A Glaringly Bad Way To Ask For A Regrade

, , , , , | Learning | March 23, 2019

(I am teaching a fairly large first-year physics class. After an exam has just been returned, two students visit me during office hours; it’s the first time I’ve seen either of them there all term. Only one speaks; the second student stands silently behind her friend and glares.)

Student #1: “We’ve heard you do re-grades.”

Me: “Sure. Can you show me where you disagree with your scores?”

Student #1: “We don’t disagree with anything specific; we just want a re-grade.”

Me: “Sorry, but there are almost two-hundred students in this class. I can’t just grade everyone’s exam again, but I’ll be glad to discuss any specific questions you have.”

([Student #2]’s glare grows more intense as if she is trying to incinerate me on the spot.)

Student #1: “Well, can’t you just give us some extra points?”

Me: “No. Why would I do that?”

Student #1: “Because we cared enough to come in.”

Me: “All that proves you care about is your grade.”

([Student #2] passes the “Glare Event Horizon.” I’m pretty certain she’s still glaring to this day.)

Student #1: “But you’re supposed to want us to care about our grades!”

Thinking With Your Brain By Landing On Your Butt

, , , , , , , | Learning | March 22, 2019

I teach at a Montessori school, and one day, I was standing by the classroom door watching and greeting the kids as they left for their next class. As they were walking, a little boy bumped into a little girl and she fell down, landing on her buttocks. This girl is a child who easily cries, and the little boy watched her as her face started to crumble.

Normally, what would happen: the girl would cry and most probably come and complain to me that the little boy pushed her and she fell and got hurt. I could see that it was an honest mistake that the boy bumped into her and in my mind, I had already started thinking about how I was going to handle the situation.

I’m not kidding about what happened next. The little boy looked me straight in the eye and, less than a second later, threw himself down on the floor, landing on his buttocks, as well. He got up, slowly rubbing his back, and went over to the little girl and held out his hand to help her up. He said, “I’m sorry, [Little Girl]. Seems like we bumped into each other. Oh, no!”

The little girl was definitely looking slightly shocked. but she took his hand, got up, dusted herself off, and said, “Oops, sorry!” They walked off, smiling and waving goodbye to me. I was standing there with a stupefied expression, wondering just what the heck had happened.

That little boy is a genius. He avoided a scene and he knew it. This incident took place in literally a few seconds. The intelligence of children never fails to amaze me.

When Teachers Fail

, , , , , | Learning | March 21, 2019

One of the assignments in my seventh-grade language arts class is to memorize and perform a monologue in front of the class. The teacher says that, after the in-class performance, we can volunteer to perform against the students from the other Language Arts classes, with the teachers as judges. I’m into theater and confident in my acting skills, so I’m super excited about this.

To start, the teacher brings us to the school library so we can pick a monologue from a specific list. I latch on to a specific monologue at first, but when I present it to the teacher she tells me, “Oh, I don’t know… I just don’t think that one would be a very good monologue if you want to compete.” I’m a little put out, but I pick a different monologue, which she approves.

Now, for whatever reason, the “monologue talent show” ends up scheduled on the same day as a major seventh-grade field trip. To save on time, the teachers decide to hold the competition just before the field trip so they can immediately load everyone onto the buses afterward.

Between a lack of spare money and my lack of interest in the trip, I don’t end up going. Unfortunately, it’s my math teacher who takes me to the class I’ll be staying with that day. When I try to tell her that I’m supposed to be in the library for the competition, she just says, “No, you’re not,” and shoos me inside. Between being autistic and being somewhat socially anxious, I just roll with it.

A week passes. There’s no talk about the monologues, and I’m too afraid to bring it up; I figure the teachers would tell us if we were getting another chance to perform them. Then, just before handing out a test, my language arts teacher lists off the students who were judged best in our class.

I manage to finish the test, but I can’t let go of the fact that I’ve basically been screwed out of competing for no reason. By the time I finish, I’m in tears and another student has to flag down the teacher for me. She takes me out into the hall, where I shakily explain what the problem is.

She apologizes and tries to calm me down, saying it was an honest mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.

And then, she adds something to the effect of, “You know, the speech you chose probably wouldn’t have been very good to present, so you probably wouldn’t have won, anyway.”

Yes, I should have spoken up earlier. Yes, a school competition is a pretty small thing for a twelve-year-old to be bawling over. Yes, I know the teacher meant well. But if a child is that upset over something, how the h*** is saying, “Oh, you had no chance, anyway,” supposed to be comforting in any way? After I had changed my speech specifically because I wanted to compete?!

At the very least, the math teacher who screwed me over had the sense to own up to her mistake and move on.

Signing In A Scottish Accent

, , , , , , | Learning | March 20, 2019

(I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I often feel like I don’t “fit in” because relating to people is challenging for me. However, I’ve started learning British Sign Language, and I love it. It is literal, logical, and has grey areas. Deaf people are very direct, too. I also have a photographic memory, which I haven’t found to be much use… until now. I learn new signs extremely fast. Even my deaf teacher struggles to keep pace. In class, we are learning about countries. This roleplay happens in front of the class, in BSL.)

Classmate #1: “Where are you going on holiday?”

Me: “New Scotland.”

Classmate #1: “What?”

Me: *slowly in BSL and English* “New Scotland, Canada: Nova Scotia.”

Classmate #1: *confused*

Teacher: “If you want to say two countries, you need to say, ‘and.’ Scotland A-N-D Canada.”

Classmate #2: *in English and BSL* “He didn’t say Scotland; I think he means New England and Canada.”

(I am extremely confused. The signs for England and Scotland are very different and unmistakable. I have no idea where she got “New England” from. As for my teacher, he didn’t have a clear view, and missed the sign “new.” He thinks I mean Scotland and Canada. I can’t get it across in BSL, so I resort to English.)

Me: “No, I signed literally, ‘New Scotland.’ That means Nova Scotia in Canada, which is Latin for ‘New Scotland.’ In most languages, including BSL, Nova Scotia is translated literally. I saw it last week from an interpreter on TV.”

Teacher: “Oh. Nothing wrong with the sign, but maybe we’ll keep it at the right level for the exam?”

(I continue to learn BSL extremely fast. One day I hope to qualify as an interpreter.)

Hydra: The High School Years

, , , , | Learning | March 19, 2019

(This story takes place a little while after “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” comes out. I am a freshman in high school and a huge nerd; I am 100% into Marvel comics, as well as the movies and TV and Netflix shows. Since I am such a fan of “Agents of Shield,” my parents got me a shirt with the Shield logo on it, which I am wearing to class today. It is one of the few days I actually have my math homework finished.)

Teacher: *after checking my work* “Nope, you’re getting a zero.”

Me: “Wait. What?”

Teacher: “Hail Hydra.”

(He does give me a grade for the assignment, thankfully. Three years later, I walk into my senior-level math class, which is with the same teacher from my freshman year.)

Teacher: “Oh, [My Name]. Good to see you, and Hail Hydra.”

(I barely passed math that year, but it was not due to the vicious rivalry between our organizations of choice, but rather my complete inability to pay attention to math.)

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