/ Did you have a Teacher that put you off a subject for life?

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deepstar - on 07 Nov 2012
I have always been interested in science,astronomy etc but when I was at secondary school I had a maths teacher who was particularly cruel.I was a regular receiver of his attention and he would stand behind me when I was struggling with a logarithm or some such problem that I would never use in my adult life and say "Right then B**** now`s your chance to shine"!and smack me really hard round the ear,now I know that this kind of behaviour would not be allowed today but back then(the 60`s)it was fairly common.The result of this is(I think) that I am now useless at numeration of any kind.Does anybody else think that their future was changed like this?
cragtaff - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: To blame ones dis-satisfaction with life on a single person who one encountered for a couple of hours a week in early life is not a reasonable thing to do. Look closer to home.
3 Names - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:

So would you say, teachers are irrelevant to an education?
timjones - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:
> (In reply to deepstar) To blame ones dis-satisfaction with life on a single person who one encountered for a couple of hours a week in early life is not a reasonable thing to do. Look closer to home.

I'd tend to disagree. Teaching a subject poorly is inexcusable, a teachers job is to inspire their pupils and if they can't be bothered they should move on and find another job.

I'd cite physics and PE as the 2 subjects where piss poor teaching put me off a subject. Fortunately I discovered the real practical fun side of physics for myself. I still believe that ball sports are for weak oppressed bullies ;)
Wonko The Sane - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: No. I had a few who didn't make it interesting, but it didn't put me off for life.

In the main though, I'd say most of my teachers were pretty inspirational. Particularly my physics teacher. That said, even though I dislike religion, my RE teacher was pretty inspirational too, teaching me things as an atheist using a cultural context.
GridNorth - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: My maths teacher at school told me that I would never pass a maths exam. In a way he was right as I failed my GCE maths but when I started attending technical college to study electrical engineering something must have clicked because I always got more than 90% in all my C&G and Higher National exams.
EeeByGum - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:
> (In reply to deepstar) To blame ones dis-satisfaction with life on a single person who one encountered for a couple of hours a week in early life is not a reasonable thing to do. Look closer to home.

That was my initial thought, but on further reflection I completely disagree. When you are in your early teens you are exceedingly impressionable and easily manipulated. To be walloped around the ear every time you show interest is not a good way of getting the best out of someone.

Are you saying that the dog that cowers in the corner every time someone enters the room because it was abused as a pup is a symptom of its own free will and that it should man up and get on with its life?
Jaffacake - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

No.

While I had teachers who put me off subjects in the short term I don't think I ever had one that did permanently.

I did have teachers though who took a previously despised subject and turned it into something I could live with, that took a previously boring subject and turned it into something I loved and that took a previously interesting subject and managed to make it amazing.

I must have had bad teachers, I just don't remember them, I struggle to remember the 'OK, not bad, not great' ones, but I still think about some - the ones that really inspired me or gave me a passion for something I never thought I could have interest in.
deepstar - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:
> (In reply to deepstar) To blame ones dis-satisfaction with life on a single person who one encountered for a couple of hours a week in early life is not a reasonable thing to do. Look closer to home.

I may have put it very clearly,I am certainly not dis-satified with my life.I was just trying to say that a subject which I probably been very interested in was spoiled by a sadistic teacher.Luckily I was to encounter a general science teacher who was enthusiastic and witty and who started the school caving club hence sparking my love for the hills and the natural world.
deepstar - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: Sorry,should read "I may not have put it very clearly"
nw - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to cragtaff)
> [...]
>
> Teaching a subject poorly is inexcusable, a teachers job is to inspire their pupils and if they can't be bothered they should move on and find another job.
>
>
Poor teaching is inexcusable, but I don't think it is practical to expect teachers to provide 100% of the inspiration for kids 100% of the time. As mentioned above, contact time is often only a few hours a fortnight, with up to 30 kids in a class and a whole range of boxes to be ticked - admin, assessment, discipline, mandatory items in the curriculum etc. This doesn't always leave a lot of leeway for being inspirational. Some of the enthusiasm has to come from students, and behind enthusiastic kids are usually supportive homes where learning is encouraged.
Also, I dispute the idea that learning should always be fun and exciting:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/11/david-mitchell-comment-is-free
Ava Adore - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to cragtaff)
> [...]
>
> I'd tend to disagree. Teaching a subject poorly is inexcusable, a teachers job is to inspire their pupils and if they can't be bothered they should move on and find another job.
>
> I'd cite physics and PE as the 2 subjects where piss poor teaching put me off a subject. Fortunately I discovered the real practical fun side of physics for myself. I still believe that ball sports are for weak oppressed bullies ;)


Exactly the two subjects I would cite. The only options for PE at my secondary school were hockey and cricket, both of which I hated. Once we played volleyball which I loved but we didn't have the opportunity to pursue it.

