Off topic: Which are the childhood teachers you recall as being the best or the worst you had?
Thread poster: Juliana Brown

Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:50
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 11, 2009

Because I am (thank goodness) swamped with work, I felt it was a good time to start a thread which would take my attention away from iticon_smile.gif.

Which are the childhood teachers you recall as being the best or the worst you had? My husband loves to tell us about his 3rd grade teacher in Buenos Aires who was so nasty to the kids that one day when she fell off a chair, no one went to help her because they hoped maybe she'd die!

None of mine were that bad, but there was one history teacher when I was 11 who used to throw chalk at us if he thought we weren't paying attention, and he threw it HARD. One boy ended up with a black eye one day and that was the end of the teacher (who was actually quite interesting and funny). Oh- and a teacher who started off the year once by telling me "I know your teacher last year thought you were clever. Well, I don't." THANKS!

My best teachers were those who knew me best, including a high school French literature teacher who let me sit and read what I liked during class "while the rest of these bozos figure out which way to open the book", and my first grade teacher, an elderly man who had fled Europe during WWII and kept teaching until he dropped. He spoke Hebrew with a very strong German accent, and we mocked him mercilessly, but he loved all the kids and used to bring flowers for the girls on their birthdays.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-06-12 04:02 GMT]


Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:50
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My worst teacher Jun 11, 2009

I had many good teachers at school, but there was one teacher we did not like. He was a Chemistry teacher, a Scot hailing from the Glasgow area, and had fiery red hair and an equally fiery temper. His catchphrase was "Empty your mouth into the bucket or I'll kick you out the room". (spoken so loud you could hear him in the corridor).

His Scottish accent was so strong that no-one could understand what he was saying, and every third word was followed by "uuurh", a grunt-like sound. As a result, I failed GCE Chemistry even though I actually like the subject.

On the funny side, years later I was in Rio de Janeiro on a bus with my mother, we heard the sound of the bus bell and burst out laughing as it was just like this teacher's grunt!


Ivette Camargo López  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nice idea for a chat Jun 11, 2009

Worst: I am not sure if it was my worst one, but it was definitely the most unsual. It happened when I was in 7th grade (what in our school system is called "first year" of high-school). My school was bilingual (English-Spanish, originally founded by Americans), so we had all our classes in English, except the Spanish classes (though this changed later).

There was this Science teacher, a very old American lady who had been teaching in our school I think since it was founded (no exaggeration), and I believe she was already more than old enough to have retired, but it seems she liked teaching, so everyone always ended up having her for one of the Science courses. She was petite, slim and had a very thin voice, and spoke little Spanish with a heavy American English accent (which she spoke when she wanted her students to pay attention), so you cannot say that she had much of an "imposing" presence, and thus she always had discipline problems in her class.

One day our class got her so so mad, that she had a paperweight holder, made of glass, and in order to stop all the chit-chatting she stamped it with all her strength on her desk, which, oh oh, happened to have a glass covering the top surface. The glass cracked and made such a heavy noise (which was probably heard in the whole school), that the whole class froze and watched terrified. Luckily nothing happened to her or her hand, but we were so shocked that we never misbehaved after that and, in the end, we were really sad when we learned that she finally stopped teaching.

Best: My favorite ones were two of my Spanish literature high-school teachers, one also a theater actor who enjoyed reciting poems for us. He could really make you imagine all the images and metaphors of poems with his deep and enchanting voice. Both of them taught me so much about literature and writing, I owe my writing/reading habits and love of literature to them.


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 05:50
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Favourite Jun 11, 2009

One of my favourite teachers was my Dutch literature teacher in High School. He was also the director of our school orchestra and the music critic for a large newspaper. Apart from great lessons in literature, he also taught us a lot about classical music and sometimes brought records to play in class. He had connections to all the theatres and concert halls and was often able to get us half-price, or even free, tickets to concerts, operas, and plays. All in all, we learned a great deal more from him than the topic he was supposed to teach and it enriched our lives.

[Edited at 2009-06-11 15:53 GMT]


James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:50
Russian to English
+ ...
Everybody has them Jun 11, 2009

Worst: My third grade teacher, who described my penmanship as being "like chicken scratching." Toward the end of the school year there was a rumor going around school that she got drunk at a picnic and took her pants off while screaming, "I've got ants in my pants!"

Runner-up: A Russian teacher at the Defense Language Institute who had a notoriously bad temper. Everyone hated her, and in one class session (all of us were privates) we treated her so badly that she ran out of the room crying. The head of the Russian department came in and lectured us. He made us realize that even bad-tempered people have feelings, and we mended our ways. We all got along much better after that.

Best: My 11th grade math teacher. He treated us all like adults and even made trigonometry interesting. I remember winning a dollar from him in a contest to solve a "think-out-of-the-box" puzzle.


Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:50
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Great topic! Jun 11, 2009

Hi Juliana, and thank you for this great topicicon_smile.gif

I must admit I've been very lucky with teachers, most of them were really dedicated and willing to teach us not only subjects but Culture in general. So, here's my best teachers ever:

* my secondary school English teacher, a very cheerful woman. As soon as we could read something longer than "hello, how are you" she signed us up to a penpal program and always encouraged us to try as hard as we can.
She actually is the one to "blame" for my passion for English and literature, I clearly remember the day (I was about 12-13 years old) when I gave her my first unsolicited translation - some of Spoon River Anthology poems, I've always been a troubled childicon_wink.gif -, she gave me one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen

* my high schools Physics & Science teacher, a very strict woman with a real passion for her subject field and for teaching. She rarely smiled or joked, but she really could hook my attention even when talking about superconductors!

* my primary school teacher, a really passionate woman who could handle 25 noisy kids (6 years old, figure it out) by herself, teaching them to read and write and - above all - to THINK. She's been my only teacher for 5 years and every single year when summer came along she wrote us a farewell letter with lots of meaningful advices. My favourite one was (and still is) "when you visit a new country don't be a turist, be curious and it will be much better".

* last, but not least at all, my Italian Literature & History high school teacher. She probably was the most cultured person I've ever met, I remember her lesson as a true blessing for mind and spirit. Her lessons were full of knowledge (not notions, there's a big difference!) and definitely inspired my strong love for words and their meaning.

... I'll note down the worst ones some other dayicon_wink.gif


Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 13:50
German to Serbian
+ ...
Math and chemistry Jun 11, 2009

High-school anecdotes.icon_smile.gif

I can recall when I was in grammar school, my math teacher was very demanding, but that was not a problem, the thing is that he enjoyed putting students down verbally calling them stupid, incapable and what not .. He would keep saying that our blood-relative is the 150 degree angle because it's not "sharp" enough. He used various metaphors which probably wouldn't retain the appropriate tone when translated into English. Nobody really liked him, however, I just thought he was a clown, and didn't pay much attention. He also enjoyed giving F-s and really bad grades, and would value other teachers high only if they gave a lot of bad grades too. One time, he was leafing the teacher's book where all the grades are noted, seeing many students had F-s in English ( our English teacher was ultimately demanding, you had to know practically everything for a C), and then he told us that our English teacher was the best of all because there had been a lot of F-s in the English class. Fortunately, he didn't torture me much because I had high grades. I was a good kid.icon_biggrin.gif

And I liked my chemistry teacher who was also our supervisor. She was a well-organized chemistry expert and always knew how to make her classes interesting and engaging. I enjoyed studying chemistry just because of her, and I was even preparing to take pharmacology as my major at the Uni, but eventually changed my course for languages.

[Edited at 2009-06-11 22:08 GMT]


Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:50
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The Bhutanese education system Jun 25, 2009

My physics teacher. He was from Bhutan and an absolute loony.

- He refused to waste his time checking homework, and had a rubber stamp of his signature so he could just sign things without looking

- He rigged up one of those old-fashioned pencil sharpeners as an electric-shock machine, and every lesson we could choose a student of our choice to put his finger in and get a shock.

- He once made us search for a mistake in a question from the course book for 30 minutes - only to discover that the "mistake" was that the question contained a split infinitive (I remind you that he was a physics teacher)

- Every year he would bring Bhutanese monks for a visit to the school, and try to sell us stamps to fund their village projects

- He gave smarties to students he liked (me!)

- It turns out he is an OBE and Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Bhutan!

= one of the best teachers i ever had!


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:50
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Late wisdom Jun 25, 2009

The ones I hated more when I was young are the ones I remember more dearly today, as they were the ones who actually managed to teach me things.


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
English to Spanish
. Jun 25, 2009

The very best teachers I had were my Spanish Lit. and English Lit. high-scool teachers (go figureicon_razz.gif).

Óscar (my Spanish teacher) was flexible enough to bend the rules a little and let me choose part of my reading material for the year, after realizing that I'd already read about 90% of the compulsory books. He encouraged me to discover new authors, let me borrow books from his personal collection and was a great support. We became good friends during my senior year -though he's about my dad's age- and remain friends to this day (about 15 years later)... we regularly communicate through MSN, e-mail each other, and get toghether for coffee or dinner whenever I visit my hometown. I admire and adore him to this date.

Unfortunately, I lost contact with David (English Lit.) after school, since he moved to another country. I would've loved to keep in touch.




Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:50
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Long time ago. Jun 25, 2009

My favorite teacher wasthat woman in 6th grade, I was 11 years old. She motivated us with special exercises and comments written in cards. She sowed in me competitivity, cooperation and success.

I will remember her forever as she is one of those who have stamped unerasably my life with love, respect and knowledge.

Unfortunately, I don't know where she is.


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