I’m the typical woman when it comes to my studies. I always followed humanities path. Sometimes during my childhood years – I think it was primary school – I decided I wanted to become an archaeologist. I didn’t have the rosy colored image of digging and finding lost treasures and solving mysteries as many of the kids have (lots of them want to become archaeologists) but I was rather more into research. Since then I flirted with less feminine jobs so to say including truck driver and train engineer. My parents were quite an authority when it came to my studies so in the end I had to choose something that would get me an university degree and a job.
How was I drawn to humanities though? Archaeology belongs to humanities but it involves a great deal of science though. It started in secondary school to be more exact. Then we began studying, besides mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics. I was very excited to learn new things and I never thought for one second that I would hate any of these subjects. I was wrong. After I met the teachers and especially their style of teaching, I started loathing these subjects.
To start with, the teachers were women well in their 50’s and had a horrible style of teaching. They followed their teaching schedule and had absolutely no interest if we remained with something after the class or not. It gave me the impression that they didn’t even enjoy what they were teaching. We got into the lab very few times and there wasn’t enough material for everybody to do the experiments. They went really fast when teaching and when you asked them to repeat smth. because you didn’t understand, they called you stupid. “Didn’t I explain that thing once? Are you stupid?”
My biology teacher got a weird pleasure in teasing me for an unknown reason. In fact, at a test she marked two of my good answers as wrong and when I confronted her about that she didn’t take it too well. Since then she was always testing me – getting me in front of the class to recite the previous lesson and to draw cell structures on the blackboard. And insulting me occasionally. I remember that one of my pens dropped on the floor (unintentionally) and she started yelling at me saying that she’ll throw me out of the class if I don’t behave. Plus commenting on my outer look or making snarky remarks about me and my back then boyfriend.
I can’t say I hated the respective subjects but the teachers made them so horrible, I had no will to learn them anymore. And another thing specific to my birth country were the private lessons. All students took and are taking private lessons in order to succeed at exams because most of teachers fail to do their duty in class. If you don’t have private lesson with your class teacher then you should expect small grades for no reason. That’s what happened with me in math. Although my dad knows math and he was helping me, the grades started going up the same time I started private lessons with my math teacher. Which was weird, because I can’t say my math improved at those private lessons.
I do look back at these things sometimes and cannot help but wonder if my path had been different would it not been for so bad science teachers. Maybe, maybe not. But one thing I know for sure: I don’t hate these subjects and they are not particularly difficult for me. My interest in sciences came back across the years to the point that I am reading medical books just for fun and I want to learn chemistry as I wish to specialize in conservation.
I didn’t realize the power of a teacher until I had to deal with bad, uninspiring people who represented a field and basically turned a subject (that was otherwise interesting) into a repulsive burden that one needs to pass in order to get a diploma.