Hopefully, This Attitude Will Go Extinct

, , , , , | Learning | March 30, 2018

(I’m on the spectrum and one of my so-called “autistic obsessions” is extinct animals, in particular dinosaurs, but I have a fascination with any animals that have died off, and with finding out what might have led to their extinction. One of our school district’s curriculum requirements is that every school year we have to write a report about whatever topics the teacher chooses. It’s the early 2000s, and the Internet isn’t as much of a staple as it will be one day, so my teacher refuses to allow us to use the “unreliable” Internet as a source; it has to be a book, magazine, or other physical source, since she considers them more infallible.)

Teacher: *looking at me* “And no, you cannot write your report on a dinosaur! If you want to do an animal, it has to be a recent one that someone alive today has actually seen! I want you all to think about what you want to do your report on and let me know tomorrow so that I can approve it before you begin work on it.”

(This isn’t a problem for me, since she hasn’t exactly ruled out all extinct animals, just the ones that weren’t recent extinctions. My grandmother has a large collection of National Geographic magazines, and I know for a fact that she has one with an article on thylacines that I can use for a physical source, so I dig it out and choose them as my topic.)

Teacher: “What are you doing your report on?”

Me: “Thylacines.”

Teacher: “I told you that you can’t do your report on a dinosaur. Pick something else.”

Me: “Thylacines aren’t a dinosaur. They’re a carnivorous marsupial that went extinct in the 1930s.”

Teacher: “I’ve never even heard of it, and it sounds like a dinosaur. You cannot do your report on a dinosaur! I told you that it has to be something that someone actually has seen!”

Me: “People have seen it! There are actual photographs of them, and there are still living people that have seen them in person.”

Teacher: “I told you not to use the Internet, because it’s unreliable! You can’t believe everything you see on there!”

Me: “I didn’t see it on the Internet! I have a magazine with pictures, if you want to look at it.”

(By now I can hear my classmates laughing behind my back and starting to make fun of me for trying to do a report “on a dinosaur,” which is beginning to upset me and make me cry.)

Teacher: “If you want to do an extinct animal, fine, but I already told you that you can’t do a dinosaur, and you picked one, anyway. I’ll be speaking to your mother. Now, go to the library and pick something more suitable!”

(I cried for the rest of the day and was bullied by my classmates, both for crying and being the weird kid obsessed with dinosaurs. The teacher later told me I could do my report on the extinct Jurassic reptile, plesiosaurus, which has never been seen alive by anyone ever. Apparently she thinks the Loch Ness Monster is real and is a plesiosaur, therefore not extinct and actually seen by human eyes, but thylacines, which have confirmed photographic and video evidence to prove they existed in recent times, are not allowed because the name sounds like a dinosaur. The “photographic evidence” in the magazine I used that “proved” that plesiosaurus was still alive was actually the decomposing remains of a dead basking shark that looked kind of like a plesiosaurus. Go figure.)

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