5 Imitable Traits For The Ineffective Teacher


1. Be elusive

Your classroom should have as much as possible in common with a speakeasy; provide no directions and post no signs. Change the location of the class as many times as you can, but wait until the last minute.

Should students eventually discover the classroom, reward them with an uncomfortably warm space filled with cheap, plastic, child-sized furniture.

Reassure your students’ suspicions that they are in fact having a nightmare by taking your time and showing up fashionably late.

2. Be mysterious

Don’t introduce yourself. Don’t communicate, in any way, why you might be a reputable source of information. Act like you’ve just escaped from prison or maybe you’re in witness protection hiding from the mob. No names, no personal information — You’re not there to make friends, so keep the personality to a minimum.

If the students can understand you or your perspective, there’s a tremendous risk that they may pay attention to the material you’re presenting. Worse yet, if they find you relatable they might try to emulate the desirable portions of your personality. Yuck.

3. Be nebulous

Give your students the opportunity to draw their own conclusions. Give them the joy of figuring it all out on their own.

Don’t introduce the subject material. Don’t mention why people might want to know this information or how said knowledge can be applied.

Knowledge is most effective when it’s sprung on you unexpectedly. The entropy of a perfect crystal at absolute zero is exactly equal to zero. See what I mean? Teaching. I’m doing it, you’re doing it. We’re changing lives.

If a student asks for more information or further explanation, let them know that this just isn’t the time or place and they should read a book that you can’t remember the title of by an author who doesn’t exist.

4. Be secretive

Use a tiny display. Think Apple Watch small. No one should be able to see what you’re doing. Students don’t need to see what you’re doing. Learning is a leap of faith.

To that end, ensure that no materials are made available before, during, or after the class. You know what they say: what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom. If at all possible, don’t even prepare materials — take the class for a wild ride as you wing the entire thing.

5. Be self-reliant

Don’t bring a teaching assistant. Running around the room to answer everyone’s questions is a perfect way to stall. If people really wanted to get through all the material, where were they when you were writing those final chapters last night?

Running the class solo is also an amazingly effective means of driving home that edgy loner vibe you’ve been finely crafting over the past decade.


Remember: knowledge is dangerous and ignorance is bliss. Do your part, apply these tips, and I guarantee that you will leave your students frustrated, confused, discouraged, and perhaps with an overwhelming desire to hurry home to author satiristic blog posts.

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