Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered
Stories from school and college

*Chuckles* I’m In Danger!

, , , , , , , | Learning | February 4, 2023

In the early 1990s, I bought my first house. Not long after moving in, I noticed that our local community college had a non-credit evening course called “Residential Wiring For Homeowners”. It was, as the title suggested, catering to homeowners who wanted to learn the basics of electrical wiring in the home as it pertained to anything from replacing lights fixtures and switches to minor electrical changes — renovations, etc.

The instructor was a licensed journeyman electrician with a wry sense of humour and more than a few stories to tell of the many wiring nightmares he had come across in his career. He was a great instructor, and I learned a LOT from him in the course.

Each week, he would give a short lecture on the work we would practice. For the course, each of us bought a list of electrical supplies (wire, switches, junction boxes, etc.), and we used a two-foot-by-two-foot square of plywood to attach the various pieces. After each lecture, we would then practice building the circuits and mount the necessary pieces on the board. During this time, our instructor would move about checking our work, offering advice and/or corrections, and answering questions.

On the first night, [Instructor] outlined the course and expectations. He also made it clear there was one rule that had to be followed:

“NOBODY plugs their board in to live power without me checking your work first. No exceptions!”

You may guess where this story is going.

There was one guy in the class — let’s call him “Ralph”. After a few nights, it was clear that Ralph was struggling a bit with the concepts. He never seemed to get it right the first time, kept asking for more explanations, etc. He was a nice guy but clearly not cut out to do this stuff on his own.

One evening, in particular, stands out all these years later. We were working on a more complicated wiring example using four-way switches and light fixtures. Everyone was working away and completing the task when, all of a sudden, there was a loud “FOOP” and the lights went out in the class and in the hallway so we were in the pitch black.

After a few moments:

Instructor: “Who did that?!”

Ralph: “Uhhhh, sorry…”

Instructor: “Okay, everyone unplug your boards, and do not touch them until I’m back. I’m going to find and reset the breaker.”

When the lights came on and [Instructor] returned, he reviewed all the work in progress and gave the okay to proceed… for everyone but poor Ralph. He took Ralph to one corner of the room and sat down with him for a few minutes to have a “quiet conversation”. We proceeded with finishing our work, and Ralph eventually returned to finish his project board under the watchful eye of [Instructor].

A few classes later, we were done with the course. On the final night, [Instructor] began passing out certificates to all of us… except for poor Ralph. They were largely symbolic certificates, just an acknowledgment that we had taken the course.

Instructor: “Ralph, I know you tried your best in this course, but it is abundantly clear that you really have trouble grasping the basics I tried to teach this class. I would invite you to register for and take the course again to get the concepts down. If not, I implore you to never, ever touch the electrical wiring in your home and always call a qualified electrician for any work.”

I have no idea if Ralph tried to take the course again, and I certainly hope he never burned his house down trying to replace a light switch on his own.

Stay Frosty! (It Goes Great With Fries)

, , , , , , | Learning | February 2, 2023

I’m a middle school teacher, and I try to keep up with “the hip lingo.” (Thank you, Urban Dictionary.) I’m not very good with it, but I do know that the new word “salty” means that someone has a bad attitude or is giving someone attitude.

I’m in class with a student who is giving me attitude. He also is “too cool for school” and loves to give teachers the runaround. I’ve had enough and decide to mess with him.

Me: “Am I a french fry?”

He blinks.

Kid: “What?”

Me: “Am I a french fry?”

Kid: “I don’t know what that means.”

Me: “Am I a french fry?”

Kid: “No?”

Me: “Then stop throwing salt at me!”

The class laughed and he even chuckled. He fixed his attitude after that.

He Was A Very Convincing Rolfe, Apparently

, , , , , , | Learning | January 31, 2023

After my high school performance of “The Sound of Music”, the student actors are mingling with audience members in the lobby. An elderly man is approaching various actors.

To the actor who played the lead role of Maria:

Man: “You were amazing! So talented! I hope you pursue a career in music.”

To the actor who played Gretl, the youngest of the von Trapp children:

Man: “You were fantastic, sweetie! I bet your parents are so proud of you.”

To the actor who played Rolfe, still in a Nazi costume from his final scene in the show:

Man: “The last time I saw a man wearing that uniform, I shot him!”

Take Her To The Zoo Yourself, You Animal!

