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Stories from school and college

Your Request Has No Teeth

, , , , , , | Learning | July 3, 2022

I took an art class as an elective in college. We could work on our paintings as long as we wanted, as long as we locked the door when we left. Let the record show that I was not an art major and was actually not that proficient, but I enjoyed it.

One evening, everyone had gone home and I was locking up. I was out in the hall when I was accosted by a student I had never seen before.

She was a dental hygiene student and was looking for someone to illustrate a report she was writing. I was literally the only person around, so she apparently meant me. She thought I could draw caricatures featuring teeth — like a canine tooth in the form of a dog and things of that nature.

Me: “The doors are locked and I’m going home. Plus, I’m a painter and I can’t draw. And I’m a very bad painter.”

Student: “But… I’ll pay you a dollar!”

Don’t Like Your Style

, , , , , , | Learning Working | July 1, 2022

My longtime stylist has started teaching at a cosmetology school. She asks if I would be willing to be a “hair model” for students to observe her technique in exchange for a free cut and style. I agree and come by the school at the specified time.

I have curly hair that I normally keep very long, but I have decided that I want to go shoulder-length. [Stylist] introduces me to her class and has me take a seat.

Stylist: “What are we doing today, [My Name]?”

Me: “I’d like to go shoulder-length with some layers, please.”

Stylist: “Are you sure? It may not work with your curly hair.”

Me: “I’m sure. I want to try something different.”

Stylist: “Okay, if you say so.”

She starts cutting while talking to her students about technique, customer preferences, and the like.

Stylist: “And sometimes customers ask for something that may not work for their type of hair or face shape. But we do it anyway, even if we think it won’t look good!”

Me: “It’s my hair. If I don’t like it, it’ll grow.”

Stylist: “See what I mean, guys?”

Her students chuckle. I roll my eyes. She finishes up and turns me around.

Stylist: “And you’re done! See, class, not as hard as you think it is.”

She has barely taken any length off and there are no layers. My hair is still several inches below my shoulders.

Me: “This isn’t what I asked for.”

Stylist: “Sure it is.”

Me: “I asked for shoulder-length with layers, and this is not it.”

Stylist: “If you don’t like it, then go somewhere else.”

A couple of students let out an “Ooooh”.

Me: “Wow.”

I walk out. I go to another salon a couple of weeks later. A different stylist does exactly what I ask for, and it looks fabulous! I decide to start going to her, instead.

About a year later, I get a text from my former stylist.

Stylist: “Hey, it’s been a while. Can I set up an appointment for you?”

Me: “Remember when you told me to go somewhere else if I didn’t like my hair?”

Stylist: “Oh, I have to be like that with students. I didn’t mean it.”

Me: “I have shoulder-length hair and a new stylist. Don’t contact me again.”

I went to my new stylist for several years until she moved out of the area.

A Frustrating Lesson To Chew On

, , , , , | Learning | July 1, 2022

I went to a VERY small middle school that contained only sixth and seventh grade, and there were only five classes in each. I had the highest grades in my sixth-grade classroom, and I never got in trouble. When I say never, I mean NOT ONCE. It’s important to know that our school year is divided into blocks of six six-week sections, and we are at the beginning of the last six weeks.

Because we were such a small school, we only had PE two or three times a week as our teacher had to cater to all ten classes. On the day in question, I was chewing gum because one of the more popular students handed it out. My English teacher stopped me before we went to PE.

English Teacher: “[My Name], are you chewing gum?”

At this point, I was petrified of what she would say. I had seen her go nuclear over small things, and besides that, our math teacher, who we had just left, let us chew gum. I just forgot to spit mine out. I stopped chewing and cheeked it.

Me: “Uh… no, ma’am?”

About halfway through PE, the gym teacher saw me chewing gum while playing four square and told me to spit it out. I didn’t think anything of it until about five minutes after we went back in.

English Teacher: “[My Name], come here! [PE Teacher] told me that she had to tell you to spit out your gum. Not only did you break school rules by chewing gum outside during PE, but you lied directly to my face, so sincerely! You know what this means, right?”

Oh, yes, I knew. This meant I’d have silent lunch that day. For those not familiar, silent lunch is where you are sent to a table to eat alone, and in our school, you faced the wall and were not allowed to get up until everyone else has left. After that, you helped clean all of the tables.

Me: “Silent lunch today?”

English Teacher: “No, ma’am, [My Name]. You will have silent lunch all week, and I’m calling your mom.”

I should mention at this point that this was during the late 1990s when many clothing factories in the south were slowly closing. My single mom worked in one and received no child support. Our home phone had been cut off for a week now.

