I won't comment on the approach of your teacher as everyone has their own way of teaching and I'm sure your teacher has planned out what he is wishing to get across to you during these lessons. There are lots of paths to the same destination (so to speak).
I do have a couple of points that might help you understand scale theory a little better:
1. When we talk about positions (e.g. the VII position) we are usually indicating which fret your first finger will land on. So if we are playing in the VII position, your first finger will play the 7th fret, 2nd finger on the 8th fret, 3rd finger on the 9th and 4th on the 10th. It is important to understand this, as when you progress further, you will start to play in different positions, but not necessarily starting with your first finger. For example, we can play a C Major scale in the VII position, but actually begin the scale using our 2nd finger on the 8th Fret on the 6th string. When we move up to the 5th string, we then use our 1st finger on the 7th fret. So we are still following the "rule" of which finger lands on which fret even if we don't start with our first finger. (I hope that makes sense?)
2. One thing that is often overlooked when first learning scale theory is that in a major scale, the note names (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) are listed in order and are never repeated next to each other. Instead we use sharps (#) and flats (b) in musical notation in order to maintain the interval pattern that others have already mentioned (namely, W, W, H, W, W, W, H). So if we look at the notes in the G Major scale we have G-A-B-C-D-E-F#-G. The reason we have F# is that the interval between E & F is only a half step, so to make it a whole step, we raise F but half step to make it F#. This also then makes the interval between F# and G a Half Step which is again what we want.
3. To answer your classmates original question, there are 12 different notes in the chromatic scale. If we think in terms of sharps, these notes are C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A# & B. If we think instead in terms of flats, the notes are C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, Gb, G, Ab, A, Bb & B. What we find is that there are several notes that actually sound the same and are therefore equivalent (the terms we use is that the notes are enharmonic equivalents). Looking at the chromatic scales above, the following pairs of notes are enharmonic equivalents C# & Db, D# & Eb, F# & Gb, G# & Ab, A# & Bb.
Now as I stated above, for major scales, note names (A, B, C etc) are listed in order and are never repeated. So let's look at the notes in Bb major scale. In order to keep our patter on W, W, H, W, W, W, H and still list note names in order, the notes in the Bb major are Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G and A. What if we wanted instead to refer to this scale as A# given that Bb & A# are enharmonic equivalents? The notes would be A#, C, D, D#….pretty soon we run into a problem as we've broken the rule about listing the note names in order and not repeating note names (in this case we dropped the 'B' and we used 'D' twice!!!).
Bringing this all together, by convention we end up with the following 12 major Scales:
As you can see there is lots in this answer and I'm sure I've probably left some of the theory out. So I think I can understand why your teacher may have chosen not to answer this question to a class of beginners!!
I hope I have helped rather than confused you.