Some people should not be allowed to teach!!

My Perfect Child[sup]TM[/sup] was so looking forward to taking Physics. I was also - it was my favorite class eons ago and I knew she would really enjoy it. Neither of us bargained on the teacher.

Believe me when I say that it takes a lot for me to describe a teacher as bad, and hers is really, really bad. They’re halfway thru the year and they’ve covered maybe 1/4 of the text. When they were on the chapter of conservation of energy, my kid was totally lost. I spent about 10 minutes showing her a couple of relationships, and it all clicked - she had it nailed! Bear in mind, I haven’t had a physics class since 1976, and I was still able to teach her a chapter in no time.

The killer came just before the end of the semester. For whatever reason, he never got his schedule in gear, so the kids never got guidance for science fair. When he finally got around to it, he declared that they didn’t have to do a display or any research - just do an experiment and write it up. Remember, this is Honors Physics. Had he been a halfway competent teacher, I would never have done this, but I allowed my Perfect Child[sup]TM[/sup] to rehash her 8th grade science fair project and turn it in. (She took this project to Regionals when we lived in Virginia - it was quite good and well above her level at that time)

Anyway, in order to meet his criteria, she had to remove a fair amount of the original write up because he didn’t specify a research paper or any background info. Oh yeah - she’s in the 11th grade now. And when he read her report, he said it’s one of the best he’s ever seen! She wrote it 3 years ago in middle school, removed half of it, and he still says it’s the best he’s ever seen. Now, I grant my kid is sharp, but she ain’t that sharp. Her teacher is worthless.

Yeah, mild rant, but it still ticks me off. She should be loving Physics! She should be twice as far into the text as she is! She should be planning to take AP Physics next year, but since this same teacher has AP, she doesn’t want to waste her time again.

Oh, have I mentioned that after I retire from my engineering job, I intend to teach high school - perhaps even physics! Or Algebra. Somebody needs to make sure our kids know something!! Goodness knows, this guy doesn’t…

I hated physics.

I hated the teacher.

He couldn’t teach worth a damn.

I remember learning about vectors both in physics and math analysis at the same time. When the teacher told us about it in MA, I understood it completely.

When I got to my physics class, even though it was the SAME subject, he might as well have been talking in Swahili for all I understood it.

He also told us (mostly college bound students) that as citizens of the United States we must either join the Peace Corps or the military. According to him, we had no choice in the matter…it was our responsibility as residents of the US.

Did your Perfect Child[sup]TM[/sup] ever talk to the teacher to say she was having difficulties with the subject?
Did you ever express your concerns to the teacher that perhaps they aren’t as far along in the subject matter as they could be?
Your daughter finds a project she’s already completed, repackages it with the minimal amount of work and submits it for a grade and for that you blame the teacher?

At what point, exactly, were we to get out the torches and burn this guy’s teaching certificate?

Sorry to hear that, FCM. I had a somewhat similar experience with an AP History teacher in high school. He wasn’t incompetent by any means, but he didn’t come close to teaching us the material that would be covered on the AP test at the end of the year. So while I enjoyed the class and felt challenged (and had fun writing a 10 page paper on the JFK assasination), I was wholly unprepared for the exam, and I scored a 2. Everyone I spoke to scored the same or lower, and of course even the most permissible universities only accepted a 3 or higher for course credit (my school actually required a 4 or better).

If she is interested in physics, why not take his next course and do a few extra-curricular experiments. It sounds like you’re both interested in physics (it takes all types :D) - so on top of your daughter getting an easy A you’d have fun together working on the projects.

Try to find out if other students of this teacher are having similar problems. If so, take it to the vps, the principal, and even the school board, if necessary.
A bunch of students in my grade 11 math class, and their parents, complained so much, that the new teacher was not asked to come back the following year. She really was a horrible teacher.

Ender - I have talked with the teacher… that is, as well as you can talk to someone who constantly goes off on tangents. That’s the main reason they’re so far behind - the man repeats himself constantly, gets off-track, continues to repeat himself, and says very little in the course of a conversation. I specifically asked him about Science Fair before school started. He said he’d give the information to the class within the first month. That was mid-August. He got around to it in November. He wanted everything turned in before the Christmas break. Considering my kid’s carrying another Honors class as well as 2 APs, 6 hours a week volunteering with kids, and her part-time job and household chores, there was no way she could do any kind of project in the short time he left them. FWIW, she fully intended to expand on the original project, since it was something that really interested her - but it couldn’t have been done in the time allotted. And if he can’t tell the difference between a middle school effort and a high school effort, it doesn’t say a lot about him.

And before anyone asks (I see on preview that Harli did), going to the principal of this school makes no difference, as we learned early on. Last year, a father sat in on the Honors Chemistry class to see why his daughter hated it so much, and tho he got that teacher changed for the balance of the semester, she’s back teaching Honors Chem this year. It seems they’re lucky to get warm bodies in front of the classrooms - extrememly lucky if the teacher knows the material and can communicate it. I do find it interesting, tho, that this school has made such a big deal about getting an IB program in place - perhaps it’s at the expense of the rest of the academic programs?

Well, you know, it happens. I went to a specialized science high school of very high repute and my physics class was seriously from hell. In terms of utter boring uselessness, not in terms of difficulty. In terms of difficulty it was very easy.

