Some Rules Should Be Grandfathered In

, , , , , , | Learning | July 22, 2018

I grew up in a somewhat small city. When I was in kindergarten, my school had something called a Grandparents’ Lunch, for which students would bring in money, and on the specified day, students’ grandparents would come in to have an hour-long lunch with them, catered by a local restaurant. It became a big deal in my class, and I soon realized that I would be the only one unable to participate, as my only living grandmother lived in another state and was dealing with some severe health problems. The alternative would be that I would be sitting in the classroom during the program — alone, except for the teacher — to work on busy work. I was very upset when I went home, and ended up crying to my parents about the situation.  

The next day, when my dad took me to school, he ran into the principal. He explained the situation, and asked if it’d be okay if he came to the program so that I wouldn’t be excluded. The principal quite rudely told him, “No, it’s for grandparents only. Parents aren’t allowed.”As I was only five or six, I don’t remember exactly what all was said during the entire interaction, but I recall my dad getting upset and arguing with the principal.

On the day of the program, just before lunch, my dad checked me out of school and took me to one of our favorite restaurants. After we ate — and after the program was over — he took me back to school, and told me that if anyone asked, I had a doctor appointment.

Almost a decade and a half later, my dad still gets ticked off when he’s reminded of the situation. Although our relationship tends to be strained nowadays, I always remember it as a good time with my dad and am thankful for what he did.

Bat On The Roof

, , , , , , | Learning | July 21, 2018

(In my high school, the musical theater program is incredible, and their performances are almost as popular as football games. This year’s “Fiddler On The Roof” makes its way onto the local news with a 30-second snippet from one of the songs before it shows for three nights. Between students, parents, and people who saw it on the news, the theater is packed. This theater also has bats and mice; the bats usually aren’t a problem as they are nocturnal, but the play is at night. A bat switches from flying over the audience to hiding in the rafters continuously as people are being seated. It causes quite a stir in the audience. Note: There is a snack bar outside but people are expected to eat in the lobby — because of the mice there is a very strict no-eating policy in the theater. Most people do it, anyway, including me.)

Student Announcer: *over mic* “Hello, and welcome to Fiddler On The Roof. Before we begin our show, we have a few rules to go over. First, there is no eating in the theater; please take any of the food from the snack bar you stuffed in your bags, thinking we wouldn’t notice, out to the lobby to eat .”

(She waits a moment.)

Student Announcer: “All right. As nobody has gotten up, I can only assume you all are the most perfect audience we have ever had, or you all ignored me and will continue to eat. This is against the rules for everybody except for the bat; he is a VIP guest. Secondly, please do not shout individual actors’ names during the performance; this takes the actors and the other audience members out of the performance. If you see the bat, please do not shout his name, either; he’s not an actor, but he is very sad he does not have a name. Do not worry; he will take his seat when we dim the lights.”

(The audience is dying of laughter as she talks. She goes over a few more rules.)

Student Announcer: “All right. I think that’s it. The bat has his seat? He has a water bottle and a brownie. Okay, now that the bat is settled in, we will begin our show momentarily.”

(The show went on amazingly; the actors were incredible and never broke character, and everybody was fully immersed in the show. Although we could see the bat flying around the audience and in front of the stage, we assumed with people moving around it wouldn’t fly onto the stage. Lo and behold, when two characters were “frozen in time” facing each other as the main character walked around giving his deep inner monologue, the bat began to fly around on stage. The actor ignored it, but the audience was dying of laughter during this very serious monologue. When the characters were “unfrozen,” the girl began proclaiming her love for the guy standing in front of her. It was supposed to be a serious moment, and despite the actress giving an amazing performance, the bat returned. As the bat flew around behind her, the guy across from her slightly broke character, and his eyes began following the bat. Eventually, the bat flew past directly behind the girl, a wing hit her hair, and then the bat flew directly into a curtain with an audible noise. The two other actors on stage tried to control their laughter and the actress tried to continue her performance while dealing with the fact that a bat just hit her. It was the funniest thing to happen out of such a serious performance.)

Towtal Ironny

, , , , | Learning | July 20, 2018

(I’m an English teacher, and I love what I do, but occasionally I spell words wrong when I write on the board; I get letters switched around in the word, or leave letters out of words without noticing. I’m normally open with the students when they notice any errors, because I want them to be open to owning their own mistakes and fixing them. This occurs during a lesson with year seven, when we are talking about irony:)

Me: “Does anyone else want to share an example of irony they came up with?”

