Stories from school and college

Ring Me Once, Shame On Me…

, , , , , , | Learning | March 6, 2021

It is the first day of the new semester of my third year of college. The professor has spent a large portion of the class reviewing the syllabus.

Professor: “…and cell phones should be off or set to silent. If you interrupt my class with a phone call, I will take a half-grade off your next test.”

My phone starts ringing with a recognizable fanfare from a famous video game series. The professor stops speaking and everyone stares at me.

Professor: “You going to answer that?”

Me: “Nope. Going to pretend like it’s not happening.”

Professor: “Ha! Good call.”

I got full credit on the next test.

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Sometimes It’s Safer To Have A Cow

, , , , | Learning | March 4, 2021

It’s an ordinary day. I am reading a book to my fourth-grade class when the principal comes on the intercom.

Principal: “Teachers and faculty, this is a code blue. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.”

Heart pounding, I do everything I am supposed to. I check for people in the hallway, turn out the lights, lock the door, urge my class into a hidden corner of the room, and tell them to be quiet.

An hour passes, and my kids start getting antsy.

Student: “Mr. [My Name], what’s going on?”

Me: “I don’t know. And be quiet.”

A few more minutes pass, and the principal comes on the intercom again and says the danger has passed. I do all the usual procedures and find my boss in the hallway. He’s laughing. I also spot a police officer who is also laughing.

Me: “What happened? My kids were scared!”

Principal: “It was a cow!”

Me: “You’re kidding.”

Police Officer: “No, he’s not. Somebody forgot to close the main doors, and she managed to get in and make herself at home! We’ve contacted animal control and are currently asking all the local farmers if she’s theirs.”

Laughing, I went back to my classroom, calmed down my kids, and told them that everything was okay. And that’s how a cow caused mass panic in an elementary school and caused us to lock down for over an hour.

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I Am Not Trying To Seduce You

, , , , | Learning | March 2, 2021

I am at a week-long international tech workshop at a campus with an onsite cafe and no other eating within walking distance. We are all nerds but not completely without social skills, so about six of the guys decide to go to the cafe together and get to know each other. The international students want to practice their English, and there are French and Chinese students next to me trying to show off a bit.

Chinese Student: “Good afternoon, gentlemen. It is a pleasure to have lunch with you.”

French Student: “Very nice, but I want to sound cool like American movies. How would I greet a friend?”

Me: “Well, you could say, ‘hello,’ ‘hi,’ or, ‘hey,’ before their name.” 

Chinese Student: “‘Hey’ does sound cool.”

The server comes up right then.

Server: “Hi! My name is Macarena. What can I get you guys today?”

The French student speaks enthusiastically with their song-like French accent.

French Student: “Hey, Macarena!”

The server does not look pleased, the French student is confused, and the Chinese student is laughing so hard he is having trouble talking.

Chinese Student: *To me* “You did not tell him the rules!”

Me: *To [French Student]* “You can say, ‘hey,’ to any of your friends… unless her name is Macarena.”

French Student: “Why?”

The Chinese student started doing the dance, and even Macarena started laughing at how ridiculous it was. For the rest of the week, the French student greeted her with, “Helllloooo, Macarena!” while she stared at him before laughing.

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To Be Fair, A Middle-Schooler On YouTube Is Usually Up To No Good

, , , , | Learning | February 28, 2021

In middle school, I am in an honors English program. I love it, but since it is a small school and very few students are eligible, we don’t have a normal class for it and instead do all of our work online, using the computers in the school library. It might look odd to an outsider — two kids sitting quietly on computers in an otherwise empty library — but this is the only time I realize how weird it could look.

An adult visitor is going around the school for reasons I never bothered to find out. He sees my singular classmate and me on the computers and comes over, despite the fact that we are both wearing headphones.

Visitor: “So, what are you up to?”

Me: “English class.”

The visitor takes a look at my screen, clearly able to see a word processor in one window and YouTube in another. The video, which is paused, is clearly marked with a movie title, and since it’s animated, there’s no mistaking it for anything traditionally academic.

Visitor: “You’re just watching movies?”

Me: “It’s for our media literacy project. We’re each analyzing a movie and I chose [Movie].”

Visitor: “But you’re still watching movies.”

Me: “Just this one.”

Visitor: “They let you watch movies all day?”

Me: “It’s a project for just this class.”

Visitor: “I can’t believe they just let you watch movies.”

He shook his head and left, and I went back to watching the movie and typing out an outline of events. I still don’t know what part of “This is for a school project” he didn’t understand.

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Maybe They Didn’t Wake Up Until Three?

, , , | Learning | February 27, 2021

I work for a college within a university that specializes in teacher preparation. Some of our students are… interesting. 

We have advisors for our students, but they go by appointment only, not walk-ins or unscheduled phone calls — a “quick question” is never quick! Students are told this during their orientation.

I pick up the phone for the main line in that department. 

Student: “Hi. I’ve been trying to call [Advisor] all day and she just doesn’t ever answer her phone! Is it, like, broken or something?”

Me: “[Advisor] had appointments all morning and is currently in a meeting. Have you scheduled an appointment with her?”

Student: “No, but I just have a quick question and I just can’t believe she doesn’t pick up her phone!”

Me: “Ma’am, she doesn’t answer her phone when she is with other students; it would not be fair to those who have an appointment. If you’d like, I can take down a message for her, or you can send her an email at [email].”

Student: “Ugh! This is so unprofessional!” *Hangs up*

Maybe five minutes later, my colleague, [Advisor] finishes her meeting and comes out for a stretch. I tell her about the call, and she goes to check her missed calls. 

Advisor: “You know, it’s funny. For someone who has been calling me ‘all day,’ you’d think I would have more calls from her. I have two missed calls from her: one at 3:20 and the other at 3:33.”

It was only 3:50 at the time of this conversation.

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