A few years ago I did the OU's Science Foundation Course and I remember being blown away by the beauty of particle physics. Maybe it was just that particles hadn't been invented when I was a lass. ;-)
Jim C - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: No but I found out later my daughter did, she feigned illness and dodged all the classes and studied at home.

(Must have worked as she got the highest score , and therefore the prize for that subject- but then they did not give it to her.
(for bad attendance !!! )
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:

Lol, ukc at its best

OP recounts being victim of assault while a child by an adult in a position of authority, says it put him off maths, first reply invents problems the OP doesn't have, and then blames him for them...

deepstar - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: Thanks for that,I was completely mystified by Cragtaffs response.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

Yes, this place is baffling at times...!

Thankfully random violence seemed to have been removed from education by the time a was at school, though the threat of the belt was still there

Generally my teachers were ok, though I can't remember any that were actually inspirational.
Cheers
Gregor


Ps love your profile picture, looks terrifying!
Trangia - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

My two worst subjects were Maths and Latin.

I received extra coaching in Maths from my headmaster, a Mr French. He had the ability to make the subject INTERESTING to the extent that I turned a corner and really got into it eventually taking A Levels in Pure Maths and Applied Maths as two separate subjects.

Sadly I never found a teacher able to inspire me when it came to Latin. I struggled through the Common Entrance exam and gave it up a year later.
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

Mr Messent, English Literature. Tw*t of the highest order. Ruined some amazing books that we studied in his class. Loved the sound of his own voice and didn't like other peoples opinions if they differed to his!

Wherever you are now.... I bet you are still similar to a blokes manhood.
dissonance - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

my history teacher had a fairly good attempt resulting me in binning it off for geography come GCSE time although i have got back into it.
Maths i think would be more tricky since its not like there is the same range of general reading for it.
You could look at studying it again, either evening courses or the OU starting with maths which seems designed for those who got pissed off with it at school.
Big Steve - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: in a similar vein, I was put of vegetables for life by my mums cooking
timjones - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to nw:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
> Poor teaching is inexcusable, but I don't think it is practical to expect teachers to provide 100% of the inspiration for kids 100% of the time. As mentioned above, contact time is often only a few hours a fortnight, with up to 30 kids in a class and a whole range of boxes to be ticked - admin, assessment, discipline, mandatory items in the curriculum etc. This doesn't always leave a lot of leeway for being inspirational. Some of the enthusiasm has to come from students, and behind enthusiastic kids are usually supportive homes where learning is encouraged.
> Also, I dispute the idea that learning should always be fun and exciting:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/11/david-mitchell-comment-is-free

I'd agree that teachers can't provide 100% of a pupils inspiration but surely 1% shouldn't be beyond reasonable expectation ;(
Andy Say - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: I can't remember a single teacher that put me off anything. I CAN remember the ones that gave me an insight into their love of a subject and gave me encouragement as well.
abseil on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:
>Did you have a teacher that put you off a subject for life?

Yes, exactly that happened to me. I was a young teenager in Physics class in a very good school decades ago. I was talking quietly with a boy beside me when the teacher crept up behind us, grabbed our chairs, and pulled us both flat sprawled out on the ground. Put me off the subject for life.
paul walters - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: Mr Lee Jones. Welsh Championship Gymnast in the 1970's and 1980's and my PE Teacher. Effectively scotched any ambition I might have had of doing ANYTHING sport-related. Ridicule and scorn are not good encouragements for a gawky pre-pubescant boy on the edge of his peer group........ I hope you realise how much you affected me. You bastard.
TryfAndy on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

The main PE teacher at school was a grade-A cock, and that did put me off team sports a bit. That and his idea that PE is an actual subject that matters, not just an excuse to have a kick-around with your mates like we all saw it.
PixieNinja - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: in secondary school I was put in the bottom set for history, after scorning 99.5% in a test the teacher didn't move me up as 'she liked me too much to let me go'. She did move the little shithead that caused trouble all the time though.
highclimber - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: as a trainee teacher and a former pupil of a school I can sympathise that a poor teacher can affect your outlook on that particular subject.

