Aren't you supposed to teach, you jerk?

Have I mentioned that my kids are geniuses? About 20 times a week you say? I can’t help myself-- I like to brag. I never thought I’d advise one of them to drop a class that they were having a problem with, though. But she can’t drop it even though her teacher is a jerk.

See my daughter, the math whizz, was put in AP calculus with the seniors even though she’s just a junior. She was put in the class because she is required to have a math class and this is the only math class left for her. What they plan to do with her next year is beyond me.

Anyway, she’s having problems understanding calulus. Everybody is having a problem understanding calculus. Her teacher, however, has picked my daughter out for daily humiliation because-- get this-- she isn’t failing.

Let’s start at the beginning. My daughter thought she failed the first weekly quiz but she didn’t. She was surprised because she didn’t understand what she was doing. She told the teacher she didn’t understand and he told her “What are you complaining about? You passed didn’t you?”

They had their first major test and she got a 75. She cried. Not because the score was so low, but because she passed! You see the teacher has been calling her to the board to do problems, most of which she can do by rote with absolutely no understanding of why it’s right, and then berates her for being a silly whiner. In front of the class. So when she took the test, sure she’d failed because she didn’t know what she was doing, she thought she’d get the attention some of the other students are getting. Instead she got a little note next to her 75 saying “I see no problem here”.

She never used to hate math. I’m getting her a tutor, but Lordy, what a jerk.

Reminds me of what my old math teacher said when I asked her a question: “It’s not my job to teach. Ask one of your friends.” :confused:

Time to contact the administration.

Get “Calculus Made Easy.” It’s a great book that explains the basic concepts of calculus and even goes a little further. I’m not taking calculus at the moment, but it made the concepts of derivatives and limits pretty easy to understand.

7’s right, past time to contact the higher-ups about this jerk. I remember having teachers in high school who thought it was fine to belittle teenagers to somehow prove their own superiority. Oddly, I don’t remember actually learning anything in classes taught by those jerks, I just remember getting into verbal flame wars. How sad that your daughter is trying to learn, what a novel concept for a student, and has to deal with this putz.

Ooohh, that just makes me so angry. It definitely is time to talk to the higher ups.

Way back in the day, when I attended high school, I was put into all of the college prep classes. Problem was, although I was an absolute whiz at English, Humanities, History, etc, I absolutely sucked at math. I always did well first quarter or semester, but started struggling the latter half of the class.

To make a long story short, I had one of the so-called “teachers” too. I did great on the daily work, but absolutely froze on the tests. I tried several times to ask for help, and always got the same response. “Hey, you’re in college prep classes, I shouldn’t have to help you. Figure it out on your own”.

To this day, I loathe math and feel like I don’t understand a thing about it. Hopefully, you’re daughter does not suffer the same fate.

Teachers who intentionally humiliate pupils in class are pond scum at best. What a great way to inculcate a lifelong love of learning. Another vote to contact the school’s administrators.

Amen to what Zenster said. It’s teachers like this that created the beginnings of what has turned into a lifelong math phobia. Wish my parents had known to go to the powers that be back when I was in elementary school.

Contact the administration. Take it all the way to the top of the school district or city assembly (whatever applies in your town), if need be.

When my daughter was in high school, we had similar problems with a teacher (not math) giving assignments and then changing the game several times mid-assignment and then blaming the girls (of which my daughter was one), and constantly giving the girls a hard time.

I first contacted her, and after I figured out she was a loonytune, I got with the principal. My daughter was allowed to transfer, and the parents of the other girls followed suit and were able to get their daughters out of the class as well.

One of my math courses in university was taught by the department head, which would seem to be good, but wasn’t. (Forget which course - involved riemann sums and derivatives of 2d surfaces…) I managed to pick up some of it, but had no idea why what I was doing right worked, or what I was doing wrong if it didn’t. I probably shoulda asked more questions, but it turns out most of the class was in the same boat, and that ended up being the only class I ever failed (along with a huge % of everyone else too).

OTOH, while he knew too much math and not enough about teaching to convey his knowledge properly, the man wasn’t a jerk. That prof seems to enjoy his position of authority, and having anyone actually learn anything might jeopardize that. Can’t say I have any suggestions on how to fix it - others here seem to though. If she’s doing the best, getting together with some of the other students and spreading some knowledge would be the best revenge. :-/

I can double vote on Calculus Made Easy. Good book.

And for gods sake, help your daughter enjoy math! It’s fun!

