Bad At Math, Good With Solutions

, , , , , , | Learning | March 27, 2020

At fifteen, I am socially anxious and do not really get along with most of my classmates. We have a math lesson; everyone has to solve an equation in front of the class and then name the person to come and solve the next one. I am good at math and have no problem solving mine; however, as the equations are fairly difficult and the teacher is known for being stern, I hesitate to name the next classmate in fear that they might get upset.

Suddenly, a boy who sits near me yells, “Pick me!”

He has no clue how to solve the equation and earns some strong words from the teacher. 

However, twenty years later I am still grateful that he possibly saved me from at least some hostility and bullying.

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Europa-thetic At Spelling

, , , , , | Learning | March 26, 2020

(I’m in sixth grade in this story and everyone in my class has been assigned a presentation on a body in the solar system. It is my turn.)

Me: “For my presentation, I studied Jupiter’s moon, Io.”

Teacher: “Okay. And how do you spell that?”

Me: “I… O…”

Teacher: “Oh.”

(She didn’t ask me any other questions.)

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On The Fence About The Club Presidency

, , , , , , | Learning | March 24, 2020

This happened in fencing club at our boarding school. We’re rather laid-back and relaxed, but at some point, another school challenged us to a match, which required us to send a student representative with the coach to help settle the details. So, the coach brought it up in a fencing lesson, stating that he needed someone to become the “club president” and help him with the details.

Our boarding school has a quirk where we call the Year Twelves “Juniors” and the Year Thirteens “Seniors.”

Someone proposed that there be an election, which prompted me to cast my vote for my enthusiastic junior. But that idea was shot down as the strongest fencer in the group decided that we should have a tournament with the club captainship as the prize, which was an even more popular idea.

Then, just when we were putting on our gear and preparing for the tournament, one of my fellow seniors argued that as we seniors were preparing to go to university, club captainship should fall to us as we needed it more on our personal statements than the juniors did. They could have their turn as club captain next year, when they themselves became seniors.

Somehow, they convinced the coach, mostly because other clubs in school had a similar precedent. I wasn’t very happy with the decision, as I considered it childish and the two seniors vying for the club captain position were basically people who joined the club at the same time as the juniors. In fact, they never even held a sword until they joined the club, unlike half of the juniors, who were veteran fencers in their previous schools. They just wanted the position to burnish their personal statements and make themselves more attractive to universities.

Regardless, the coach did not seem to notice that those two were blatantly after the position for selfish reasons and named the only other senior in the club president: me. 

He was backed unanimously by the juniors, leaving the two other seniors stunned. They then tried to argue against my appointment, but the coach shot them down. I was the last member of last year’s team, the oldest and seniormost student and the one with the most attendance, and although I wasn’t the best fencer, I was the only veteran fencer among the three seniors.

I didn’t really want the position, but I could not deny being greatly amused at the way my fellow seniors’ faces fell. Still, I offered the two of them the opportunity to claim club captainship in a mini-tournament between the three of us. Two easy victories later and I was crowned club captain. Somehow they never really came back to the club during my captainship.

The coach used a balloon sword he picked up from a fencing shop to “knight” me and offered it to me as my “sword of office.” After I stepped down as captain after the year, I was allowed to keep the sword as a farewell gift.

According to my juniors, it has now become a tradition for the coach to “knight” new club captains with such balloon swords and that they’re allowed to keep the blade after they retire.

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A Great Model To Keep Up With

, , , , | Learning | March 23, 2020

(This happened to my sister who runs a dance studio that also offers aerobics, Zumba, and other workout classes. One of her longtime clients and friends is a model who tends to draw attention to herself due to her oversized breast implants. This happens when my sister is teaching a Tae Bo class which is about half first-timers. Ten minutes before class starts:)

New Girl #1: *points to the model* “Hey, slut, this isn’t the strippercise class. This is for people who actually want to exercise.”

Model: “I know what class this is; I signed up because it compliments my boxing lessons.”

New Girl #2: *sarcastically* “Sure, whatever you say. Just don’t complain if you get tired and can’t keep up; you look like you’re carrying a bit of extra weight.”

(The model just stares at them quietly. According to my sister, variants of this joke have been levied at said model at least a dozen times before.)

Sister: “All right, girls, let’s get to it! First break isn’t for forty-five minutes.”

(Both new girls are absolutely exhausted by break time; neither one of them looks like they can even stand.) 

Model: *feigning worry* “Oh, dear! You seem beat. But how can that possibly be?! I mean, I’m carrying so much more extra weight and I still feel fine.”

(Both girls just glowered at her and tried to get up to finish the class. They lasted about ten minutes into the second half before they finally couldn’t take it and ducked out early.)

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Even Language Teachers Have Language Barriers

, , , , , | Learning | March 22, 2020

(I am working as an online English teacher for kids in China. Sometimes during a lesson, a kid might not understand what he is supposed to do. The most direct explanation would be to explain it in Chinese; however, there are three reasons why this is the last resort. The class is supposed to be immersive and the students should not hear or speak Chinese during the lessons. My Chinese is not good enough to carry on a conversation. Despite my best efforts, my accent confuses kids who have not had much English experience and they think my Chinese is just more English they do not understand. Here is an example of what can happen when I resort to Chinese.)

Me: *circling the fire truck on the screen* “What is this?”

Boy: “What… is this?”

Me: “No, no… What is this?”

Boy: “What is this?”

Me: “No…” *still circling the firetruck* “Zhege shi shenma?” *“This one is what?”*

Boy: “Zhega shi shenma…”

Father: *laughing and saying in Chinese* “No, the teacher is trying to speak to you in Chinese. He is asking you what this is.”

Boy: *sheepish chuckling* “Oh, oh, oh… It’s a firetruck.”

(The rest of the class proceeded much easier as he got better at recognizing the receptive language. It’s nice when there is an English-proficient parent around to bail me out.)

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