• JK (unregistered)

    That is simply frightening, but also too true a demonstration of certain teachers competence. I've seen same kind of things happening...

  • Mickey (unregistered)

    Wait a second, are you saying if I declare stuff prive, people can still look at the code?

    lol

  • somebody (unregistered)

    I remember using that level of speech... when I was explaining to my (then) 4y-old son what thunder and lightning were. Still, I wonder how they could let someone with the comprehension of a 4y-old teach class.

  • Meh (unregistered)

    I remember leaving college because there was a mandatory class, 8 hours a day on Fridays for a month called "Surfing the Web". It was mandatory in the CIS program. The first day the professor was asked what ethernet was and she said it was like the internet, but not real, kinda like a ghost.

  • Heron (cs)

    Most high school "programming" teachers are more or less that incompetent, because they're not really supposed to teach that subject (mine was the golf coach and the very-basics-of-math-for-students-who-are-behind teacher). I spent most of my time in my high school programming class playing Starcraft - and it was supposed to be an AP class (good for college credit, if you pass the AP test). Only three of the thirty-ish students took the AP test.

  • w_e (unregistered)

    lol

    Because when you declare a variable private, the variable gets encrypted using the so-called "compiler". So remember kids - make everything private :-)

    You should have stayed for the rest of the class. I would like to know how you are supposed to work with classes where everything is private...

  • Luke Gaddie (unregistered)

    Sounds like my High School teacher. The school decided to start a "Computer Programming" class, teaching Java. This would have been alright, had:

    1. They not bought Java books that were a little more than 4 years old.
    2. If they had installed Java correctly on the computers as well.
    3. Had the teacher actually known the language and/or was interested in learning it.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't get admin access to permanently fix a few of the problems, so we managed with passing out .bat's to be run at the start of class. That still didn't fix all the syntax errors that, according to the book, were legal, but according to the compiler, were illegal.

    <3 Public School Budgets

  • bstorer (cs) in reply to Luke Gaddie
    Luke Gaddie:
    Sounds like my High School teacher. The school decided to start a "Computer Programming" class, teaching Java. This would have been alright, had:
    1. They not bought Java books that were a little more than 4 years old.
    2. If they had installed Java correctly on the computers as well.
    3. Had the teacher actually known the language and/or was interested in learning it.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't get admin access to permanently fix a few of the problems, so we managed with passing out .bat's to be run at the start of class. That still didn't fix all the syntax errors that, according to the book, were legal, but according to the compiler, were illegal.

    <3 Public School Budgets

    If I recall correctly, I took the CS AP test the last or second-to-last time it was given in C++. And our school's compiler of choice? Borland Turbo C++ 3.0. DOS-based, no namespaces, no STL. Good thing my internship had given me my own copy of VS6.0 and some newer C++ reference material.

  • Luke Gaddie (unregistered) in reply to Luke Gaddie

    Edit: Although, he did do a great job with the CompTIA A+ class. The content was all web-based and outdated by only two years :-)

    http://www.hardin.k12.ky.us/chhs/tsa/aplus/studyguideaplus.pdf http://www.hardin.k12.ky.us/chhs/tsa/aplus/StudyGuideAPlusII.pdf

  • John Doe (unregistered) in reply to bstorer
    bstorer:
    If I recall correctly, I took the CS AP test the last or second-to-last time it was given in C++. And our school's compiler of choice? Borland Turbo C++ 3.0. DOS-based, no namespaces, no STL. Good thing my internship had given me my own copy of VS6.0 and some newer C++ reference material.
    Great, so you still had no STL.

    (Hopefully you knew about STLPort or another STL library at that time.)

  • Nodren (unregistered)

    this is a great example at why the school system as it exists now doesn't work for teaching programming languages. Most other things they teach in school, math, science, history, etc have had many years of refinement(save science, but they generally teach you stuff that's been around for alot of years) programming languages are rapidly improving and growing. there is no way a brick and mortar building could keep up with having to buy and learn new curriculum each year... realistically online classes are the best, with the programming languages own documentation for learning material and tests that are slightly modified to reflect changes in the language.

  • Heron (cs) in reply to John Doe

    @John Doe:

    VC++ 6.0 has the STL... I know, because I did the same thing bstorer did (used VC++ 6.0 instead of what the class used). I still use VC++ 6.0 occasionally.

  • Brandon (unregistered)

    Too bad he didn't stay for the inheritance lecture... I believe every programmer should get his parents involved in software development.