High school? That carries over to college, buddy. Mrs. D*****, the Satan of Speech… I recall the time that there was a guy fixing the phone line in the classroom, during class, and she pointed to him and told everyone, “This is why you need a college education.”

I didn’t really start liking (or more accurately, appreciating) math until I got to high school.

Except for one bonehead’s class I got tossed into for a semester, all of my teachers were great. I wasn’t a math genius, but I wasn’t scared of it either. English, math, and orchestra…those were my favorite classes.

I think it’s quite possible that her math teacher isn’t that knowledgable in the material, and it’s easier on his ego for him to pass students along. To actually fail students would be an admission of his own inadequecy.

She should ignore him and rely on books and maybe a tutor. It seems like he’s just confusing her.

I can totally identify with this. I spent a year struggling with calculus at school. I could do it, it was pretty easy, but all by rote. I never really understood what exactly I was doing and why.

So suddenly, when the final exams expect you be able to understand which formula to apply and when, I was in big trouble.

I slipped from As to Ds in the space of that one year and Mathematics and I parted company for ever.

After I failed algebra in eighth grade, I had to make it up in summer school. At one point we asked the teacher (who was also the baseball coach) how to actually do all the work he assigned us and he replied:

“You tell me. You guys already took this class after all”

Advice from more than one really good maths teacher when I studied calculus years ago:

“When you first encounter calculus do NOT try and understand it.”

Unless you are a real prodigy you won’t. Some things are about learning and digesting, maths is about DOING. Hundreds and hundreds of examples; learn the method and, for now, do them by rote. Maybe in a year or two the light will dawn. Maybe not - and if you are not a maths major, it doesn’t necessarily matter if it doesn’t.

Again, ok your daughter is a genius, but she should not be even trying to understand this stuff yet, just learn the methods and crank mechanically though the stuff for now. Understanding will come considerably later. And hey, if she understands it quicker than that, good for her!! But to expect to ‘get it’ right now when fer-chrissake she’s only just encountered it, and calculus is a major system shock, is to invite burn-out.

BTW I am not a maths whizz.

Well, I’d have to humbly disagree. I’m not a math whizz either, but I had a few calculus classes in the college level ( which I have long since forgotten most of :slight_smile: )

Properly explained, I can’t see anything so abstract about say, derivatives, that would make it better to -not- try and understand. Finding the rate of change in a function is a very natural, practical application, that should be easy enough to explain, so long as the teacher knows how to go about doing it. Likewise with integrals. Heck, even parts of Algebra, I think, are harder to understand and model then calculus (imaginary numbers). At least beginning calculus can be readily applied to quite a number of real-life things.

The problem with most public high-school math course is that you aren’t being taught by a mathemetician. Your being taught by a football coach. I struggled through fairly elementary highschool algebra classes - the teacher ( a volleyball coach and phys-ed teacher ) may have known the material, but he didnt know how to explain it, much less how to explain it from a number of different perspectives. I dreaded math.

Once I got into college and had the pleasure of being taught by an actual mathemetician, I loved it. The Prof had a passion for the stuff, a general interest in getting folk to understand the material, and could explain said material a dozen different ways, if it were required.

Sympathies to the OP. It seems to be a case where the teacher does not fully understand or grasp the material being taught. 8( . Even a decent book on calculus could probably explain the material in a better fashion.

I went through the same nonsense, belive it or not, in high school I was very shy. It was a great thing when I finally realized that I should be proud of my superior understanding of math. I’m not siding with the teacher at all, teachers like this really pissed me off, and made it difficult for me to be comfortable in their class. But if your daughter can overcome her self-doubt, and be honored that she is called on in class, she can make this class much more bearable.

Also, once this jerk-off teacher realizes he’s no longer making your daughter uncomfortable, he will probably start picking on someone else.

As far as taking all the math offered my her school, this happened to me also. I was able to take my first year of calculus at the local college before I graduated from high school. You may want to contact the local college and see if they have any special-situation student policies, your daughter may be able to take advantage of something like that.


Screw talking to the administrators. They can’t do anything to him. If he’s teaching a higher level math class, he’s probably got tenure, and the union will back him to the hilt. The absolute most you could do is get your daughter transferred out - helpful to her, but it won’t change this jerk’s behavior.

Instead, report his ass to the state credential/certification board. Request an investigation. Those guys can put sanctions on him ranging anywhere from “mentoring” to yanking his credential.

And another thing, don’t expect to get 90’s and 100’s on tests in college level math courses. I maintained a B+ average in college math by “showing my work and getting partial credit”. :slight_smile: