Got To Hand It To Preemptiveness

, , , , | Learning | May 22, 2018

(I’m in second grade when the 2009 H1N1 flu virus breaks out. My friend’s mother tells this story. Her daughter is in first grade at the time of the outbreak. Her mother decides to bring hand sanitizer for her class. She approaches a receptionist at the front office, and this conversation happens.)

Friend’s Mom: “Am I allowed to bring in hand sanitizer for my daughter’s classroom?”

Receptionist: “Sorry, we cannot allow this. It has alcohol in it and the children could accidentally drink it.”

(The next week, there was an announcement in the weekly flyer saying that hand sanitizer was required for all classrooms!)

Moo-ved By Bonnie’s Plight

, , , , , | Learning | May 21, 2018

(I attend a small, private college and because there are some courses they don’t offer, they have a deal with the local state university that allows us to opt into courses required for our majors, etc. that [Small College] doesn’t have. One day, I have just finished my last class of the day, which happens to be at [State University]. [State University] has huge agricultural and veterinary programs, and there are often exhibits or even animals in the quad area for presentations to get undergrads interested. As I walk through the quad, I see a group of people gathered in front of a few older students wearing agricultural program t-shirts, and a fully grown cow inside of a small, portable pen. I walk over as one of the students is giving their presentation.)

Presenter: “Cows like Bonny, here, allow both the agricultural and veterinary students to have a better understanding of how bovine digestion works, and also how to better breed and treat cattle in general.”

Guy In The Crowd: “What’s so special about her?”

Presenter: “I’m glad you asked! If everyone will please step around to Bonny’s other side?”

(We all move around the pen, and immediately my jaw drops.)

Me: “Is that a window?

(Yes, Bonny the cow has a porthole-like window surgically installed in her side. You can actually see her digestive organs working.)

Guy In The Crowd: “Whoa! That’s so cool!”

Girl Next To Him: “Oh, my God! That’s awful! How could you do that to her?”

Presenter: “I promise, Bonny has had her window for a few years now and doesn’t even notice it. It functions much like a prosthetic limb would. We keep a close eye on it and replace any parts as needed for her. As our observation cow, she pretty much is living in the lap of luxury.”

(The girl is still angry and stomps away, yelling something about reporting them to the University.)

Me: “Doesn’t she realize the University would have had to authorize and pay for this procedure in the first place?”

Presenter: *shrugs and pats the cow’s head* “I guess not. Now, who wants to pet Bonny?”

(I’ll admit, the whole porthole-in-a-cow thing freaked me out when I first saw it, but Bonny did seem pretty content. She let us all pat her and munched away on some snacks the agriculture students had brought for her. Even after I graduated, she continued to be the [State University] “observation cow” until she hit retirement age. Whatever age that is for a cow.)

Shouting Does Not Solve The Problem

, , , | Learning | May 20, 2018

(In my class we have a girl with social anxiety. She’s very nice and friendly but has a hard time doing things in public, like speaking. Our teachers understand the situation and instead of calling her to the blackboard in front of the class, they let her write her answers down and are patient when she stutters. When our math teacher goes on maternity leave, we have a substitute, a middle-aged man.)

Substitute: “Can anyone solve the equation on the board? [Girl]?”

Girl: *starts writing the answer down*

Substitute: “What are you doing? GET UP AND SOLVE THE PROBLEM!”

Me: “Sir, if she goes to the chalkboard she might have a panic attack.”

Substitute: “That’s ridiculous. She’ll never be normal if she receives special treatment because of her ‘problem.’”

(My classmate was visibly upset and tried to explain, as well, but could only stutter. The substitute yelled at her to “speak like a normal person,” which resulted in her crying. After class, one of the other girls escorted her to the bathroom to wash her face and calm down while one of the boys and I went to the principal. They were furious. We had a new substitute the next day, older than the first one, and he was much more understanding.)

They Have A Major Gap In Their Knowledge

, , , | Learning | May 18, 2018

(I work at a university with a department for students who want to be teachers. It’s the middle of registration season, and we regularly have students coming in to get help figuring out who their advisor is, as we have just switched to a new system. They also come in for many other reasons than registration, which can make it tricky to help them at times. I don’t have access to the system to look up students for some time due to a screw-up in another department. Some of the students who come in are rude or just plain dull, but this one takes the cake.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Student: “Um… I’m not sure; they just told me to come here.”

Me: “Well, where did they send you from?”

Student: “I spoke to some lady in that office in… [Administrative Building]… I wanted to sign up for some classes.”

Me: “Oh, the registrar’s office? Are you looking to find your advisor to pick out classes with you?”

Student: “Uh… I think so?”

Me: “Okay, great! Well, your advisor is assigned by your major and your class standing. What’s your major?”

Student: “Uh… Education.”

Me: “We actually offer quite a few specializations in education; which one specifically are you enrolled in?”

Student: “Oh… I’m not sure.”

Me: “Well, what is your class standing?”

Student: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Are you a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior?”

Student: “Oh… I’m not sure.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t direct you to an advisor without knowing these things. Can you log into [Student Portal] on your phone and check? I can help you find that information if you need.”

Student: “What’s [Student Portal]?”

Me: *sighing internally* “The system where you log in to check your classes, financial aid, and such.”

Student: “Oh, that. Yeah, hang on.”

(The student takes a good five minutes to log in and check. They are a junior-level student working towards a teaching degree in a STEM field. I direct the student to the right advisor, and they wander out of my office. A staff member who was sitting in my office waiting for a meeting with one of my bosses for the entire ordeal looks bemused.)

Me: “You’d be surprised how often we get students like that who don’t know simple things. That one was just excessive, though.”

Staff Member: “But… They were a junior! How? Just how? How do you get that far and not even know your own major? And they want to be a teacher?”

Me: “I really don’t know. I don’t get half of these people, either.”

Staff Member: “I’m glad you didn’t ask the student what their name was. They probably wouldn’t have known that, either.”

Snickerdoodles Start Fights

, , , , , , | Learning | May 16, 2018

(One of the girls in my research lab, [Labmate #1], moved from Iraq to the US when she was twelve, and although her English is excellent, she’ll occasionally still need an explanation of more obscure phrases and idioms. One weekend she agrees to take care of the lab mice, usually my job, so that I can go visit my family. I bake her a batch of cookies to thank her. When I come in, she’s working with the microscope, and [Labmate #2]’s girlfriend is hanging around waiting for [Labmate #2] to show up.)

Me: “Hey, [Labmate #1]! Thanks for taking care of the mice! I made you snickerdoodles as a thank-you.”

Labmate #1: “Oh, thanks.”

(She takes the plate but makes the, “I don’t know that word and I don’t want to ask,” face, so I explain.)

Me: “Snickerdoodles are basically sugar cookies with cinnamon. I added extra cinnamon, since I know that’s your favorite.”

Labmate #1: “Ooh, thanks!”

(Her eyes light up, and she happily rips the foil off the plate and takes a huge bite out of a cookie.)

Girlfriend: “Excuse me?!”

(I turn around to see [Labmate #2]’s girlfriend glaring at me.)

Me: “What?”

Girlfriend: “How dare you assume that just because she wasn’t born here, she doesn’t know English! That’s so racist of you!”

Labmate #1: *on her third cookie* “Dude, chill. English is my third language, and there’s still some words I don’t know.”

Girlfriend: “But she shouldn’t have assumed you didn’t know! That’s so rude!”

Labmate #1: “But I didn’t know.” *to me* “Was I making the face?”

Me: “You were totally making the face.”

Labmate #1: “There you go. Now I know what these are, and I have cookies.” *goes back to eating*

Girlfriend: “You should have waited for her to ask!”

Labmate #1: “Will you chill out? It might be different for different people, but for us, this is not a big deal. If you keep making a fuss, I’m not sharing my cookies with you.”

Me: “Are you sure you’re sharing at all? You’re a dozen cookies in already.”

Labmate #1: *taking another cookie* “Yeah, I’m probably not sharing. So, do you want me to take care of the mice this weekend, as well? I will totally mouse-sit for more cookies!”

(I had to laugh, and the girlfriend huffed and left. When we told [Labmate #2] later, she rolled her eyes. That relationship didn’t last long.)

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