    If he continues this career path, I just hope his programs don't get overloaded. If he did a little less message passing in class, he would know that encapsulating his source code in a steel container would make it more protected against volatile situations.

    But, maybe this isn't his field... maybe he should study how caterpillars use polymorphism to turn into butterflies.

  • quamaretto (cs)

    As much as I like these stories, it grates on me that the name of the school (if it's a college or university) is never included. These people deserve to be publicly discredited.

    I think in some past article, it was possible to determine the culprit (some unbelievable Ivy League school) by the use of VB, but this one would be quite a bit harder.

  • M J (unregistered)

    Man, once in a programming class I asked the teacher something about rendering order for a program i was making. I basically had some classes inside of each other, class foo would contain a bunch of class bars in it and would call the render function of each.. When i explained it to him, he said something along the lines of "Oh god you dont ever want to stick two classes inside of each other! They shouldnt even be in the same source file!"

  • Landy (unregistered) in reply to bstorer
    bstorer:
    If I recall correctly, I took the CS AP test the last or second-to-last time it was given in C++. And our school's compiler of choice? Borland Turbo C++ 3.0. DOS-based, no namespaces, no STL. Good thing my internship had given me my own copy of VS6.0 and some newer C++ reference material.

    You didn't happen to be from Tulsa, OK and go to go Union did you? Thats exactly how my c++ class was... I had one year of c++, then we switched to java, and things got better!

  • John (unregistered) in reply to Nodren
    Nodren:
    this is a great example at why the school system as it exists now doesn't work for teaching programming languages. Most other things they teach in school, math, science, history, etc have had many years of refinement(save science, but they generally teach you stuff that's been around for alot of years) programming languages are rapidly improving and growing. there is no way a brick and mortar building could keep up with having to buy and learn new curriculum each year... realistically online classes are the best, with the programming languages own documentation for learning material and tests that are slightly modified to reflect changes in the language.

    I took a CS class, and then an AP CS class in high school. I got a 4 on my test, and a refused to answer one of the questions as it was asked because I felt it was too inefficient (aah, youthful optimism, today I'd just let those suckers have the N squared run time). I think high schools can do fine teaching CS, as long as they get a good teacher. It's no different than math, I had a terrible Algebra 2 teacher (he refused to give me points once when I answered 11 and he didn't provide that on the multiple choice. 11 was right, 10 was wrong, I still didn't get points).

  • Tim (unregistered) in reply to Mickey
    Mickey:
    Wait a second, are you saying if I declare stuff prive, people can still look at the code?

    lol

    Allow me to rock your world to its very foundations:

    #define private public #define protected public

    Ph34r the powah!

  • Cloak (unregistered) in reply to w_e
    w_e:
    lol

    Because when you declare a variable private, the variable gets encrypted using the so-called "compiler". So remember kids - make everything private :-)

    You should have stayed for the rest of the class. I would like to know how you are supposed to work with classes where everything is private...

    Attention to the private bits! And classes are not private she was giving them in a public institution that's why even she could see your code (though, not read it).

    If you have more of these teachers what about the mean programming skills in the US?

  • Cloak (unregistered) in reply to w_e
    w_e:
    lol

    Because when you declare a variable private, the variable gets encrypted using the so-called "compiler". So remember kids - make everything private :-)

    You should have stayed for the rest of the class. I would like to know how you are supposed to work with classes where everything is private...

    Attention to the private bits! And classes are not private she was giving them in a public institution that's why even she could see your code (though, not read it).

    If you have more of these teachers what about the mean programming skills in the US?

  • dubbreak (cs) in reply to Meh
    Meh:
    I remember leaving college because there was a mandatory class, 8 hours a day on Fridays for a month called "Surfing the Web". It was mandatory in the CIS program. The first day the professor was asked what ethernet was and she said it was like the internet, but not real, kinda like a ghost.
    Are you sure it wasn't dripping with sarcasm? To me a CIS student asking what ethernet is, is like a civil engineering student asking what an abutment is.

    If you honestly don't know, it doesn't take more than a few seconds to look up the generalities so you can ask a more specific question such as one about binary exponential backoff.

  • Snuggles (unregistered) in reply to JK

    Shit.

    Doesn't ANYBODY read Wikipedia these days?

    Wikipedia may not be 100% accurate, but it's better than what's being taught in most of this CIS classes.

