Yes, this was the worst teacher a 10-year-old boy could ever have.

I don’t remember what grade it was, but the experience was emotionally scarring. I did very poorly in Maths during one marking period. By very poorly, I mean, I failed.

The teacher held up my test score for the entire class to see. “Mr Williams got a big duck egg on his test”. In the West Indies, students are often referred to by their last name, and a duck egg is a zero. Imagine getting a zero on a test.

The teacher then proceeded to explain to the class that I was the only one who failed so miserably. It might not have been so memorable an event in my academic life had she stopped there. No.

She dragged me out of my seat and walked me over to the next classroom and ridiculed me in front of the class. Then the next classroom. In a short while, I was in tears, and now the entire school knew that “Mr Williams” was a useless, stupid idiot.

Yes, this was the worst teacher a 10-year-old boy could ever have. Fortunately, my parents were more understanding. They got me some after-school help. With effort, I was able to improve my Maths grade. I was the highest scoring student on the next marking period. In ALL subjects!

Sometimes life brings me the very thing I need. Perhaps if that teacher had not humiliated me that way, I might not have realised that with hard work, I could achieve. Maybe I would not have studied and received a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, a BA in Physics and a minor in Mathematics.

Or perhaps the teacher was an asshole.