It didn’t stop me from taking physics in college from a professor who had written several books about physics for the interested layperson and was extremely engaging. All is not lost.

Awful teachers happen to the best of students.

Ender, it sounds like this guy is after a nice paycheck and a teacher’s union pension. Either that, or he’s unqualified to teach physics.

Honors students don’t take honors classes because they’re easy. They’re not supposed to be. At the same time, it’s the teacher’s job to communicate material to the students so it’s understandable. It sounds like he’s not doing that. Expecting a major science project with no background at all defeats the purpose of doing a science fair project, and it’s unfair to the students.

Look. You’re in school yourself. How would it make you feel if one of your professors couldn’t quite get it together? You’re paying top-dollar for your education; you expect to learn what this professor has to teach. Likewise, FCM is paying for her daughter’s education; she has a right to expect that her daughter will learn physics. End of discussion.


Well, you know, it happens. I went to a specialized science high school of very high repute and my physics class was seriously from hell. In terms of utter boring uselessness, not in terms of difficulty. In terms of difficulty it was very easy.

It didn’t stop me from taking physics in college from a professor who had written several books about physics for the interested layperson and was extremely engaging. All is not lost.

Awful teachers happen to the best of students.

This guy’s going to be teaching AP? God, what a shame. This might be a futile question, but if the whole AP class gets 1s and 2s, would the principal or any other administrator then see that this teacher is worthless? Is he teaching it this year, so that your daughter doesn’t have to suffer as part of the above group of 1s and 2s, maybe? How long has he been teaching?

The fact that she actually had to abbreviate her paper is just…terrible. You have my sympathies. Poor teachers with smart kids are the worst.
-The Wrong Girl
(who got sent to the hall in fourth grade for “reading too fast.”)

We’re both counting on this. Still, it’s so very disappointing that she’s having to sit through this class, then come home so I can teach her the material. She wants to study Mechanical Engineering, so this foundation is important.

When I was in college, I had a great Physics professor. He was kicked out because the text he wrote was largely lifted from other texts. Really sad, because he was good at explaining the concepts in the lectures. He published and he still perished.

And yet teacher’s unions are consistently against merit-based pay systems.

[Claude Rains] I’m shocked, shocked to discover that there’s gambling going on here. [/Claude Rains]

The Wrong Girl - he is teaching AP this year. Last year there was a different Physics teacher. The year before that there was a different Physics teacher. Ya think there’s a trend? All I know about the current guy is that this is his first year at this school.

I was thinking it might not be a bad idea for her to explore Dual Enrollment. I think they let those students go to the local Junior College to take the classes. We need to investigate that more for next year.

Look on the bright side, at least he’s not as bad as the chem teacher who made me sweep up mercury with a broom.

[sub]no, I will NOT stop talking about this.[/sub]

The whole planet? :eek:

Geez, as bad as her chem teacher was, she never pulled that stunt. My HS Chem teacher was marginal, but my chem lab partner set fire to his text book while goofing around with the gas jet on the lab table. I need to search on his name under Darwin Awards…

To clarify, I wasn’t saying whether I beiieve the teacher to be good or bad. I don’t know whether this teacher is good or bad. I don’t know whether he’s qualified or not.
I was merely stating that there is not enough evidence in the OP for me to be convinced that we’re dealing with a bad teacher here. After reading through it, I didn’t feel as if anything this teacher has done was enough to warrant him losing his job.

Some of the complaints seen a bit in conflict with each other as well. Your daughter couldn’t understand the material presented, but you also state that he hasn’t gotten through enough material. If they had gone through half the book instead of a fourth, wouldn’t she be even more confused? Perhaps the teacher is going slower because it’s difficult and not everyone can grasp it.

You said that she understood the material after talking it over with you for 10 minutes. That’s good, but I can’t automatically equate to a failure on the part of the teacher. People learn different ways and it’s more probable that you understand your daughter’s learning habits and are able to gear the teaching with that in mind, as opposed to a teacher with 30 kids whom he doesn’t know.

You know the teacher and I don’t. You’ve met the teacher and I haven’t. If you say he’s unqualified, well, ultimately there’s not much I can say to contradict that. All I can state is how it looks from my end of the computer.

When I took physics as a junior in high school, I had a top-notch teacher (who also taught the senior AP science class). A few years ago, he took early retirement as part of a program where all of the good, uh, I mean experienced teachers were offered bonus packages to retire early, so the district could reduce their salary costs by hiring new teachers right out of college. I’m sure that some of the replacements were pretty good. I’m also sure that few if any were as good as the best of the early retirees. And I’m very sure that some of the replacements were not good at all. Simple statistics, you know …

I shall now suppress a long string of profanity. I couldn’t even get HIRED this summer and am now subbing while this guy’s allowed to teach like that? I need to find a hard surface to apply my head to…

I had a science teacher in the ninth grade who was so awful, he used an orange to illustrate the three states of matter.

The logic went like this:

If you squeeze oranges, you get juice. That’s the liquid state.

The solid state is the form that you eat.

And if you boil orange juice, you get ORANGE GAS.

Fortunately, I graduated from the ninth grade unscathed, except now I can’t see an orange without thinking about all the orange molecules floating in the air around me.