Student: “Miss, isn’t it like how you’re an English teacher, but you can’t spell?”

Me: *pause* “Yes. Yes, it is. Thanks for that.”

(It was a good example, but we moved on quickly, as I didn’t know how to respond with dignity.)

Don’t Drink And Parent

, , , , , , | Learning | July 19, 2018

(My sixteen-year-old daughter is taking drivers’ education at her school. The first part takes place in the classroom, followed by practical experience driving a car. Parents are allowed to attend the classroom part if they wish.)

Instructor: “Now, the law for drinking and driving for new drivers is very strict. It’s a zero-tolerance policy.”

(The mother of one of the kids raises her hand.)

Mother: “What does that mean?”

Instructor: “That means that your kids won’t be allowed to have any alcohol if they’re going to be driving within a certain timeframe.”

Mother: “I don’t get it.”

Instructor: “It’s actually very simple. If your kid will be driving within [number of hours], they can’t have any alcohol.”

Mother:None?

Instructor: “None.”

Mother: “But let’s say that my son is at a party, and he’s going to be there for an hour; it’s okay if he has just one beer, right?”

Instructor: *stares at her* “No.”

Mother:No? But it’s just one beer!”

Instructor: *starting to lose patience* “No alcohol. Period.”

Mother: “But—”

Instructor: “NO. ALCOHOL.”

Mother: “…”

(Her son looked mortified.)

The Father Needs Enrollment In A Humanities Course

, , , , | Learning | July 17, 2018

(I work at a community college switchboard and visitors center and, as such, I often get strange calls or visits. There is a line at my desk and I am helping the next person in line, a man in his 60s or maybe early 70s. I am in my late 20s.)

Man: “I’m here to ask about my son. He’s recently moved back home after dropping out of [Different College].”

Me: “No problem! Do you know when your son wants to start college?”

Man: “I don’t know. He’s a real dumba**, you know? He’d probably flunk out again, but I figure [Our College] is cheaper — is it, than [State University]?”

Me: “Yes, our tuition is typically [fraction] of the tuition price at [State University]. Do you know if he was interested in the next term, or perhaps next year?”

(The man answers the question, but continues to describe his son as lazy, dumb, a loser, etc. He does this gleefully and cruelly as if it’s funny or impressive, which makes me uncomfortable. It becomes clear that the man doesn’t know enough information for me to make a recommendation. That, combined with the fact that the potential student isn’t actually with him, means I can’t do much to help him, so I prepare to give the father a package of information to take home.)

Me: “Our enrollment information, requirements, placement test schedule, and calendar are all here. Your son can call, email, or visit us at any time with questions about getting started! Did you need help with anything else?”

(The man pauses and looks me over intently at this point, pausing to look at my chest for a few seconds, which is large, but is completely covered — there is no cleavage visible.)

Man: “My son is almost 30! Can you believe he’s such a loser? He’s actually here:” *the man turns to the next person in line, a 20-something that has been standing silently behind him the whole time* “Tell this young lady what you want; I can’t do everything for you!”

(I’m shocked that he has been standing here the whole time talking about his son this way, when he was right there. I turn my attention to the son to try and help him.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t notice you! What can I do for you today?”

(The son is pretty shy, but articulate, and tells me the information I need to diagnose his path to enrolling. The whole time, the father is still standing at my desk and watching the exchange, sometimes laughing at his son when he becomes nervous or stumbles. After everything, the son thanks me for helping him and apologizes for being confused.)

Me: “No need to apologize, really! That’s why I’m here! Do you need help with anything else while you’re here?”

Man: *interrupting his son* “Just one more: first, do you have a boyfriend, and second, are you looking?”

Me: “I, uh…”

Man: “I’m asking for me, not him!” *points to mortified son*

(I have very little experience with this sort of thing, due to a sheltered upbringing. I am unsure how to respond, much less while working, especially after the way he treated his son, and especially considering he is at least forty years older than I am.)

Me: “Sorry, I am not currently looking.”

(The man is still standing there expectantly. Customer service is important to my office, so I try and end the conversation on a positive note.)

Man: “Well, okay, I was just asking.” *doesn’t leave*

Me: “Oh, well, thank you for asking. I hope you both have a good day.”

(The son gave an apologetic look while they both left the office. I felt awful for him, but also incredibly creeped-out by his jerk father.)

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