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    Cutty Out The Attitude

    | New Zealand | Top

    (I am working in a kindergarten where over half of the kids are Maori. The Maori word for scissors is ‘kutikuti,’ which is pronounced ‘cutty cutty’.)

    Me, to a child: “Can you pass me the kutikuti please?”

    Mother: “What did you say to my child?”

    Me: “I asked her to pass me the scissors.”

    Mother: “Don’t talk baby to my child. She’s smart enough to use adult words.”

    Me: “I wasn’t. I was using the Maori name for scissors.”

    Mother: “No, you said cutty cutty. That’s not Maori. I’m Maori, and I think I know Maori when I hear it.”

    (The child interrupts. She grabs her mom by the hand and drags her off to a poster on the wall which has a few art objects and their Maori names under them.)

    Child: “Mom, why do you always have to pick fights with people? I’m very disappointed in you!”

    (When her mother left I gave the kid the biggest sticker I could find to put on her good behaviour chart.)

    Pre-Pre-Pre-School

    | California, USA |

    Me: *on the phone* “Good afternoon, this is **** School.”

    Caller: “Hi, I need to see if I can get my son into your school?”

    Me: “All right, that’s easy. Come over anytime next week, when we’ll be taking applications.”

    Caller: “Can you fax it to me?”

    Me: “No, I can’t, but you can print it out from our website, along with all the information there. Is that Ok?”

    Caller: “Yeah…”

    Me: “We only accept applicants for 7th through 9th grade from this school district, just to let you know.”

    Caller: “Oh, what is your district?”

    Me: “**** high school district.”

    Caller: “Oh, where is that?”

    Me: “**** and its neighboring cities.”

    Caller: “Oh. That’s where we’re moving.”

    Me: “You don’t live in the district?”

    Caller: “No, we live in New Jersey. We’re going to move to California so my son can go there.”

    Me: “…ma’am, I’m afraid that you need to live within the district to put in an application.”

    Caller: “Yes, we’re moving there.”

    Me: “You need to be in the district when you put in the application.”

    Caller: “When are applications due?”

    Me: “They’re due the third week of January through the second week of February.”

    Caller: “Oh. We’re not moving for a little while.”

    Me: “Yes…you need a copy of a gas or electricity bill so we can verify your address is in the district. If I may ask, ma’am, what grade is your son in?”

    Caller: “Oh, he doesn’t go to school.”

    Me: “…”

    Caller: “My son will be one year old in a few weeks!”

    I Tremble For Our Children

    | Niagara Falls, NY, USA | Top

    (A teacher calls me to her classroom. She is trying to project an image on a screen behind a student for a TV camera shot with the projector at eye level in front of the student.)

    Teacher: “There is a shadow behind the student now. How can I get rid of that?”

    Me: “You can’t. He is blocking the light from the projector from getting to the screen. You could put the projector behind the student, but the image would be smaller on the screen.”

    Teacher: “Then what can we do?”

    (I get the idea of holding a piece of paper over part of the lens of the projector to create a square area where the student stands where no light would shine. This gives the shadow a bit neater of a shape rather than a human shape.)

    Me: “Here, hold this paper over the left side of the lens where the student is standing.”

    (The teacher puts a piece of paper RIGHT IN FRONT of the students face.)

    Me: “No, right by the lens so a square unlit area will be where the student is standing.”

    (The teacher moves the piece of paper and puts it directly BEHIND the students head.)

    Me: “No, here…”

    (I put the piece of paper in front of the projector lens, leaving a nice square dark area on the screen where the student would stand.)

    Teacher: “Well now there is a square there! There is no image directly behind the student, just around the student!”

    Me: “Yeah, I know. There is nothing you can do about that, though. It’s the physics of light.”

    Teacher: “What if I ask your boss? Think he could do it?”

    Me: “No, he cannot bend light around objects.”

    Teacher: “Why not?”

    Me: “Because he’s not a black hole.”

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