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Stories from school and college

Parental Misguidance

| Learning | March 12, 2013

(Parents often call to make sure their children are where they are supposed to be or are going to be ready when they come to pick them up.)

Me: “Computer lab, this is [name].”

Mother: “Hi, I am looking for my son. I think he’s up there using your computers.”

Me: “Okay, can you tell me what he looks like?”

Mother: “Well, he’s got medium skin, he’s kind of heavy, and he looks a little slow.”

Somebody Failed Listening 101

| Learning | March 12, 2013

(While waiting for his to-go food to arrive, a customer is making small talk with me about college.)

Customer: “So, what are you studying in school?”

Me: “Psychology, sir.”

Customer: “Why? That’s a stupid profession. You won’t go anywhere with that! All you’re doing is wasting Daddy’s money!”

Me: “Actually, sir, I am pay—”

Customer: “My daughter studied Psychology! She wasted all my money!”

Me: “Sir, I’m paying for my own college.”

Customer: “Dads always pay for college!”

Me: “Mine isn’t. I live alone and pay for my own schooling.”

Customer: “Whatever. Dads always pay!”

Doesn’t Enjoy Bird Watching But Quite Likes The Woods

| Learning | March 12, 2013

(I am sitting quietly in Current Affairs when I get a tap on the back from behind from a student.)

Student: “Hey. Is Dick Cheney the funny man on TV?”

Me: “No, he was the Vice President during the Bush Administration.”

Student: *blank look*

Me: “You know, he was the one who shot his friend in the face while quail hunting?”

Student: “Oh my God, he what! Wait, what’s a quail?”

Me: “It’s a type of bird.”

Student: “Why on earth would anyone kill a bird?”

Me: “To eat?”

Student: “That’s disgusting!”

Me: “Where do you think chicken’s come from!?”

Student: “Oh… right. I swear I’m not dumb! I know who Tiger Woods is!”

Words Fail Me

| Learning | March 12, 2013

(A student comes in to the Registrar’s office to pick up a transcript. After discovering that she never placed an order, I tell her to place the order so that it will be ready in the afternoon. After checking the system over the course of several hours and not seeing the order, I call the student.)

Me: “Yes, I see you still have not placed your order.”

Student: “I placed it hours ago!”

Me: “Uh oh, I hope something is not wrong with our system. Did you get confirmation that the order went through?”

Student: “Yes! I still have it up right here on my screen. It says right here: ‘Transaction Failed’!”

Can’t Handle The Screening Process, Part 2

| Learning | March 12, 2013

(I teach college computer courses part time. I am introducing my students, who are 18-60 or so, to Windows and a GUI for the first time.)

Me: “Okay, everyone use your mouse to point at the icon and double-click on it. Once in the program, go ahead with the exercise.”

(A student raises a hand.)

Me: “Something not working?”

Student: “The mouse doesn’t seem to work. I point at the icon and double-click and nothing happens.”

Me: “That’s strange. Try it right now and let’s see what happens.”

(The student grabs the mouse, picks it up off the desk and points it at the icon like a gun and double clicks.)

Student: “See? Isn’t that little arrow supposed to follow too? Anyway, it’s broken, doesn’t work.”

Me: “Ah, well, see you actually use the mouse here on the mouse-pad like this.” *I demonstrate*

Student: “Oh my, I get it now!” *grabs the mouse and successfully launches the program*

(A few minutes go by as the students are working on the exercise, the same student raises a hand.)

Me: “Getting along with the exercise okay?”

Student: “I was, but now I need a bigger mouse pad.”

Me: “Why would that be?”

Student: “Well look at it. I have the mouse all the way to the right side of the mouse-pad, but I need to make the arrow go even further to the right on the screen. I need a bigger mouse-pad.”

Me: “Well, you can pick the mouse up–”

Student: “You told me not to do that.”

Me: “Right, but in this case–”

Student: “You’re confusing me.”

Me: “Let me see if we have a bigger mouse-pad…”