  • Dac Collins (unregistered)

    I took a Java Programming class in High School and my teacher was completely worthless. I quickly picked up on his incompetence about 2 weeks in so I decided to ask him a simple question every programmer would know: "What's 3 mod 6?" His response? "What does mod mean?"

  • Ubersoldat (unregistered)

    College Profesor. 2nd year:

    Let's explain variables (first WTF!)

    int a = 1; int b = 2; int c = a + b; (WTF!!!!)

  • David C. (unregistered) in reply to bstorer

    Fortunately, STL isn't that hard to learn. Buy a copy of Stroustrup's "The C++ Programming Language" and read it cover to cover. It even includes homework assignments at the end of each chapter.

    If you don't yet have an STL-compatible compiler, they're easy to find. Gcc has supported it since version 3. Mac OS X includes gcc version 4 (or 3.x, for some older releases) on the developer-tools CD that comes with the OS. Linux has come with gcc for a long time, and all recent distributions come with at least version 3. Windows doesn't come with a C++ compiler, but you can download gcc if you don't want to buy a commercial package. Other platforms may or may not include a compiler, but gcc is available for just about everything.

  • Anthony (unregistered)

    What!! This is bull**it. What school did he go to?

  • erissian (cs)

    I decided to go back to school for a second degree in computer science; this is more or less what one of my professors sounds like. It's a shame, because he's a smart guy - he knows Ada inside and out. But modern methods are just not his forte.

  • durnurd (cs) in reply to JK

    I dunno, maybe she was trying to say something like, if you compile a DLL (I am assuming she's a Windows person. Deny it if you would like to look foolish) and then add it as a reference to a project in some IDE, then the public methods will be visible in the IDE if, for example, it has some form of auto-complete that looks at imported references, while private methods will not be visible.

    Still, that's not how I'd go around starting the discussion on levels of visibility.

  • Dax (unregistered)

    What

    The

    Fuck

  • seejay (cs)

    Based on this story and the comments, I think I can count myself one of the very few lucky ones who didn't have to deal with incompetence in either highschool or university in my CS classes.

    In highschool I had two teachers. Grade 10 was programming in Basic on a C64 (hey, it was 1989, give me a break!). Grade 11 was QBasic on an ICON (kind of a Unix thingy). I never did get Grade 12 programming because there were never enough students signed up for it (all-girls highschool meant that some "male" dominated fields weren't always popular for classes, even though my school pushed the maths and sciences... for some reason computers didn't get the attention it deserved back then). But otherwise my teachers were competent and supportive of my desire to learn and explore (although they did make sure security was pretty tight on those ICONS as I'd expressed interest in the superuser access).

    University had a wide range of profs, some more competent than others but almost all of them knew their stuff. How they presented it could be an issue (one prof liked to put completely new concepts and ideas on tests saying that we should be able to extrapolate what we'd learned into the answer, nevermind that we had no way of testing if our ideas were even valid). Another prof liked to just put up overheads of key information in the book and read them to us, but at least he knew what he was talking about even if he couldn't teach worth beans. The only prof that we had issues with was the networking prof who made some glaring mistakes at times (the only one that stands out was her putting 333.333.333.333 as an IP address on an exam two years in a row even though several students had told her it wasn't a valid IP address).

    Ah... learning with competency. It was nice to have. :)

    -- Seejay

  • TheRider (cs) in reply to Brandon
    Brandon:
    Too bad he didn't stay for the inheritance lecture... I believe every programmer should get his parents involved in software development.
    Oh yes, I would like to see some inheritance happening on my dad's side. (sidenote: my brother once complained to me that all of his friends around his age - 50 - were touching some nice inheritance, and he didn't 'cause our dad is still alive. WTF!)
  • Mischief (unregistered)

    I'm guessing that the teacher was talking about intellisense in Visual Studio (or whatever the other IDE's call it)

    When you are trying to teach to dummies you have to explain things in terms they can understand. If he would have stuck around i'm hoping that the teacher would have elaborated with a more technical explanation.

    Any teacher that really thought that would not have a chance in hell of even making a test or explaining anything to the class.

  • mexi-fry (unregistered)

    WOW. My home-brewed school of hard knocks is starting to look like an Ivy League.

  • dillybar1 (cs)

    NEVER go to a private business school. Most of my teachers had graduated from the same program the year before, and pretty much just read to you for 5 hours. The computers suck, the teachers suck, they don't care about teaching you anything useful just want your student loan at the least expense possible.

