Stories from school and college

The Free Lunch Was Only The Beginning Of The Perks

, , , , , , | Learning | April 20, 2021

I’m completing the final year of my apprenticeship for my company. They come around and ask us if we could volunteer to attend a school event to promote the company and potentially encourage the next generation of apprentices.

As soon as it’s clear that this won’t be paid as overtime and only for an extra day off, most of the guys refuse to help, moaning about “free labour.” However, I volunteer as I reckon that four hours worked on a Saturday for eight hours holiday is probably still a good deal.

We do the event and I enjoy it way more than I thought. Inspiring young minds and seeing how they handle the tasks is enjoyable. I help a few of the school kids and get some good feedback on the day. Plus, we get a free lunch and I am already planning what to do with my day off.

When I finish my apprenticeship, the other in my year and I are interviewed to see where we will be placed. There are a few hotly contested areas so we all want to do well.

Interviewer: “Sorry, but have we met?”

Me: “I’m not sure, sorry.”

Interviewer: “Didn’t you do that school event?”

Me: “Oh, yes, sorry. I recognise you.”

Interviewer: “I remember. You really took charge that day. I was impressed.”

Apprentice Manager: “You know, he volunteered that day without pay.” *Smiles at me*

Interviewer: “Really? Oh, that really shows dedication. Listen, we are going off track, but there is a really promising role in [department]. They have been looking for someone who is willing to learn and succeed. It’s not strictly an [ex]apprentice position, but I think they would consider you. What do you think?”

Me: “That’s great, thank you!”

It took some convincing, but I got the job! A couple of the other guys in my year tried to lodge a complaint, saying that they would have volunteered if they had known, or something, but it was thrown out before it got anywhere.

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Like Turning Down Your Radio To Read The Street Signs

, , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2021

I am a teacher working with kids and teenagers ages ten to nineteen. Because of sensory processing issues, I sometimes struggle with auditory and/or visual input if the environment I am in is too noisy or crowded. However, this usually does not affect my job much, except for having to ask students, “Could you please repeat what you said? My brain didn’t get that,” every now and then. I am also very open about this and explain my situation to new students at the beginning of the school year.

One day, I am walking through a crowded hallway at school, when I suddenly hear some yelling behind me. I turn around to see two of my students who are in twelfth grade approaching me.

Student #1: “Ms. [My Name]! Ms. [My Name]!”

Me: “Hey, guys, what’s up?”

Student #1: *Pretending to be offended* “We just wanted to say hi! You walked past us several times. We’ve been waving and saying good morning every time, but you keep ignoring us! That’s not nice!”

Student #2: “Idiot! Stop bugging her! You know she can’t see anything when it is too loud!”

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Trouble Comes In Many Forms

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2021

When I was a teenager, I went to a boarding school for “troubled teen girls” for a short period of time. I was physically ill after finally being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and my missing school was leading my grades to drop to the point where I was on the verge of being kicked out, so they enrolled me for a few trimesters as a way for me to catch up. A lot of the girls were suffering from severe behavioral issues and returning from wilderness camps, so it was a pretty intense group of kids.

Most Internet use was forbidden except in connection with schoolwork, and all of our computers in the computer lab faced inward so the teacher who was running the computer lab could see our screens. There were also very strict blocks that blocked almost everything except for educational websites. They’d never had any issues, until me.

I was annoyed at these restrictions and wanted to talk to my friends via email and post on forums. It was nothing malicious at all; besides my health issues, I was a pretty good kid. Unfortunately for the school, I was the first student that happened to know about using proxy servers to get around these restrictions.

I was constantly alt+tabbing, using tiny windows, and being on the lookout for when the lab monitor looked my way. This went on for months before a couple of students found out and asked me about it. I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to cause trouble, and I knew that everyone suddenly having access would be impossible to hide. Of course, that meant that they went and told the principal about it.

They had no idea how I managed to do it. Even the so-called IT people for the school had no explanation! Frustrated, the principal forbade me from entering the computer lab again until I told them how I managed to get around the restrictions.

Unfortunately for them, I was leaving the school soon after anyway, so it didn’t make a difference. Amusingly, they wound up calling my parents because of the “trouble” I was making and complained that I was being uncooperative.

I don’t remember if anyone else managed to figure out what I was doing, and years later, my mom admitted that she was so proud to find out that the “trouble” I was making was being the first person to outsmart the school just so I could check my email and post on some gaming forums.

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Get With The Times Or Pay The Fines

, , , , , , | Learning | April 18, 2021

My mother is a long-serving special needs teacher with almost thirty years of experience in the field. After serving in a number of schools, she has spent the last decade and more as an advisory teacher who travels around schools helping them to give appropriate assistance to pupils with disabilities and other educational needs. A lot of what she does involves issuing laptop computers to children who need them, something not all schools seem to understand.

She has been called out to a school that has a headmaster with rather old-fashioned ideas to assess a pupil with motor control issues. Her assessment is that he needs a laptop to enable him to complete his work. She reports this to the headmaster.

Headmaster: “Oh, no. You see, handwriting is one of our key skills here, so we will not allow him to use a computer.”

Mother: *Bluntly* “Well, then, I’ll have to report you to the Equalities Commission.”

Headmaster: *Gasping* “W-WHAT?!”

Mother: “The law says that you must make reasonable provision for pupils with disabilities. You are telling me that you are going to refuse to do that, which means I have no option but to report you to the Equalities Commission.”

Oddly enough, he decided to change his school policy there and then.

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It’s A Dragon! It’s A Kangaroo! No, It’s… Actually, It IS A Dragon!

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 17, 2021

I’m the same person from these two stories. My Japanese teacher, who I’ll call Sensei, quite likes origami. I have a tendency to start speaking in English during speaking tasks due to nerves. She helps me overcome this by building up my confidence, and she gifts me with a pack of origami paper the first time I succeed.

During a lesson, a friend and I are chatting, and I offhandedly mention the origami prank I played earlier. Sensei jokingly interjects.

Sensei: “I hope I won’t find rabbits all over my desk, [My Name]!”

I laugh and we move to another topic.  

When I get home, I examine the pack of origami paper I was given and realize just how many pieces of paper there are in the pack. That’s when I get ideas.  

I carefully extricate one piece of each color and fold them all into dragons. I spend the next few days with a pocket full of paper dragons, waiting for an opportunity where I can get to Sensei’s desk.

A week or so later, that opportunity comes. I dash right in and get to work placing the dragons. Once I am done, I run back outside to find Sensei.

Me: “Sensei, Sensei, come quick! There’s an army of miniature dragons invading your desk!” 

Sensei: “Miniature dragons?”

Me: “Yeah, miniature dragons!” 

We walked back to the staffroom where her desk was located. As soon as she opened the door and spotted her desk, she started laughing.  

True to my word, there were eight miniature dragons in various comical positions on her desk. There was one tapping at her keyboard curiously, one climbing up the side of her desktop monitor, one on top of her monitor entirely, one swinging from the cord for the vertical blinds by its forelimbs and holding on for dear life, one running on her tape roll mounted in the desktop tape dispenser, and three more sitting around on her desk, watching the show.  

Judging by how the eight origami dragons are now carefully lined up on her desk, I think this prank counts as a success.

Related:
It’s A Dragon! It’s A Kangaroo! No, It’s A Disappearing Teacher!
It’s A Dragon! It’s A Kangaroo! No, It’s A Whole Mess Of Rabbits!

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