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Stories from school and college

Dumbed If You Do, Dumbed If You Don’t

, , , , | Learning | March 27, 2013

(I am doing my teaching placement in a primary school classroom. A student’s mother comes in to drop her son off for the morning. The teacher notices her hovering around the kids’ reading boxes.)

Teacher: “Oh, are you looking for some books for [Son]?”

Parent: “Why is my son only in Blue Group? Green Group is the highest! He’s smart!”

Teacher: “Yes, [Son] is a very good reader, but the books in this box are more on his level in terms of reading comprehension. He’s doing very well in this group.”

Parent: “This is ridiculous. You are not giving him enough credit! I want him switched!”

(She continues to rant about this until the teacher finally gives her a book from the harder box. Next Monday, she returns to speak with the teacher.)

Parent: “Why did you give [Son] this book? He couldn’t even read it! You’re trying to make him feel dumb!”

Teacher: *to me, jokingly* “You sure you still want to be a teacher?”

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Hold My Hand 101

, | Learning | March 27, 2013

Me: “Hi, what can I help you find today?”

Student: “I need a book for my class.”

Me: “Okay, do you know the course number?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Do you know who your professor is?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Do you know what department the class is in?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Do you know the name of the book? Or the author?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Okay… do you know anything at all about what you’re looking for? Do you know what the book looks like?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Well, I don’t think there’s anything else I can do to help you.”

Student: *heavy sigh* “FINE.” *eye roll* “I guess I’ll go find my syllabus and come back.”

(Believe it or not, this kind of interaction happens ALL the time!)

Like Tolkien To A Brick Deeping Wall

| Learning | March 27, 2013

(I am at an open day at school for my young son. It isn’t a faith-based school, so there are no requirements to be a particular religion. I am currently talking to the headmaster who has only been there three months.)

Headmaster: *notices my wedding ring* “What on Earth is that?”

(My wedding ring is a replica of the one ring from Lord of the Rings.)

Me: “Oh, it’s my wedding ring. My husband and I are huge Lord of the Rings fans.”

Headmaster: “What are all these demonic symbols on it?”

Me: “Oh, it’s Elvish writing, a language that J.R.R Tolkien made up.”

Headmaster: “A good Christian should never wear demonic symbols on their person!”

Me: “Oh no, me and my husband are atheists, but we want [son] to learn about different religions and decide for himself what he wants to believe.”

(The head looks taken aback by my son’s name, which is Japanese even though both my husband and I are British.)

Headmaster: “What sort of a h***ish name is [son’s name]?!”

(I am starting to get slightly annoyed now, but still persevere as it is a good school.)

Me: “We both have very common names, and wanted to name our children something that meant a lot to us, even if it wasn’t necessarily in common usage.”

Headmaster: “Well I don’t want any of your kind coming to my school and corrupting the other children, and I will send messages to the other schools in the county warning them of you! You should be ashamed of yourselves!”

(She proceeded to write “Do not accept anyone called [son’s name]” on her notepad and shooed me away. I later learnt she had been fired for turning away three Muslim families, but I still didn’t send my son to that school!)

This story is part of the Tolkien-themed roundup!

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My Name Is Katniss Everdude

| Learning | March 26, 2013

(I am in a British literature class with a professor who is endearingly out of touch with the times. For example, he just discovered that phones have alarms and cameras. In class, we are discussing potential feminist themes in an 18th-century novel.)

Me: “I was reading about a theorist who said that in movies such as “Brave,” the strong female characters actually do not help women because these characters must sacrifice their femininity and become like men to be considered strong.”

Professor: “Interesting. That reminds me of the strangest movie I saw recently. I don’t even know how I ended up watching it; I think the movie I wanted to see was out of seats or something. Tell me if you’ve heard of this: “The Hunger Games?” *completely sincere* “Is that supposed to be feminist?”

Entire Class: “NO!”

(We hurry to explain to him what young adult dystopian literature is, and he seems relieved, though no less baffled).

Sibling Robbery

| Learning | March 26, 2013

(The school bus drivers are on strike. As a result, all the parents have to drive to the school to pick up their children. It can get very busy, and the teachers are struggling with coordination. I am picking up my two young sons. They are my only children. I spot them talking to a teacher.)

Me: “Come on boys, time to go home.”

Teacher: “Ah! Mrs. [Name]! I’m so glad you’re here. Your daughter is waiting for you upstairs.”

Me: “My daughter?”

Teacher: “Yes. We know it’s complete chaos here at the moment, and—”

Me: “I have a daughter?”

Teacher: “—we really appreciate your patience at this time—”

Me: “But, I don’t have a daughter.”

Teacher: “—but rest assured that—”

(Since the teacher isn’t listening, I look to my two young boys.)

Me: “Why does she think I have a daughter?”

Son: “I don’t know, but stay quiet! We can take home a new sister!”

(Thankfully, the bus strike was over before I had stray children living in my house!)