Stories from school and college

Drop(out) The Bomb

| Learning | March 11, 2013

(I live in a small town; as such, little stories such as ‘so and so made this all star team’ or ‘this person went to a university’s honor band” frequently appear in the newspaper. During high school, I was part of the later group until I started university, where my name would continue to appear in the Dean’s List published at the end of each semester. At this moment, university has been out for a week, while the high schools are finishing up their school year.)

Customer: “Hey, why aren’t you in school?”

Me: “Beg pardon?”

Customer: “It’s 11:00 AM; not even the students with special privileges to work during school hours should be out yet! Why are you not at [school] and working here for?”

Me: “Sir, I graduated a few years ago.”

Customer: “No, you didn’t! I just saw your name in the paper for some fancy list.”

Me: “Oh, you mean the Dean’s List? Yes, I’m happy that I got on it this semester; I was taking a full load of classes!”

Customer: “You shouldn’t be done yet! School doesn’t finish for another three weeks.”

Me: “Sir, I no longer attend [high school]. Instead, I—”

Customer: *shocked* “You dropped out?! After all those times you were in the paper for music and smart stuff? What in the world possessed you to do that?!”

Me: “I didn’t drop out sir. I just—”

Customer: “Where is your manager? I need to talk to him about hiring drop outs, even if they appear to be smarticle like you!”

(yes, he did use the word ‘smarticle’.)

Me: *pulls university ID card out of pocket wallet* “Please read the date this was issued.”

Customer: “Summer 2010?”

Me: “Yes. Now, why would I have a university ID card?”

Customer: “Because you go to that university?”

(I wait.)

Customer: “Oh… yeah. That was the college list, wasn’t it?” *gathers up items, pays, and leaves*

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Time To Teach Time Travel

| Learning | December 29, 2012

(I am a substitute teacher. This takes place on Picture Day, where all the kids go with their homeroom teachers to have school pictures taken. After about a quarter of my students have sat for their portraits and are sitting quietly near me while they wait for their classmates to finish, the principal comes in to the room.)

Principal: “You need to take the students who are finished back to your classroom. They can’t just loiter in here.”

Me: “But, I thought I wasn’t supposed to leave any student unattended.”

Principal: “That’s right.”

Me: “So, I have to walk each student, as they are finished, back to my classroom?”

Principal: “Yes.”

Me: “And, then, return here to escort the next student?”

Principal: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that.”

(I proceed to escort the 6-8 students who were finished back to my classroom. I then return to the cafeteria, where portraits are being taken. Just then, the principal walks in, seemingly livid.)

Principal: “What did I tell you about leaving students unattended?”

Me: “I’m confused. I thought I was supposed to escort each student back to my classroom, and then return here for the next student.”

Principal: “Yes! That’s right!”

Me: “But, to do that, the students in the classroom would be left unattended.”

Principal: “Students should NEVER be unattended!”

Me: “Then, should I stay in the classroom and tell students to just return to my room when the portraits are done?”

Principal: “What are you thinking?! Students should never be left unattended in the classroom, in the cafeteria, or in the hallways.”

Me: “Let me see if I am getting this right: I am supposed to be in the cafeteria throughout the time the portraits are being taken so the kids aren’t unattended in the cafeteria. I am also supposed to escort each and every student back to my classroom so they aren’t unattended in the hallways. Once I take a student back to the classroom, I’m supposed to stay there so that they aren’t left unattended in my room. Is that right?”

Principal: “YES! God, why is that so hard to figure out? At this rate, it’ll be a miracle if you don’t flunk out of your master’s program.”

Me: “So, tell me, how am I supposed to be in the cafeteria, in my classroom, and escorting students in the hallway all at the same time?”

Principal: “You are the teacher. That is your job to figure out. Now, get it done!” *storms off*

(I did my best to bend the laws of physics and reality to accomplish his directive, but it didn’t work. In the end, I ended up having to leave the students unattended in the cafeteria, where at least the adult photographer and school secretary were present. At the end of the day, I was relieved from my position as a long-term substitute teacher for “Endangering the safety of students by leaving them unattended.”)

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In Need Of Hire Education

, , , | Learning | December 1, 2012

(At the fast food restaurant where I work, most of my coworkers are in high school.)

Manager: *to Coworker* “I need you to stay late and close. [Another Coworker] called in sick.”

Coworker: “I can’t. I have to study for a test I’m taking tomorrow.”

Manager: “But I need you to stay. What’s more important, school or this job?”

Coworker: *stunned* “Finishing high school is more important!”

Manager: “Fine, have it your way. But with that attitude, you’ll never amount to much!”

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Foot In Mouth 101

, , , , | Learning | November 16, 2012

(Note: I am a criminal justice major at a college in rural Virginia. The head of our department is notoriously sexist and racist but nothing has even been done about various claims filed against him. I see him walking by with a family, giving a tour.)

Department Head: “Oh, and as you can see, we also promote diversity on our campus by giving scholarships to a few less privileged students. Most of them, like these ladies, are in the nursing program because it’s fairly easy and there is a thriving work force.”

(He gestures at two female African-American students. Both are wearing business attire. One of the women, obviously having overheard him, calmly walks over.)

Female Student: “Hello, [Head of Department], I see you are leading a tour around campus. My name is Jessica [Last Name of Major University Benefactor], granddaughter of [Major University Benefactor]. I am a criminal justice major and have been in your classes the past two terms. I used to think you ignored me because the classes were so large and I am still only in my second year, but now I realize you are a racist, sexist chauvinist. I wish you the best of luck in your future job because once I speak with [Major University Benefactor], you will be needing a new one.”

(She then walked away with her friend. Sure enough, the next term we had a new department head — a former US Congresswoman!)

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Don’t Bite The Hand That Shreds You

, | Learning | October 31, 2012

(At the school where I teach, there’s a new teacher who seems to have a habit of talking down to people: students, custodians, and most notably, the school secretary. One day, the new teacher storms in and slams a paper down on the secretary’s desk.)

Teacher: “Listen, you lazy b****! This is the third work order I’ve put in about a broken desk. It’s been two weeks. Why isn’t it fixed?”

Secretary: “I just file the paperwork. You’d have to talk to the custodians.”

Teacher: “I don’t to talk to a dumba** janitor! I shouldn’t have to! I went to college!”

Secretary: “You’ll have to take it up with [Custodian].”

Teacher: “Did you just talk back to me?! I can have you fired for that! I’m a teacher; you’re just a secretary. You’re here to serve me!” *storms out*

Me: *to the secretary* “Wow, did that really just happen?”

Secretary: “Yep. He’s cussed me out twice this year already.”

(I watch as she calmly picks up his work order and slides it into the shredder.)

Secretary: “I have no idea why they haven’t fixed that desk yet.”

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