How to Survive Mrs. Malaprop’s Class- Pt. 1

Hello, dear reader. Before you begin reading this compendium of the madness that was AP Biology under “Mrs. Malaprop,” I would urge you to read this foreword. “Mrs. Malaprop” is a character from Sheridan’s play, The Rivals, wherein she misused long words because she wanted to appear well educated, but her statements were ultimately nonsensical and were often even humorous. This is a long story, so please, excuse the length.

First off, if you get Mrs. Malaprop, be prepared for two things: self studying and spending lots of time arguing. Self studying is pretty self explanatory (and expected with bad teachers), but the arguing isn’t. Something we liked to call her was a broken communist propaganda machine because she would always just say she was “here for us” repeatedly, but never did anything. I would rather have had Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin as my biology teacher because at least he was competent enough to have a five year plan, Mrs. Malaprop didn’t even have a three minute plan. If you have her, don’t trust the “calendar”– ever!  It’s essentially a large grouping of suggestions, and the only time the calendar is truly indicative of what’s happening in class is minutes before class starts. Even then it’s only about 50% reliable. You might think it’s unfair that she expects you to have everything listed in this calendar done by class, regardless of when it is updated, but she doesn’t think so. This is another case where Comrade Stalin would be a better teacher because at least the apologetics and platitudes he would use for excuses would come from the Communist Manifesto, an arguably intellectually written composition. Yet, all Mrs. Malaprop has is her poor improvisation, which is apparently non binding.

Never take anything she says at face value; in fact always take it as an opinion, especially when it is regarding math. Some say there is a language barrier with Mrs. Malaprop, but that doesn’t even apply here; she can’t comprehend numbers. Specifically she can’t comprehend statistics, the most common type of math in biology. She doesn’t understand fractions, multiplication, and multi-step addition stalls her longer than a 1960s prototype computer that someone just spilled Kool-Aid on. If she ever stalls before saying something, be wary because that indicates that she likely made an assumption that might be wrong. For example, she told a class one day to square root their chi square values because the values were “too high,” even though they were supposed to be that high, but Mrs. Malaprop didn’t check the answer key (which she likely didn’t even write).

The answer key is her entire structure, the pedestal upon which her class is based. It’s almost always written by someone else. You can tell because when she makes her own key,  there is at least one major mistake. This might be acceptable if she were willing to change it, but there were many times where she just refused to be wrong. You should get used to this answer; it’s correct “because the answer key said so.” This can and will actively hurt you. There was once a test where she had the incorrect definition of a word. When someone went in three days consecutively to show her the same definition she got wrong, she still didn’t change the grades for the test and everyone lost about 2 points on one of two test grades. It was almost like she was stuck in Groundhog Day while the rest of us weren’t. Now, test grades are weighted as 70% of our grade in that class, which means she effectively reduced everyone’s grade by a whole point. The 10% of your grade that is professional ethics is a boon, because unless you act like a monkey (or she just doesn’t like you) it’s a solid grade cushion.

“Don’t forego to follow the Twitter!” -Mrs. Malaprop

** does not endorse Communism or any of its proponents

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