Public School Horror Stories

Hi all. I’m doing a report on the advantages and disadvantages of charter schools for my colllege writing class. I have most of my info., but am lacking an opener. If anyone has a really good public school - or private for that matter - horror story, and would like to share, I’d be most appreciative.

Star Light

I guess I forgot to mention that the paper is due Monday, as in roughly 3 days from now…

Please help!!

Rhetorical questions can make good openers if no one has a story for you.

As for stories, I have several, but I believe they are unrelated to the school (charter vs. public) so they would lend no credit to your point.

Thanks for your reply, Medea. I was starting to get a little worried.

Any story about a school experience will do, especially one about a teacher. I am focusing my report on how public schools of today are good in theory, but not in practice. Teachers in the schools are “certified” to teach, but in many cases, don’t know how to truly get through to their students. The children are then left with a whole bunch of useless information that is only memorized for the quiz, test, etc., and then forgotten. Being a product of many such teachers, I have had numerous such experiences, but we can’t use personal experiences. I seem to be just rambling now, so I guess I’ll end it here.

Please keep in mind that I am not looking for anything specific. At this point, anything will be helpful.

The private school I went to was a hellmouth of teenage misogyny, alcoholism, homophobia, and meatheaded rich kids. Imagine your chemistry teacher holding you a beaker of dilute hydrochloric acid and getting twenty other boys to pound on desks and yell DRINK IT! DRINK IT!

True incident.

The private school I went to was a hellmouth of teenage misogyny, alcoholism, homophobia, and meatheaded rich kids. Imagine your chemistry teacher holding you a beaker of dilute hydrochloric acid and getting twenty other boys to pound on desks and yell DRINK IT! DRINK IT!

True incident.

The reason you’re not getting many responses is that this is the Pit, where people come to flame. Also, you cross posted this question to IMHO, which is a no-no. While this thread will likely get closed, may I suggest you do a search on this board of “school” in subject only for all forums? You’ll find loads of info.

Exactly what sort of “horror story” do you need? I know of one teacher who was dismissed from my old high school for having a relationship with a student. I had to explain to one of my high-school teachers that “Great Britain” and “England” were (at least roughly) the same country. I had two points deducted from a semester test by a teacher who did it solely to prevent me from getting the only perfect score (I referred to the famous economist as “Mr. Adam Smith,” and she said it was incorrect to use the title “Mr.” for a dead person).

Thanks for the tip Zette. I wasn’t getting many posts, so I thought maybe another forum would be a better place for the subject. I’ll try the search.

Holy shit, Matt! What did you do -or whoever it happened to, if it wasn’t you? Was the teacher punished? Why’d it happen? (Sorry I’m so nosy). It’s just that…whoa…that’s really fucking shitty…and I used to be an education major, so things like this REALLY burn my ass.

While not nearly as horrible, I’m terrible in math, and (well, this was at a PRIVATE school, but still), I had a teacher harass me because I couldn’t get done with my work and she got the entire class to be pissed at me because we couldn’t have a free period. Bitch.
When I was in public school, our old male gym teacher would walk into the girl’s locker room while we were changing…or stick his head in the SHOWERS to tell us to turn off the water(-while we WERE wearing bathing suits, it still pissed me off-big time.) And he’d wear white swim trunks that, when wet were really revealing…he was SUCH a fuck!!!

My advanced algebra/advanced math teacher at my school is horrible. She’s the only teacher certified to teach the higher maths and she’s a bitch.
She doesn’t care if we learn or not, proven by the following examples.

***I was absent one day because of a scholar’s bowl meet during school. She refused to teach what I had missed over, refused to help me after school or during recess, and said I would have to get it from another student or fail the test.

***She has a mixed class of mostly seniors with a few juniors. When the seniors were called into the commons for an assembly, she went right on teaching to the juniors. When the seniors came back, she had finished teaching the subject and had moved on to the next one and refused to go back.

***She often covers two or three concepts in one day, refusing questions on each concept until she is done with them all. She also only will give you personal help for five minutes. If you don’t grasp it within that time, you’re screwed.

I had to respond, you were looking pretty lonely.

However I disagree with your point. Public schools do work in practice. Yes, there are some crappy teachers, but you are going to get that, not every teacher can reach every student. The best teachers I have had were in a public, ineer city school. They had chosen to be there because they felt that the kids needed them. They were given over full classrooms where 75% of the students had an immediate family member in jail and most of the kids did not know what it was like to know you had food when you got home. (I’m not kidding, this is my high school) These teachers took this kids and gave them knowledge, gave them an opportunity to accomplish. They taught music, theatre, philosophy and English to kids who were so busy trying to survive they couldn’t see why they would ever have to learn.

