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Stories from school and college

Get What You’re Paying For, For Your Daughter’s Sake!

, , , | Learning | October 7, 2022

I’m a preschool teacher, and I’m doing parent-teacher conferences. I am meeting with the parents of a student who attends sporadically. I show them her portfolio.

Me: “[Student] does really well when she attends regularly, but she struggles when she doesn’t attend for a while. I’m afraid that if she continues to struggle, she won’t be ready for kindergarten next year.”

Dad: “Wait. What? What do you mean, ‘when she attends regularly’? She’s coming every day.” *Turns to look at his wife* “She is attending every day, right?”

Mom doesn’t say anything, so I hand Dad his daughter’s attendance sheet.

Dad: “What the h***, [Mom]? Why are we paying hundreds of dollars a month if you’re not even going to bring her in?!”

[Student] was then dropped off by her dad for the rest of the year. I can happily say she caught up quickly and was ready for kindergarten at the end of the school year.

His Eyesight Rocks… Or Does It?

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 6, 2022

I work at a college. The school has just opened a new parking lot.

Biology Professor: “I decided to park in the new lot, and get this: they left a huge rock right next to the entrance. I almost swiped it when I pulled in. I’m going to ask facilities to remove it.”

After lunch:

Biology Professor: “Well, I went out for lunch, and the rock was already gone! Guess I’m not the only one who noticed. Honestly, I should have more faith in [School].”

A little later, a student bursts into the office.

Student: “Hey, [Biology Professor]! Know anything about snapping turtles? There’s a huge one wandering around the new lot and security doesn’t know how to make it move!”

After the turtle has been evicted:

Biology Professor: “I just put two and two together. The rock that wasn’t there… The snapping turtle… I don’t have faith in [School] anymore.”

Me: “You’re the one who thought it was a rock!”

Biology Professor: “Fine. I also don’t have faith in my optometrist.”

At Least Mom Didn’t Set Up Camp In The Next Bunk Over!

, , , , | Learning | October 5, 2022

My dad organizes Christian camps every year during the summer, usually a family one and a youth one, each a week long. We usually stay in between these camps because we’re the family of the director.

We just finished the family camp a few days ago and we’re starting the youth one today, so young people between twelve and twenty-five are arriving. I spot a girl I know, [Girl #1], going with her mother, [Mother #1], down to where the girls sleep. I follow to say hi and show her around a bit, being the welcoming girl I am. The mother is chatting with a different mother, [Mother #2], about her daughter, [Girl #2], and such.

Note: there are only top bunk beds left; the bottoms have already all been taken as the girls arrived.

Me: *To [Girl #1]* “Hey, it’s so nice to see you!”

Mother #1: “Hey, do you know whose bed this is?”

She points to mine as I sit on it.

Me: “Yeah, it’s mine. Why?”

Mother #1: “Oh, because I don’t want [Girl #1] to sleep on a top bunk; I think she might fall off during the night.”

Me: “Well, there’s really no reason to worry about that. I’m sure [Girl #1] will be fine.”

Mother #2: “Yes, I’m sure [My Name] and the other girls will take care of her! Look, I think [Friend] is on this bed next to [My Name], and [Girl #2] is on top of [Friend]’s bed. [Girl #1] can sleep above [My Name,] and she’ll be fine.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s an excellent idea! She’ll be fine. We can put a chair or something so she can get up easier.”

The top beds are a bit tough to get up on; I only know how because of years of experience.

Mother #1: “Yeah, but I’m still worried. Can you change with her? Just put your stuff on the bed above yours so she can have yours?”

Me: *Taken aback* “Um, no, I’ve been sleeping in this bed for a week already, from family camp. I’d rather not change. Your daughter will be fine.”

Mother #1: *Looks at [Girl #1]* “Well, okay, if you’re sure. And [My Name] can probably help you make your bed, right?”

What am I, a servant?! I nod noncommittally, and [Mother #1] keeps talking. 

Mother #1: “Where can I unpack her clothes and all?”

Me: *Inwardly groaning* “Well, [Friend], who’s also been here for a week, has already got all her things on that shelf over there, and there aren’t any more shelves. Everyone just puts their suitcase under their bed and pulls it out when necessary. Trust me, we won’t be down here long enough during the day to be bored.”

Mother #1: “Well, [Friend] could still move her things! Why does she have everything everywhere?!”

She starts moving things around to make space.

Me: “Hey, please don’t touch her things! She’s got that all done and all.”

She stops touching things but continues grumbling about how [Friend] should make some space for other people. [Mother #1] looks for space to put the suitcase (it ends up next to the shelf all week). I say hi to [Mother #2] and chat a bit.

