What Doesn't Kill You, Might Make You Dumber, But You Also Get Some Good Stories
Much has been written about the inspirational power and profound consequences of having a good teacher-- but there's a dearth of information on the importance of having a few bad teachers along the way: truly mean people (like my fourth grade teacher) and incompetents and weirdos may not put us pedagogically ahead of Finland and Japan, but these folks do make our kids tougher, more jaded, and provide them with loads of entertaining stories that they can pass along to their own children (I lost twenty-five points once on a test because I didn't have the proper heading . . . and if you had a certain gym teacher in our high school, it was pretty much a forty-minute free-for-all melee with the floor hockey sticks, day in day out . . . and then there was the guy who made the high school kids race around on those little scooters . . . etcetera, etcetera).