Imagine a teacher as foul as rotten eggs, as cruel as the long and harsh winters of Alaska, yet more successful than other teachers at educating. It’s quite shocking, stupefying, and quite ironic to believe that those rotten teachers we called “inhumane” or even “idiotic” may actually be doing their job successfully. A teacher’s job mainly consists of three tasks: to educate students about certain topics, recognize the potential of their students, and cultivate and enhance their students’ potential. So how does a teacher as wicked as a witch, like the French teacher in “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” manage to meet and surpass those expectations?
“If I am walking with two other men, each of them I will serve as my teacher,” is a proverb that Confucius spoke. Everyone in their life has taught another individual. It matters not what they taught, how they taught, or where they taught; it only matters if they were successful or not. With various teaching formats and endless opportunities to implement those techniques, it isn’t easy to pinpoint the one method of teaching that works best.
However, it is apparent that when a stimulus is attached to a certain piece of information material, the learner manages to recollect and recall that information with a higher success rate. Most of us use the same method to tell the difference between what is “hot” and “cold.” Still, how can we attach a stimulus to a certain piece of information?
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The answer lies within the foulness and putridness of those cruel teachers that we have all experienced. Embarrassment, shame, sadness, anger, and rage – are all emotions, which is a form of stimulus. By attaching a certain feeling to a certain piece of information, an individual is more likely to remember that information. David Sedaris’ French Teacher was a horrid person.
She would embarrass the students when they made a small mistake, curse and insult her students in French, and completely demoralize and kill students’ self-esteem. (Sedaris 381) It appears like a plan to convince all the students to commit suicide, but that is far from the truth. By demoralizing and embarrassing the students whenever they make a mistake, that mistake is attached with the emotion of embarrassment and is recollected more accurately.
By insulting the students using complex terms the student fails to understand, the student will slowly understand and remember more vocabulary as those words are attached to anger and sadness. Tell me, would not you remember the words if your teacher said to you, “I completely abhor you; you are always aloof, boring, and puerile to the point that it makes me gruesome!”
After receiving constant demoralizing lectures from his teacher, David Sedaris soon noticed that he could finally understand everything that his teacher was saying. Instead of lowering his self-esteem, the horrid lecture brought back his chivalrous spirit to learn French. He smiles at the teacher as he finally understands what she is doing the entire time. (Sedaris 382)
As ironic as it sounds, cruel teachers actually are helpful and are good instructors to learn from. They use a seemingly incredulous and appalling technique but, in reality, is quite successful and remarkable. Even though moans of sadness and anger can be heard for some time after the instructing first begins, the result is positive, as shown in “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” Maybe one day, we will reflect upon our lives and thank those that made our lives seemingly hard for our own benefit.