Some were touched, and learned. Some refused to be and dropped out. But the ratio was helped by people who were in an awful working environment, with below average pay, and stayed anyway. Its an almost thankless job that I know I could not handle.

I don’t know what alternative you propose in your paper, but there will be good, bad, and indifferent teachers under any system, and the same goes for students. The system doesn’t make the teacher.

You will find horror stories in any system. The best teachers I have ever seen are in publics schools (but so are the worst).

I have a love for math and physics that frightens most people and is often viewed as sick and wrong in a nation of people who curse math and applied math. I owe it all to a couple of great teachers in high school (public school). One of my fellow students, who was also so enthralled, recently passed his qualifier exams for the doctorate program in aerospace engineering at Stanford.

Public schools are not evil in general.

It’s been a long time, but in third grade, the teacher was a complete asshole. He chose two students and ridculed and harrased them the whole year. (Yes, I was one of the two students). It takes a ass fucking puke to destroy a Mother’s Day project publically in front of the class because I failed to do my spelling assignment. I’ve always wanted to hunt the SOB down and rip out his cold, black, dead heart.

I don’t think public schools are evil, but they’re like everything-you get some good, some bad.

On the other hand, the best teachers I have had are all in college.

Excuse me, Star Light, but aren’t charter schools technically public schools, supported by taxes rather than tuition?

Minnesota is where the charter school movement started, I believe, so, if you haven’t done so already, you might want to search for articles at (or, if you can, look up old back issues of the Star Tribune in your college library).

I was going to apologize for not having any anecdotes to share, but I just realized that I do, somewhat at least. My mother-in-law is an art teacher at a public high school in a fairly conservative rural community. She is a very creative person and has many good ideas, and, from what I’ve heard, many of her students just love her. However, she is now totally and completely burnt out.

Most of this burn-out stems from the fact that she constantly has to battle with the administration at her school over these creative ideas. She started the school’s website, and they weren’t too happy with that. She helped come up with an experiment that went up on the space shuttle a few years ago, and they didn’t like that, either, because of all the bother that caused. At her school, at least, the status quo is greatly encouraged by the administration.

Anyway, this year, she is sick of fighting it. While looking for a new job, she is (she says) putting in minimal effort at the school this year. All I know is that she didn’t go into her classroom all summer until the day she had to report back to work, which I gather is not usual for her at all.

I think the status quo is encouraged at many schools, as well as test results, rather than actual learning. Therefore, you have many schools “teaching to the test”, whether it’s the Iowa Basic test, the SAT’s, or the state “required for graduation” test. Facts memorized and regurgitated are “more important” in many cases than teachers “getting through” to students. You will see, if you read those Star Tribune articles, that some charter schools are said to be “failing” simply because they are unable to raise such test scores.

Nocturne, your teacher probably thinks she is preparing you for college/university with her attitude. She just fails to realize that high school is different from college for a reason.

Public school was wonderful for me. The previous 6 years of private school were a living hell.

Set up: I went to a public high school in the Midwest, with about 250 in my graduating class. There were (at the time) two high schools in the city system roughly the same size. Mine was the “inner city” school – not very rough, given this was a small Midwestern town of about 50,000 or so (besides this was in the 80’s before we started shooting each other at school). So it wasn’t like an urban high school in downtown Detroit or anything. Be that as it may…

Bad Story: I had an excellent Chemistry teacher, who was a complete goofball. However, I never understood a damn thing she tried to teach me. To this day, my definition of a “mole” is: “a small furry woodland creature residing in North America.” I was a mostly A student and consistently pulled C’s in Chemistry, only because my lab partner not only let me copy his labs, but he wouldn’t even let me touch the experiments. (I blew one up once!)

Why could she not get through? I am spatially oriented. She taught using methods which reached all the left-brained analytical, abstract thinkers. For us creative, visual types there was nothing to relate to. I couldn’t get the hang of all those damn chemical formulas because I couldn’t PICTURE them. Once she brought in one of those molecule models with the dowel rods and the colored beads connecting them – Blammo! My concept of chemical reactions improved considerably.