Me: “You can’t call my mom, ma’am.”

English Teacher: “What do you mean, I ‘can’t’? I’ll call her and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t have a phone.”

English Teacher: “Everyone has a phone, [My Name].”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t now. It got cut off last week.”

Mind you, we were in a small classroom and my classmates could hear this. Bullying was a huge issue there, and my classmates already teased me as it was. I was ashamed as it was, and she just made it worse.

English Teacher: “I’ll write her a note and she can find a way to contact me tomorrow, or you’ll have silent lunch until June!”

She wrote a note, which my mom read and signed, and she hastily wrote a response that she could not make long-distance calls at work — she worked in North Carolina — and that me lying about gum was really not that horrible. My teacher called my mom at work, but predictably, they let her know my mom was not able to take phone calls unless it was an emergency.

Fast forward to the end of the six weeks. We had a “Good Conduct Party.” This was for students who did not get in trouble during the six weeks. I had always been able to attend, so I got in line for it. As I was standing there, my teacher walked up to me.

English Teacher: “Oh, no, ma’am, [My Name]! After what you did? You lied to me about that gum and not having a phone. You’re going to the Bad Conduct Party.”

This was literally a classroom where any students who had an N or U in conduct were sent to work on things that were not graded for two hours until the Good Conduct Party was over. The teachers always called it this to remind us it was not fun.

So, in summary, I panicked about chewing gum, was ratted out by the PE teacher, and was punished for not having a phone!

Consider Your Bluff Thoroughly Called

, , , , , , , , , | Learning | June 29, 2022

I am a transgender teacher. In fact, I transitioned at the school, and they were very cool with it, helping me to come out to my class and the school as a whole and giving me all the support I could ask for.

I didn’t realise how far they were willing to go for me until the headmaster relayed a conversation he had had with a parent about me.

Parent: “I don’t want my child in that teacher’s classroom!”

Headmaster: “The classes for the coming school year have already been decided. Changing things around now will isolate your child from many of his friends. Why would you want to move them now?”

Parent: “Isn’t it obvious? I don’t want that deviant teaching my son! Who knows what sick things he might do?”

Headmaster: “It’s she, and Ms. [My Name] has taught your child already this year without incident. She’s a good educator, and I won’t upheave both her classroom and your son’s education until I feel like there is sufficient reason for it.”

Parent: “Do it or we walk.”

Headmaster: “Excuse me?”

Parent: “Do it, or I’ll pull my child out of [School] and find somewhere else!”

Headmaster: *Pauses* “Would you like a recommendation?”

Parent: “What?”

Headmaster: “I know several schools in the area that [Child] would be well suited for. I can email their headmasters today if you want?”

Parent: “You don’t—”

Headmaster: “I have a waiting list pages long for every year of this school, particularly in your son’s year. Quite frankly, if we’re unable to reach an agreement today and ‘you walk,’ then you’ll be doing me a favour.”

The child remained in my class for the full year and was an excellent student.

Don’t Worry, Kid; It’ll Hit You One Day

, , , , , , | Learning | June 27, 2022

I was a fairly unpopular fifth-grader — good academically, bad socially. I somehow got the idea that I could solve my popularity problem with advice from books.

This was pre-Internet, so my book selection was not only limited but difficult to search for. I felt embarrassed looking for books about how to make friends, so my only hope was to find a book at the school library during our weekly visit, check it out, and read it in secret. I searched and searched, and the closest resource I could find was a book called “Male Manners.” I don’t know what I was thinking.

Sure enough, the book turned out to be irrelevant. I don’t remember most of what I read, only that if I was ever eating at a place where I’d finished my meal but wished to keep enjoying a rich sauce, I should gently drop bits of bread into the sauce, then eat them with my fork — not exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

The next week, when it was time to return the book to the library, I didn’t want anyone to see me with it, so I tried to quickly slide it across the counter of the Returns desk on my way in and then hustle off into the library.

Unfortunately, in my haste to get away from the book, I slid it a little too vigorously, and it slid off the other end of the counter and hit the librarian.

Librarian: “HEY!”

Me: “Oh… uh, sorry.”

Librarian: “Do we throw books?”

Me: “No, sorry, I wasn’t throwing it, I just pushed it too hard… but sorry.”

The librarian looked at the book cover.

Librarian: *Extremely loud* “And it’s a book about manners!”

She showed it to the other librarian.

Librarian: *Still extremely loud* “Look at this! It’s a book about manners! He threw it at me, and it’s a book about manners!”

I wanted to crawl under a desk. Fifth grade is awful.