I am training to be a Science (physics) teacher and making physics interesting is quite difficult as you are dealing with concepts that generally don't follow common sense and real-life observations.

Most people I've spoken to about how they were treated at school in the 70's and 80's were very negative and generally abusive.

Today's reflective teaching practice is much more skills orientated and differentiation is key for accessibility for all we teach.

It's hard work, I had a yr 7 lesson today on mass and weight and trying to get the point across that they are different things was quite difficult given they've had a primary education of sub-par science which is sometimes downright incorrect!
SARS on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

I was slammed against the wall by the geography teacher and deputy head of the school where I did my GCSEs. I guess he thought I was an unruly and scruffy oik - which I probably was. It hadn't helped that I had dropped the subject a few months before our exams were about to begin.

After that, as my friends had been with me to witness the episode and he came around to realising what he had done - ie basically physically assaulting a student - he was the nicest guy ever to me. Previously I had to sit at the back of the class as I was no longer studying his subject - after that I didnt have to attend at all.

However, he wasn't the reason I hated geography. I didn't like geography because I had no idea what the hell it was about. I couldn't have cared less about CBDs, and the rest of it seemed like pseudo science.

Mathematics on the other hand I excelled at. And numerous shite teachers didn't change the fact.

If anything put me off school, it was the rug rats who were my fellow pupils. Most of whom now have ended up where they deserve.
Dave Kerr - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to SARS:
> (In reply to deepstar)
>
>I didn't like geography because I had no idea what the hell it was about. I couldn't have cared less about CBDs, and the rest of it seemed like pseudo science.
>

Lots of topics in school geography are massively out of date and bear no resemblance to where the subject is at now.

But I guess you could say that about most school subjects.
Robert Durran - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to deepstar) as a trainee teacher......

......Today's reflective teaching practice is much more skills orientated and differentiation is key for accessibility for all we teach.

Please could you translate into plain English. I can tell you are on a teacher training course!
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scottie390 - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: my geography teacher put me off foreplay for life
Dave Kerr - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to scottie390:
> (In reply to deepstar) my geography teacher put me off foreplay for life

That was in a film. It didn't actually happen in your life.
MG - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> ......Today's reflective teaching practice is much more skills orientated and differentiation is key for accessibility for all we teach.
>
> Please could you translate into plain English. I can tell you are on a teacher training course!

I almost asked too!? He seems to have missed "pedagogy" somewhere. Does it mean "Learn from mistakes and pay attention to all pupils"? It would be harder to spin that out in to a year's course!
In reply to deepstar: I had some great teachers - especially my 3rd yr history teacher Mr Headley, who gave me a lifelong interest in history and sparked my interest in Russia.

My issue with the teachers was that some of them were psychos who shouldn't have been working with children (Mr Kelly you evil f*cker) and some, in subjects like music and art, basically only taught the kids who were already good at them, which kinda misses the point.
cragtaff - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: Teachers are just too easy to taget and blame for the failings of kids, they spend minimal time in school and lots of time with their families. Most teachers I know are dedicated and trying their best, but loads of families are disfunctional and do sod all to teach their kids decency and morality, but it is always the teachers and schools who get blamed.

Bad kids are more likely to be the product of bad families, not bad schools, although some schools will always struggle to maintain any king of standards in areas where feral families outnumber the decent ones, and who can be surprised at that.
highclimber - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to scottie390:
> (In reply to deepstar) my geography teacher put me off foreplay for life

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIuC--xXMXI
Hooo - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:
Not one particular teacher, just every PE teacher I ever encountered. I blame them for my lifelong hatred of any sort of competitive sport.
Dave Kerr - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:
> (In reply to deepstar) > Bad kids are more likely to be the product of bad families, not bad schools, although some schools will always struggle to maintain any king of standards in areas where feral families outnumber the decent ones, and who can be surprised at that.

What a nasty little post.
dissonance - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:

> Bad kids are more likely to be the product of bad families, not bad schools, although some schools will always struggle to maintain any king of standards in areas where feral families outnumber the decent ones, and who can be surprised at that.

you are confusing different questions.
Sure the parents are responsible for the overall behaviour and, generally, willingness to learn for their children (some really good teachers might overcome this but they need to be really, really good) however for the specific question from the OP about interest in a particular subject then it will mostly be the teachers, unless the parents have a deep interest in that particular subject themselves.
timjones - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to cragtaff:

>
> Bad kids are more likely to be the product of bad families, not bad schools, although some schools will always struggle to maintain any king of standards in areas where feral families outnumber the decent ones, and who can be surprised at that.

