How was school for you?

  • I am finishing an online university course similar to a post-graduate degree at an Italian University.

    The course is very poor and basically it is a self-guided study -- teachers don't explain, they give lectures in PDF and tests you afterwards.

    Whenever we tried to make questions, the teachers reply with 1-2 sentences and suggest to look up on the internet. They provide 2-3 URLs that do not necessarily address our specific questions. Some teachers snapped at us whenever they felt our questions weren't strictly related to their tests but to the subject in general. We paid a few thousands for this course and learned very little, but what is more enraging is some teachers' behavior. It is appealing how much of their personality can surface even from a very bare communication on an online forum.

    Most teachers I had in Italy (in public school) were very strict, some snapped easily, and it was normal because 'they knew so much' and it was considered 'the price to learn'. The bitter the teacher, the higher his/her regard. Which is quite stupid in retrospective...

    I am wondering if this is/was specific of the Italian school system or if it is a historical issue. After living abroad, I can see that outside of Italy such behavior would get the teacher fired, especially when the students are paying good money to attend.

    I am not saying they shouldn't be strict, but being formal and strict doesn't necessarily means to be insulting and snapping. What was your school experience abroad? I don't have fond memories of my school time in Italy!

  • How awful! In my public high school, there was a broad mix of kids who wanted to learn, those who didn’t mind learning, though they were more interested in the social aspects, and those who were there only because state law required it. The teachers responded accordingly. There were teachers I didn’t like, those I feared when I hadn’t prepared, and those who weren’t very good. But by and large, we admired our teachers and could feel our knowledge of their subjects growing, partly because they were generally very smart and kind, and we sought their approval.

    College (University) was much more intense. EVERYONE was there to learn, and faculty expectations were high. But even then, there was always the cooperative feeling that they wanted us to learn, just as we wanted to learn what they could impart, so there was a sense of being in on it together. I don’t remember ever having a professor lose it. No short tempers, no put-downs. Always mutual respect, although I remember some bitter feelings when I received some of my grades!

    It sounds to me as if you’ve had some teachers who either felt inadequate because they didn’t know their subjects very well, or hated their jobs?

  • I guess a lot of people hardened up because they grew up in the post-war era. My elementary teacher was about to retire, we were her last class. Back then, we had one teacher for every subject and she taught us for five years straight. She was an important role model in her students' lives. Sometimes she lost it, too... I remember her calling a moron a classmate of mine. We were 10 years old by then. The guy was really dumb, he managed to stick a pen cap in his nose and started yelling "Teacher, I can't breathe!". They rushed to the bathroom and she was able to dislodge the pen cap. This guy was one of those who triggered her the most.

    I think everybody is entitled to a bad day once in a while, but I can't stand teachers that are always grumpy and think that humiliation is the best form of education.