  • max power (unregistered)

    At first I thought the teacher simply has no clue about OOP. But then, how could she even get Hello World to run when she doesn't even know what a compiler is??

    You'd have to be able to use a text editor and compile your source file for that to run (they probably don't use a C++ interpreter, if such a thing exists). And anybody capable of that should realize that your brain doesn't simply shut off when reading the the word "private".

  • Joe H. (unregistered) in reply to JK

    I had a High School teacher (not technical but claimed to be) who tried to convince me that RAM was the floppy drive and that ROM was the memory chips. (This was pre-hard drives in PCs)

  • That's Me! (unregistered)

    On the topic of goofy teachers... I recall a Routing course I took some time ago... the text for the class was "SAM's Teach YOURSELF Routing in 21 days" (which always made me wonder why I had paid for the course instead of just the book). We spent most of the class crossing out huge sections of the book that the instructor correctly pointed out were wrong, irrelevant or misleading. The problem was, we were instructed to cross them out only AFTER we had committed these sections to memory AND been tested on them.

    I complained because I would routinely answer test questions based on the assigned homework, using the material I had learned in the book, only to find out that it was incorrect and to be told that I "should have studied alternative references and not just relied on one resource to learn".

    That class made me mad. Still managed to pull a 92 though :)

  • That's Me! (unregistered)

    On the topic of goofy teachers... I recall a Routing course I took some time ago... the text for the class was "SAM's Teach YOURSELF Routing in 21 days" (which always made me wonder why I had paid for the course instead of just the book). We spent most of the class crossing out huge sections of the book that the instructor correctly pointed out were wrong, irrelevant or misleading. The problem was, we were instructed to cross them out only AFTER we had committed these sections to memory AND been tested on them.

    I complained because I would routinely answer test questions based on the assigned homework, using the material I had learned in the book, only to find out that it was incorrect and to be told that I "should have studied alternative references and not just relied on one resource to learn".

    That class made me mad. Still managed to pull a 92 though :)

  • Tony (unregistered)

    I took a course on operating systems structure and design in university. The professor was giving C examples out of a book, and one of the students asked him what the "register" keyword on a variable declaration meant. His reply? "That means it refers to a record structure." I'm still not sure what he meant by that, and I suspect neither was he.

    For those not familiar with the register keyword, it's a hint to the compiler that it should keep the variable in a register while it's in use, to avoid the delay of storing it to and retrieving it from memory. It's generally used a lot in operating system code.

  • Griglars (unregistered)

    I used to work for a large company that would have Microsoft come out and train us. Well, whatever teacher Microsoft sent. We were upgrading all our code from VB6 to VB.Net, but the first training experience was terrible. The room was full of veteran coders, and half of them were pretty cocky. I think most of them didn't pay attention in class, but IM'd one another (there was no test, anyway).

    • The version of VB.Net the teacher had was a beta version
    • The beta version was expired, but had a crack of some kind
    • The code made in the beta version did not work with current VB.Net
    • The teacher did not actually know VB.net, but C#, and assured us they were almost identical
    • The teacher hadn't checked out his C# programs, and almost ever single program he write failed to compile
    • When it failed to compile, he'd spend 5-10 minutes debugging it on the overhead projector, completely forgetting we were there.
    • He typed so fast, and corrected himself so frequently, it was almost impossible to take notes.
    • During lunch breaks he "hung out" with us. He had the personality og "Ol' Gil the salesman" from "The Simpsons." He also badmouthed our company, but that was okay he figured, since he hated Microsoft, too.

    Microsoft apologized to us after our universal complaints, and set up a new class weeks later. The second teacher was actually pretty good.

  • jpaull (cs)

    Hey! I think I was IN that class!

    Something similar happened in my first programming class in college. Fortunately, there were others like Amro that set her straight on that fact and a number of other things. I fully admit that I would have totally believed her (I was still suffering from the dumbness disease I caught while in the Army).

    Needless to say when she came up for tenure later that year, she was not retained.

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    My FIRST computer class in HS, "Computer Math" (1981), was in BASIC on a TRS-80 Model III. All the students knew eachother from middle school, and when the teacher left the room at the end of the first class we were like; "WTF? Let's make him teach it all in z-80 ASM!" So we did. And he was blown away by the request - but Radio Shack provided all the code reference in the manual that came with the machine, so really, it was easy.

