home, there are no sexual predators, and no one takes advantage of MY child. Reality: I’ve worked in homes and have seen first hand the neglect and two-faced actions of many caregivers. Not all caregivers are that way, but I assure you, every child and/or adult living in these homes will be exposed to one or more people like that. Oh, and that nice caregiver, the one who genuinely cares, (speaking from experience) will turn in abuse and neglect to the administrator and they will say something exactly like this: we have investigated your claim, and we have determined that this situation met at least MINIMAL care requirements. Yes. Minimal is just fine in their book. After all, the worker to resident ratio is way overwhelming, so how could they possibly be taken care of properly. Too many residents, not enough workers. I will not kid myself. Sure the staff will be wonderful when you’re there visiting, and the abuse and neglect will be on a smaller scale for those whose family visits often. That girl who was abused in the care facility I worked at had no one. No visitors. No family (who did exist) came to see her. She got the brunt of it the abuse, and no one helped her. I will never send Colton to a residential place, and I can only hope and pray that one of our other children steps up to the plate and takes on that large responsibility. Yes, it scares me on a deep level. What is going to happen to this wonderful child of mine who has a problem counting money and may never be able to live on his own? He’s 14 now and for the future safety and well-being of this growing human (yes he is a human, not a dinosaur as he longs to be), I cannot agree with the Statement, “I hope they don’t find a cure for autism.”

   Yes, four reasons why I can not find it in myself to agree with this heart-wrenching statement. Yes, I realize I’m in the minority. Yes, I’m sure there will be more “how dare you” comments or thoughts from anyone able to read this. Yes, I understand that the world we live in isn’t able to solve his problems fully. Yes, I know his only real hope for his safety and cure for this disease that does not define him doesn’t rest in the hands of this world’s system and maybe not even Science. Perhaps someday someone will find a cure, but I’m not counting on it. I just can’t bring myself to agree with the statement, “I hope they don’t find a cure for autism”. We have to be there for those who want to help their children beat autism. So next time you see someone trying to defeat it for their child and if the thought to ridicule them crosses your mind, don’t.. Try to understand their opinion like I tried to understand theirs. I wrote this for people to try to understand. Don’t claim superior parenting by degrading their hopes for their children because “THEIR child has autism”, not “their child IS autistic”. Paraphrasing a loving mother of a child with autism, “Leave them alone. We all have a journey with autism, and this is hers.”