Mr. D. is my high school algebra teacher. He was a mathematical sadist—he loved inflicting mental pain on his students. Humiliation was his method for motivation, and sarcasm was his favorite tool for encouragement. I did average on most subjects but when it came to math, especially algebra, I’m a little slow; hence, I was always the object of his ego shattering attacks. Because of this, I developed physical reactions. I began to experienced cold sweat, tremors, and panic at the mere sight of Mr. D. But the worst reaction was that I began to hate math and math teachers in general. I also developed an irrational fear of anything that had numbers on and in it.
If Mr. D. were a little understanding and tactful, and if he knew how to motivate positively, I’m sure that my attitude and aptitude on the subject would have been very different.