I had the same issues with the math teacher – and I went all the way up to Calculus. (And barely skimmed by.) I struggled and struggled with the math, because I can’t picture what the fuck (hey, it’s the Pit!) “x” looks like. (Solve for X? X is a damn letter! WTF?)

Conversely, I did excellent in Geometry and Trigonometry – they’re both very visual. All I had to do was draw the shapes in question and I could whip right through those exams. So bottom line: many teachers do not think to change their approach for those having trouble. I think after college, teachers forget that kids learn in different ways and most do not want to take the time (or are not able to take the time) to find another way of explaining things so that we art-freaks of the world can graph a damn curve. And yes, BTW, I have actually had occasion – as a journalist/writer/editor – to solve for X in Real Life, for my Real Job. And I did apologize to the math teacher for insisting she was an idiot for trying to teach me something I would never use. I was wrong. I used Algebra in everyday life. Who woulda thunk it?

Good Story: I had the best journalism teacher in the world. She taught me everything I needed to know to become a journalist before I got out of high school. I majored in Journalism in college and found myself completely bored by the end of my junior year – I still hadn’t learned anything she hadn’t already covered for me. We produced a little school newspaper, so I got the hands-on, visual aspect and I also took the classes to get the book-learning theoretical part of things. She made me work – hard – but I feel confident that I’m pretty damn good at what I do now as a grownup and I owe it all pretty much to Mrs. Kay who saw that I had talent and took the time to help me find ways and resources to develop that talent. She gave me not only the foundation of knowledge, but took the time to build my self esteem and confidence at the same time. I’ve written to the school board and the city newspaper to publicly thank her – believe I nominated her for teacher of the year a few times. She rocks! (And is still teaching in that same school!)

All those teachers I mentioned above- same school. And, I find it interesting to note that, on every single standardized test I ever took, I scored higher in science than in English and language skills (which were pretty high to begin with). For example, on my ACT (sorry, I didn’t take the SAT) I scored 31 in science – the top score score is 36. In the language section, I scored somewhere in the high 20’s – maybe about 27 or 28? (It was a long time ago.) I don’t remember the other portions, although I do know my math score was the lowest, but still above the national average. Not that any of us care about my stupid ACT scores.

My point: throughout my 13 years in American public schools, it was never pointed out to either my parents or myself that I have a knack for science. I am a girl, so therefore, I was guided onto a path emphasizing my language skills, rather than anyone considering development of my science skills. I was scared away from medical and scientific professions because of my inability to count to 20 with my shoes on. (You can’t get through the math. Why don’t you take “Yearbook” instead of “Physics?”)

My Other Point: I think that the quality of education in private schools, vs. charter schools, vs. public schools are all basically comparable. There are so many other factors involved, that I don’t think any real conclusions can be drawn based on the school systems themselves. Some factors I think, that drive how rewarding the educational experience for the students:

  • How much effort the student is willing to put in.
  • How involved the parents are in their childrens’ education – and do they continue the education process at home, or merely flip on the tube when Jr. gets home?
  • The budget for the school system - sometimes suburban schools get better funding than inner city schools. And private schools are far better funded. It’s not the only thing… just one of the things.
  • IQ and maturity. I’m sorry, but the ole’ genetic crap shoot has to come into play here. By that same token, I’m going to cite race and religion as well – we all know those standardized tests are geared toward white kids… or are they? That’s another thread I guess.
  • I had a number of teachers who went to college and majored in education in order to dodge the draft in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Needless to say, teaching was not all that important to them. So I have to say that I think teachers are all unique to each other. I would not generalize that all the good teachers work in suburban schools because the pay is better or choose to work in inner city schools because they can affect more change there. I think it’s all about the teacher as a person and what motivated him/her to go into education in the first place. And how much effort the teacher is willing to put in to educate her/his charges.

Final assessment: you get out of your educational system whatever you, your teachers, your community and your parents are willing to put into it. The question is: what have we been putting in? Garbage in-Garbage out? Not my place to judge…

Hope this helps you with your paper. Seems I’ve written it already for you! :wink:

You didn’t have Mrs Gaydos, did you?
Kidding. Really, though, that sounds like her. Also she was dyslexic, which isn’t a bad thing, but she would snap if we pointed out a mistake. She also claimed that if doctors can’t make mistakes, we shouldn’t either, not understanding that we were learning this shit for the first time, she wasn’t teaching out of the book so we couldn’t study well, doctors often work in teams and she was a shitty teacher anyway, so no wonder we made mistakes. There’s probably more she did, but I have tried to block her and that class from my memory.