You appear a little confused. We're not talking about bad kids, we're talking about kids who are put off a subject by poor teaching.
Gordon Stainforth - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

It's so tempting to talk positively about teachers that turned you on to a subject. But that would go against the general grain of UKC discussions.
bluebealach - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: My French and RE teacher had such an affect on me, that I was bottom in both subjects through out my school life as I remember.

Don't think he put me off a subject, but certainly influenced my grades in these two!!
highclimber - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> ......Today's reflective teaching practice is much more skills orientated and differentiation is key for accessibility for all we teach.
>
> Please could you translate into plain English. I can tell you are on a teacher training course!

I can tell you didn't pay attention at school...

Reflecting on your lesson and how it can be improved.
Differentiation is making the same lesson accessible to two different ability pupils by altering the content according to their needs.
highclimber - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> I almost asked too!? He seems to have missed "pedagogy" somewhere. Does it mean "Learn from mistakes and pay attention to all pupils"? It would be harder to spin that out in to a year's course!

The word pedagogy annoys me because I don't know how to say it and its much easier to say teaching method
Philip on 07 Nov 2012
My a-level physics teacher was only interested in teaching the syllabus, my chemistry teacher filled in the gaps and was inspirational with chemistry. I chose to read chemistry at oxford and had a lovely 7 years learning all of chemistry and just a bit of physics. Quite glad my physics teacher had not been as inspiring or I might have ended up a physics geek. It is far more fun to make big bangs than study one :-)
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> I can tell you didn't pay attention at school...
>
> Reflecting on your lesson and how it can be improved.
> Differentiation is making the same lesson accessible to two different ability pupils by altering the content according to their needs.

You do know Robert is a teacher, don't you...?
Dave Kerr - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> I can tell you didn't pay attention at school...
>
> Reflecting on your lesson and how it can be improved.
> Differentiation is making the same lesson accessible to two different ability pupils by altering the content according to their needs.

Would you feel like a bit of a wally if I were to tell you the chap you are replying to was a teacher? ;-)
Dave Kerr - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Ha beat me to it!
Ridge - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:
Erm..all of them? Maybe it's just me, but our comprehensive in the 80s managed to turn every subject into absolute tedium. I was always really interested in science as a youngster, and read all sorts of technical literature. Then I turned 12 and science became sitting on a bench doing experiments with knackered equipment and copying dull stuff off the blackboard. Looking out of the window counting the days till I was 16 and could escape was more stimulating than the other subjects.
Maybe I'm just not academic, but even in the days of free uni education I'd be surprised if our school managed to enthuse even 5% of the students into further education.
highclimber - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> You do know Robert is a teacher, don't you...?

No, why on god's earth would I know he's a teacher - it's an internet forum.

besides that, I was being facetious at worst!
Robert Durran - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> Differentiation is making the same lesson accessible to two different ability pupils by altering the content according to their needs.

And all this time I thought it was that weird thing you did with the indices in powers of x.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:

Well I don't know Robert, but I'm aware he's a teacher from his postings. I think its quite well known on here that that's what he does, but also reasonable that.you may have missed it, thought it would be worth you being aware given the way the exchanges were going...

Cheers
Gregor
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to deepstar)
>
> It's so tempting to talk positively about teachers that turned you on to a subject. But that would go against the general grain of UKC discussions.

I did.
Robert Durran - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
> No, why on god's earth would I know he's a teacher - it's an internet forum.

Because only a teacher would make fun of such educational gobbledygook?
Dave Kerr - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

I blame people. I mean imagine letting a little thing like a teacher put you off something...
highclimber - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Hey, no need to tell me about gobbledygook! I have to listen to it when at university and write about it in the pointless assignments we have to do that have nothing to do with the act of teaching!
marsbar - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: Probably the opposite for me. If I hadn't had such a crap maths teacher I wouldn't be one now! He told me I would fail and I'm stubborn. Meanwhile I did well in history by answering exam questions on stuff we weren't taught because our lessons were so boring that I used to ignore the lesson and quietly read the text book for something to do.
RockAngel on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: i had a diabolical teacher at college when I did my HNC. she was a teacher from a different department doing overtime and did the ecology module. I ended up leaving her day and attending the same module by a better teacher on a different night. I learnt more in the new teachers classes than i did in 4 weeks of hers. Unfortunately, she had to mark my assignment and exam and lowered my grade quite severely because I had complained about her to the department head and left her class. I still passed the module with an average merit but was marked down for really silly reasons.
butteredfrog - on 07 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