    Sadly, my experience in computer programming education was downhill from there, and after 15 years in the industry as an admin-scripting (bash/batch/perl/vbs) integrator-type, I still just don't "get" OOP. And classes I've taken tend to go the way of the example in today's WTF. It doesn't help. :(

    Worst is, when I plop down my $800 (or whatever) and the teacher's name is Osama. (I shit you not). Nothing against foreigners, really. I'm very worldly that way. But bottom line; if you're going to teach English-speaking students, you've got to have top-notch English language skills. Period. If the teacher HAS a good understanding of what Public and Private mean, but don't have a good way to explain it clearly in English - especially to a student who's struggling - what's the difference?

  • Stefan W. (unregistered)

    The real WTF is, that Amro left the class, instead of asking for a demonstration.

    Seriously, I found most books not beeing very clear about the benefit of private access, and beginners often being misleaded in thinking about it as a security-feature (private: for your porn images, protected: banking application only, default: allways (avoid typing) public: not useful at all).

  • J (unregistered) in reply to dubbreak
    dubbreak:
    Meh:
    I remember leaving college because there was a mandatory class, 8 hours a day on Fridays for a month called "Surfing the Web". It was mandatory in the CIS program. The first day the professor was asked what ethernet was and she said it was like the internet, but not real, kinda like a ghost.
    Are you sure it wasn't dripping with sarcasm? To me a CIS student asking what ethernet is, is like a civil engineering student asking what an abutment is.

    If you honestly don't know, it doesn't take more than a few seconds to look up the generalities so you can ask a more specific question such as one about binary exponential backoff.

    Oh you better believe it...in my first year of CS in one of our C class a guy asked so......what is C anyway? This was about during the second week of the class. The teacher just stayed speechless for a few seconds.

  • NotanEnglishMajor (unregistered)

    We, the readers of the Daily WTF, owe teachers like this a huge debt of gratitude.

    Without their collective efforts we would have far far less to read and enjoy in this forum.

    -Maj

  • me (unregistered) in reply to bstorer

    it's not in C++ anymore? that sucks.

    While we had VS6.0 too, they didn't teach us anything about STL beforehand.

  • Ken (unregistered) in reply to Brandon
    Brandon:
    Too bad he didn't stay for the inheritance lecture... I believe every programmer should get his parents involved in software development.
    What about the lecture where you learn that friends can see your privates?
  • tmountjr (cs)

    Three cheers for WTFU. Or maybe this was more like WTFCC...

  • Mav (unregistered)

    My CS teachers were always the only ones that weren't completely stupid. Although my college prof was a bit mad. He was smart as hell but had a nervous twitch and would always do something that would give him blank stares like running out of space on the white board, staring at it for a minute, not knowing what to do, and instead of grabbing the eraser, would get a different color marker, and just keep going over the top of what was already there. Or, the best was when he would just say "Shit" and leave the classroom for the rest of the day! That happened several times.

  • el jaybird (unregistered)

    Ouch. Well, I wouldn't have just walked out, I would have called the prof on it. Either right there in class, or quietly afterward, but I wouldn't have let that one go.

    My thinking is that the best programmers are those who can self-teach the language constructs and have some intuitive level of how programming works, so that you don't NEED to be weighted down by bad teaching.

    Most of my programming knowledge was self-taught from books and reference manuals. I remember in computer classes in grade 4-5, most kids were playing Oregon Trail or Logo on the Apple ][s, and I wrote my first program:

    10 PRINT CHR$(7) 20 PRINT "I CAN BEEP!" 30 GOTO 10

    I ran it, my teacher looked over my shoulder, said, "You certainly can!" and insisted I hit CTRL-C. Aww.

    I used that knowledge to my advantage again in grade 7, when I did the typical "Which brand of battery lasts longest?" (Duracell, by the way). I needed to show some voltage/time curves and there was no such software available to me... so I wrote some. I wrote an Etch a Sketch type program, sketched my graphs, and wrote a slide show program to display them in sequence. I remember asking the librarian if I could wheel one of the school Apple ]['s into the gym for my presentation, and getting a stern look and "You're not supposed to be playing games, you know!" She couldn't believe I actually had a plan to use it for something.

    Fast forward to C++ lectures in first year engineering, 1996... The prof was decent, and I did learn some C++, but I could not believe how many people were signed up for software engineering who had no clue about computers or software or programming concepts. Call me arrogant if you like, but I think that if you really want to be a good programmer you need to have had some level of computer exposure prior to first year engineering.

    I did the exam (nominally 3 hours) in 40 minutes.

Leave a comment on “Privately Public”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article