, , , , , , | Learning | January 29, 2023

I recently retired from teaching, and this is the story that sticks out the most to me. This story starts in 2018 and ends in 2020. Our school makes a yearly trip with the fifth-grade class to the Honolulu Zoo. Elementary school ends at the fifth year here, so it’s kind of seen as a send-off from elementary to middle school.

In 2018, I receive a call from a parent who has one child in our fifth-grade year and another in our third.

Mother: “Hello. I was wondering how to get my daughter in [Third-Grade Teacher]’s class in on the zoo field trip with her brother?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but the zoo trip is only for the fifth-grade class. We don’t allow any additions aside from chaperoning adults.”

Mother: “No, they are siblings.”

Me: “Yes, but your daughter is in third grade. She’s not eligible for the trip.”

Mother: “But they are siblings.”

Me: “I know, but the class trip is only for fifth-graders.”

Mother: “No, they both have to go.”

Me: “Sorry, but it’s only for the fifth-grade class. Your daughter will be eligible for the trip in two years.”

Mother: “But they are siblings! You have to treat them the same!”

Me: “We will. Your son waited for fifth grade, and your daughter needs to, as well.”

Mother: “No! She is going!”

Me: “No, she is not.”

Mother: “Yes, she is!”

Me: “No, she isn’t.”

Mother: “I am their mother! I decide what happens with them!”

Me: “Not in my classroom.”

Mother: “How dare you?!”

Me: “Would you like to speak with the principal?”

Mother: “YES!”

I transfer the line, and she ends up getting into an hour-long argument with the principal of our school. Her daughter is offered a place on the field trip, but only if the mother comes as a chaperone, which we need. The woman refuses and yells obscenities at the principal. In return, she is told in no uncertain terms that she is free to take her children to the zoo herself, and if she keeps pushing the matter, she will be.

Two years later, in 2020, I am at home and my phone rings at 7:00 pm. 

Me: “Hello?”

Mother: “What the f*** is going on with the zoo trip?!”

Me: “Excuse me? Who is this?”

Mother: “You said my daughter would be allowed to go to the zoo when she got to fifth grade!”

Me: “Ma’am, the zoo is closed.”

Mother: “I don’t f****** care. You said she would be able to go.”

Me: “And now she can’t because of the GLOBAL [HEALTH CRISIS]!”

Mother: “Don’t you dare raise your v—”

Me: “Shut the f*** up.”

Mother: “Exc—”

Me:Shut the f*** up!”

Mother: “…”

Me: “You call me three hours past office hours — on my home phone — and you think you can swear at me and get your way?!”

Mother: “I—” 

Me: “Well, guess what? This isn’t a recorded line, b****, so shut the f*** up and pull your head out of your f****** a**. I can’t control [illness], and I can’t control the zoo. If you are stupid enough not to understand that, then we should be enrolling you in your daughter’s class.”

Mother: “I… I… I—”

I slammed the phone down so hard that I cracked the body of the receiver. 

This was at the end of the school year for 2020, and I was one week from retiring. 

I didn’t mention a word of this to anyone. I felt bad about it when it happened, but looking back, I would do it again.

So Not Getting The Point, Or The Points

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 27, 2023

I give my class a two-part assignment: answer some questions about the reading and then participate in the in-class discussion. Participation is graded on whether you show up and say at least one thing within a small group — nothing big.

A student doesn’t attend class and doesn’t explain their absence, so they receive credit for only the reading questions — five of ten points. They come to talk to me about two weeks later.

Student: “I don’t think it’s fair that I only got five points. Why didn’t I get all ten points?”

Me: “Because you only did half the assignment; you didn’t attend class for the discussion.”

Student: “I don’t think it’s fair, though. Can I have the other points back?”

Me: “No, you only did half the assignment.”

Student: “You didn’t say on the sheet that I was supposed to attend class. Can I have the other points back?”

Me: “When I introduced the assignment, I said you have to attend class to get full credit. The information about this group of assignments posted online says you need to attend class for full credit.”

Student: “I don’t think it’s fair. Can I have the points back?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “It’s only five points. Can’t I just have the points?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “Can I do another assignment?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “Can’t I just do an extra credit assignment?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “It’s not fair!”

Me: “If you don’t like it, you can talk to the department chair and I’ll go with her decision.”

Student: “No, no, that’s not necessary! I just wondered if I could have the points.”

Me: “No!”

Student: “I didn’t know I had to come to class.”

Me: “No! This is really my final word. If you can’t accept it, you really need to talk to the department chair.”

Student: “No, that’s not necessary. This is not a big deal. I just don’t think it’s fair. It’s only five points.”