Hmm as another poster replied, 80's comprehensive. We had an art teacher who was an alcoholic and disappeared into the storeroom at every oppertunity, sometimes for whole lessons. A PE teacher who was only interested in a kickabout with his mates (ex proffesional footballer), very little of any other sport for him. An English teacher who hated kids, and French teacher who was an absolute psycho.
To cap it all (at the time it was the best bit) they were all perminently on strike, so we finished at 1pm every day for two years.
ThunderCat - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to butteredfrog:

Well we had a PE teacher who treated the sporty kids as their best mates, and the chubby, unconfident, uncoordinated ones (ie me) as fu**cking embarassing scumbags. Might go a way to explain why I hate sport so much (or I might just hate it because I still am chubby, unconfident and uncoordinated. I dunno)


I also have a very vivid memory of a very early day in the infant school, where were were all given a picture of a snowman and a tree that we had to colour in. I thought I would embellish mine a bit by drawing hundreds of little circles over the top of it (supposed to be snowflakes...). the classroom helper took a look at it, told me it was rubbish, that I was stupid and that I'd ruined it.

Distinctly remember that feeling of pride being crushed and replaced by shame and disappointment. I wish I'd had the faculties to stand up to her and tell her that she was a fat disgusting pig of a woman who shouldn't have been allowed to work with kids. But instead I started to cry.

C*nt of the first order. When I left the school, she was still a fat, disgusting pig of a woman.
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ThunderCat - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to ThunderCat:

On the other hand, Mr Thompson - my form tutor and RE teacher in comprehensive school. A blindingly kind and patient bloke who everyone respected and thought the world of. No longer with us, but the blueprint of what a decent teacher should be.
ThunderCat - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to ThunderCat:

I've got a mate called Robbie who struggled to read, but had to stand up and read a passage from a book. Managed a few sentences in a halting, stumbling manner before the teacher interrupted and called out "WHY-ARE-YOU-TALKING-LIKE-A-ROBOT"???

Class erupted in laughter, Rob sat down and probably didn't pick up another book from then on. And of course the nickname "robbie the robot" stuck with him for a long time.
Father Noel Furlong on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

I had teachers who put me off the very idea of life itself! B******S one and all.......

Quite funny because I ended up working as a teacher for nearly 20 years!!!
ben b - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar: Intriguingly, I had a teacher who managed to both inspire me in one area (biology) and put me off another (PE).

"Des" had a reputation for being a cold blooded psychopath with a barely controllable temper and a penchant for causing physical distress - like Begbie from Train Spotting but less predictable.

He was also, extraordinarily, a highly capable, deeply motivated biology teacher who treated his A level charges as intelligent, motivated, mature and valued our contributions. To the extent that once when I ended up copying someone else's homework with the same transcription error we were both absolutely gutted, and I learnt that the "only cheating yourself" adage is actually true.

For a couple of years as a spotty youth learning about girls, beer and making more mistakes than I ever thought possible I was treated as an adult, and most of the time I rose to the occasion. I may still have been where I am today without him (if you will excuse my mangling of the conditional perfect tense) but it would have taken years longer to "learn how to learn". It's been downhill ever since of course :-)

Quite why he was such a nutjob when he had a ball / stick in hand is a differnt question but is suggests that some of the reductionist arguments above are missing some nuance....

b
teflonpete - on 08 Nov 2012
In reply to deepstar:

I went to a good comprehensive in the early '80s. A couple of the teachers were a bit lacklustre but none of them put me off subjects that I had an interest in. The lacklustre ones were more than offset by some excellent and inspirational teachers, particularly Dave Watson, my chemistry teacher and Dave Herbert, the head of maths. Yes, sure, I had chalk marks on my blazer from the odd well aimed board rubber throw to maintain my attention but they both took a pupil who struggled to understand some of the concepts and produced a student capable of getting A grades at O level. Top blokes and good fun too.

College on the other hand, was awful. I left my apprenticeship 20 months in because I just couldn't bear to go back for another 6 week block release of abject boredom and insults from failed engineers. I learned more from reading text books on my own than from any of their lessons. 25 years of working in engineering bears testament to the fact that those miserable old men didn't put me off my subject of choice, but my successful engineering career is no thanks to them.

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