“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I come to you with my hair a wet mop atop my head and a steaming mug of Snooze & Snuggle tea in my lap. My disgruntled appearance has more to do with my hellish week than the topic, but it’s still a pain to write down this confession. Enjoy my discomfort.
Every student has THAT class. The class that makes you want to burrow back into your covers every weekday morning. The class that inspires stomach cramps and makes you debate if an education is really worth it (I know you’re all picturing one in your minds). The class that makes you wonder if giving it up and being a stripper would be that terrible (If I had the body and some sense of rhythm, I would). For me, this was not a class, but an entire subject: math. I hated numbers and figured out I was doomed the second they started defying my sacred letters and throwing them into the mix. My loathing was mainly due to the fact that I did very poorly in math. With its numerous formulas and rules, I felt as if my mind were playing catch up from the time I sat down in a desk to the time I walked out of the classroom. There were years where the particular math classes came easier with the help of a good teacher, but I always tended to move slower in any form of math class. I, however, did not experience true hatred for the subject until I received the teacher that completely pushed me off the edge into mathematical misery: Mr. Prynne.
Mr. Prynne was one of those unfortunate souls who doubled as coach and a teacher, and he taught Algebra 2 at my local high school. He was short-tempered, rude, high-handed, and (most importantly) an inadequate teacher. He started every morning (yes, he was the first thing I saw in the morning) with the same routine: morning work, new lesson, daily work, assign homework. He never varied it up, and if something were to corrupt his routine, he would resume a snappy state that would last all morning. Every single day, he would speedily buzz through the lesson, waiting for no one. His lessons usually contained minimal examples, and if someone were to ask multiple questions, he would become frustrated because he had “clearly” just explained it (I mean, who would ever need to ask a question? Don’t all people understand material the first time they hear it? Come on!). Things such as extra credit and curved grades were non-existent, and he maintained his way of teaching from day 1 to-day 180. The monotonous cycle never shifted, and his brusque attitude never took a day off (Even if he did). His teaching skills aside, the man was a rude human being. He maintained a sarcastic smirk on his face 24/7, even when he was angry. He taught with it and answered questions with it (which does great things for a struggling student’s self-esteem). Questions were usually answered in a way that made one regret asking; Mr. Prynne had a skill for making others feel stupid. When he had concluded with his daily lesson and he had assigned us our daily work, he would sit as his desk and continue to smirk at phone (Not creepy at all). On days where he was less ill-tempered, he carried an extremely over-enthusiastic attitude. His sarcasm was usually at an all time high on these days, and our sour high school faces only seemed to piss on his good spirits, so his good days were short-lived. His bad days, however, we could see a mile away. He was overly gruff and was quick to yell at us over insignificant things such as asking him the date. The man was an emotional roller-coaster, and he was the reason I busted my bum to do well; to get out and never have to see his face again.
I never thought I’d see a day where I’d find Mr. Prynne’s harsh teaching and attitude beneficial, but that day has come. Even though I despised the man, his mechanical teaching routines are burned in my brain, and I find myself looking back to all the things I learned in his class. Despite his loathsome personality, his straightforward methods are what I use to study my college algebra course. My current teacher tends to go around the world to explain one little problem, but I remember Mr. Prynne’s basic formulas and shortcuts. While my current professor proceeds to “chase the rabbit,” I’m moving on, skipping through the assigned work with ease without the help of her long, drug out processes, and my answers are continually correct. I will never be a mathematician, but my current scores are surprisingly high for an English major who hates all math classes. It burns me to admit it, but I have Mr. Prynne to thank for that. I spent years focusing my spite towards him and his atrocious demeanor, but his lessons seemed to have sunk in. No, I have no intentions of calling up the pitiful creature to confess my discoveries, but I’ll always know he is one of the main reasons I’m succeeding now (Let’s pray he doesn’t read this).
Who would have ever known that the man I had come to despisee would be my savior in college? Not I! So (because I’m a huge coward), I want to thank Mr. Prynne (mentally!). I also wish to remind the general public that the things that seem horrid and ghastly at the time can eventually be of use to you in the future. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that Mr. Prynne would be helpful, but here I am making a liar out of myself. So, look up and forward to the things you can’t predict. Based on my findings, I want to leave you with a slice of advice: live through each unpleasant experience believing that it will help you to grow in the future. Whether it does or doesn’t, you won’t know till later, but it will help make things look a little bit better (hopefully). It might make all of your Mr. Prynnes a bit easier to bear.
“I am still learning.”