Your Grades Will All Die Eventually

, , , , , , | Learning | March 19, 2018

(I’m in my economics class. My class is known for goofing around, but we still do our work. My teacher is sort of laid back with us, so we joke with her about things. Our teacher is giving a lecture until we start getting off topic. I can’t remember how exactly we got to this, but we are talking about death in older people. Also, the teacher has been sick and going to the doctor, and recently had surgery. One girl is talking to the teacher. Everyone can hear her, speaking in a uncaring voice.)

Girl #1: “What’s the point, if you’re going to die, anyway?”

(In a split second everyone turns to her and gasps in shock.)

Classmate #1: “What is wrong with you?!”

Classmate #2: “How can you just say that?!”

Classmate #3: “Wow, [Girl #1]!”

Classmate #4: “What the f***?!”

(The teacher is just shocked, and [Girl #1] realizes what she just said.)

Teacher: “Well, guys, if I’m not here tomorrow… You should know why.”

Girl #1: *stammering* “I mean, we all die in the end.”

Girl #2: “[Girl #1], if your average in the class suddenly goes down, you should know why.”

This Encounter Will Always Be In YOUR Permanent Record

, , , , , , | Learning | March 18, 2018

(I work at a middle school office, and parents need to bring in a doctor’s note if their student missed school because of an appointment. One day, a mother walks in with a note.)

Mother: “I’d like to clear my child’s absence. He had a dentist’s appointment.” *makes no move to hand me a note*

Me: “Sure thing! However, to verify your child was at the dentist, we need a—”

Mother: *interrupting* “That’s fine! I know the date! It was January 8th, 2015!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but… Wait. Did you just say, ‘2015’?”

Mother: “YES! What, are you deaf or something?”

Me: “That was four years ago. There’s only three grades in middle school. Your kid doesn’t even attend this school anymore, ma’am.”


Me: “Ma’am, even if your child still attended this school, I could not excuse it, because it’s long after the gradebook closed for the year. You don’t need to worry about his permanent record; that’s only for—”

Mother: “AGH! FORGET IT! YOU’RE JUST BEING UNREASONABLE!” *storms out of the office*

When He Upgrades To Four-Letter Words You’re In Trouble

, , , , | Learning | March 17, 2018

(I teach Sunday School to a group of seven- to nine-year-olds, so there is plenty of squirming and giggling to go around. Today’s lesson calls for me to teach a few words in sign language — “love,” etc. — and I’m going over them, when one of the boys raises his hand.)

Boy: “What does this sign mean? I always have to hold my hand up like this when I need to use the bathroom at school.”

(I recognize he’s making the sign for the letter T, which also means “toilet” or “bathroom” if you shake your hand. I explain it, and the boy thinks for a moment.)

Boy: “What’s the sign for the letter O?”

(I demonstrated, realizing we were getting a little off track, but happy that he was engaged and interested. The boy giggled and immediately began fingerspelling “T-O-O-T.” With only two letters I managed to give an eight-year-old’s sense of humor all the ammo it needed.)

I Can Speak The Inglish

, , , | Learning | March 16, 2018

I am a New Zealander, and I was applying for graduate study at a number of universities in the United States. A month or two after applications went in, I received a letter from one of the universities — a prestigious one which should know better — to inform me that my application was incomplete because I had not submitted a TOEFL score. “TOEFL” is short for “test of English as a foreign language,” and is used by US universities to ensure that foreign students have sufficient command of English to be able to study in an English language environment. It is not required for native English speakers, so of course I had not taken the test.

So, I wrote them a reply, which went something like this.

“You have asked me for a TOEFL score. As it happens, I was resident in the USA from age eight weeks to four years old, when I learned to speak. Had I remained there, I could reasonably claim that English was a foreign language, but I then moved back to New Zealand. As such, I speak English natively. I know to never split an infinitive. I avoid cliches like the plague. Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. I don’t use no double negatives. In short, I cannot in good faith take a test of English as a foreign language.”

They made no further demands for a TOEFL score.

Et Tu Brute Spoilers

, , , , , | Learning | March 16, 2018

(We’re reading the William Shakespeare play “Julius Caesar” in English class. My teacher is making us take parts and read it aloud while she stops us occasionally to ask a question or clarify what the characters are saying. After watching a week-long background movie on Julius Caesar’s life, we finally start reading the actual play. We’re about halfway through the first act.)

Teacher: “Caesar has been warned to ‘Beware the Ides of March,’ and with the middle of March in just a few days, you’d think he’d pay attention, but he doesn’t.”

Me: “Man, that really came back to stab him in the back.”

(General laughter.)

Teacher: “Yup, that’s what happens when your ego gets too big.”

Student #1: “Wait, why was that funny?”

Me: *a little uncertain* “Um, well, because of the whole stabbing Caesar in the Senate thing?”

Student #1: “Whoa! Spoilers! Not cool, dude.”

Teacher: “Caesar did die over 2000 years ago, so it’s kind of old news.”

Student #1: “Wait, what? Caesar was a real guy?”

(The teacher and I stare in disbelief. The rest of the class starts snickering.)

Student #1: *getting red in the face, totally serious now* “No, I mean, I thought he was like a really cool movie character Shakespeare made up.”

(The rest of the class loses it.)

Teacher: *doing her best not to laugh in the kid’s face* “No, [Student #1]. Julius Caesar was definitely a real person who lived and died in Ancient Rome. He’s why we have the month called July and not the month called Quintilius.”

Student #2: *totally serious, but quiet and somewhat ditzy girl* “Julius Caesar was a man?!”

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