Eventually, [Mother #1] takes out sheets and starts making her daughter’s bed. I think it’s all under control, so I head back upstairs. [Girl #1] ends up making a lot of trouble for my mom during the camp.

Since it’s a Christian camp, we have to dress decently; spaghetti straps aren’t allowed, pants must be knee-length or longer, and you have to wear one-piece swimsuits. Phones stay in our rooms.

[Girl #3] hurts herself halfway through camp, twisting her ankle, and [Girl #1] goes up to my mom.

Girl #1: “Can I go get [Girl #3]’s phone? She’s in the living room and can’t move her foot. We want to watch a movie.”

Mom: “No, the phones have to stay in the rooms. If she can’t go down to use it, she can’t use it.”

My mom also had to tell [Girl #1] several times during the day to change her shorts, change her shirt, put something on, and so on. She once came up to the kitchen in front of some boys in her pajamas! That’s a big no-no here. My mom got tired of telling her all the time, but she said that if she did it again, she was going to have a good talk with her parents about telling her what to wear or maybe even what to pack.

[Mother #1] eventually invited herself over for the next camp to help in the kitchen — I told her we had more than enough help — because she didn’t want to leave her kids alone. Mom said she wouldn’t let [Mother #1] come anyway!

The camp was amazing, and we all had a great time. When [Mother #1] came to pick up her kids, she basically cross-examined me on whether her daughter had been happy through camp. I think so?

I’m Your Roommate, Not Your Mother, Remember?

, , , , , , , , , | Learning | October 3, 2022

In my first semester of college, my roommate and I have the same class at 8:00 am. For the first few weeks, we get ready and walk there together. Then, one day, it’s about 7:45, and [Roommate] is still sleeping.

Me: “Hey, you might want to wake up. Class starts in a few minutes.”

Roommate: “Oh, my God, how rude are you?! I’m an adult. If I want to skip class and sleep in, I will. You’re not my mom! Don’t ever wake me up again!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you weren’t going. I won’t worry about you anymore.”

That and a few other things [Roommate] does make me realize I do not like her all that much. We stop trying to be friends and just live together. She often skips class or shows up late, and I never say anything about class again.

Another few weeks go by, and it’s an exam day. I have gotten into the habit of leaving early and going to a coffee shop in the morning. Even on the days that [Roommate] makes it on time, she is still asleep when I leave in the morning, so I don’t think anything about her still being asleep at 7:15 when I leave. I get back home a few hours later and she is asleep. I think she must have gone back to bed after class.

A few days later, I come home.

Roommate: “What the f*** is wrong with you?! We had a test on Friday and I missed it! Now I’m failing! Why didn’t you wake me up?! I can’t believe how rude you are that you can’t take a second out of your morning to wake me up for class.”

Me: “How was I supposed to know to wake you up? The last time I tried, you yelled and told me to never do so again. You’re always still asleep when I leave in the morning, so I didn’t know you were not going to get up.”

Roommate: “Not waking me up did not apply to test days! You could have at least told me about the test!”

Me: “It’s on the schedule and was announced in class for the week prior. You should have known we had a test.”

Roommate: “Obviously not, since I wasn’t awake. Now I’m probably going to have to retake the class, and it’s all your fault!”

Me: “Okay, well, I have lunch plans. See you later.”

She never missed another class again.

“West Virginia Board of Education V. Barnette” Would Like A Word

, , , , , , , | Learning | September 28, 2022

I moved from Australia to Washington DC for work for a year with my wife and thirteen-year-old son. We are proud Australians, and we try to keep a connection to home; I still watch Aussie Rules football and cricket, and I LOVE vegemite and always have it on hand.

We enrolled my son in the local public school and sent him for his first day. When I came home that night, I asked him:

Me: “How was your day, [Son]?”

Son: “I got in trouble for not pledging allegiance to the flag. I was put on a week of lunchtime detentions.”

I went to the school the next morning and spoke with the principal, who then called the teacher in. This teacher had a major attitude and was throwing out lines such as, “I did not fight for this country for the flag to be disrespected,” and something about “attitude problems”.

When I had a chance, I asked:

Me: “Would you pledge allegiance to the Australian flag?”

Teacher: “Of course not.”

Me: “That’s what you’re trying to make my son do — pledge to a flag he has no connection to.”

This teacher would not budge.

Teacher: “Every time [Son] refuses to pledge, he will get a week of lunch detentions.”

[Son] ended up changing classes, and his new teacher was a sweet older teacher who even had my son do a presentation about Australia and share vegemite sandwiches and fairy bread with the class.