Sympathies for the Bad Teacher

We’ve all had at least one. Not just the teachers that weren’t nominated for Teacher of the Year. I mean the bad ones.

Fortunately, in my five short years of working in public education, I have only encountered two truly bad teachers out of about 40 great educators that I have worked closely with. They truly are a dying breed.

Although I’ve only worked with two, I guarantee that everyone has had at least one bad teacher. And one is too many.

If you didn’t know, it’s really hard work being a bad teacher. It actually takes a lot of effort.


  1. You hate going to work every day.

Like, seriously hate it so much that you can’t even pretend to enjoy it. We can see it on your face, hear it in your voice, and feel how much don’t like being with your students.  I have heard you tell students that you teach for the summer. I have seen you make a gun motion with your fingers to your head when students arrive in the morning. I have felt the sincerity when you told a student you didn’t care if they came to school. You don’t find it fulfilling, you don’t find it challenging, and you don’t find everyday meaningful and exciting. That must really suck for you.


2. You can make someone hate an entire category of knowledge all by yourself.

Anyone else would have a hard time convincing someone to hate all of mathematics or all of science in a conversation on the street. You, however, can instill a devout hatred of one whole subject in a student that can last a lifetime. You read straight from the textbook everyday, you don’t explain things well, and you don’t take the time to be available for your students. You give copious amounts of lectures and tests and never have class discussions, activities, or field trips. Even I get bored sitting in your classroom and I’m a huge nerd. It takes a lot of work to be that boring. You must be exhausted.


3. You can destroy a person’s self-esteem in one instant.

I’ve seen you do it. You tell a student that they had a dumb question, you’ve rolled your eyes when they had an honest concern, and you’ve laughed at them when they couldn’t answer a question correctly. You remind certain students, in front of the whole class, that they’ve failed the past 3 tests. You’ve called students liars, brats, and idiots to their faces. You purposely call on students when you see that they’re not paying attention. I’ve never understood why you do this – why do you want them to be embarrassed that they don’t know the answer? They know that they weren’t paying attention. You know that they weren’t paying attention. Why does the whole class need to know? It has to be tiring trying to appear so malicious.


4. You are battling your students everyday.

You have no classroom management skills. You are constantly “shhh-ing” students, sending them out into the hall, and expecting them to be quiet 100% of the time. You get upset when they don’t follow the directions that you did not verbally and visually display for them. You make the same students spend half their time in the principal’s office and then get upset that they aren’t learning. You think that students should be naturally motivated, hard working, and respectful instead of meeting them where they are at. You think that teaching is about you and not about them. You want your students to learn how you teach and you’re not willing to teach how they learn. You don’t give your students choices or ownership in their education. Fighting those battles everyday must really get you down.


5. You are unforgettable.

I have only personally worked with two of you but you have left quite an impact. And you were my peer, not my teacher. The effect that you have had on my students makes me absolutely outraged. The fact that the good teachers need to undo the damage that you have done makes me furious.  And the hurtful words from you that are left ringing in children’s ears can be life changing. Being that notorious is certainly tiresome.


So rest your head, bad teacher.

The evolution of education is slowly weeding you out.

There are now so few of you left.


I send my sympathies and I bid you adieu.

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