The Love Of Teaching Runs Deep

, , , | Learning | September 5, 2020

I’m a teacher. One of my students has recently started a part-time job and is celebrating their first payday.

Me: “Congratulations! Even after years of having them, I still find payday exciting. “

Student: “Wait, they pay you?”

Me: “Um… yes. I mean, I do love the job, but I don’t do it for free. Why did you think I’m here?”

Student: “I don’t know. I thought this was like a hobby or something.”

Every single student around him dissolved into laughter.

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We Had Finally Gotten That Song Out Of Ours Heads. Thanks.

, , , , , | Learning | September 3, 2020

It was the far back yesteryear of 2009 and Lonely Island had recently released their smash hit I’m On A Boat. For those unfamiliar with the song, the innocent title does nothing to convey that the lyrics are absolutely riddled with F-bombs.

Apparently, this fact also completely escaped the organizers of my senior prom, as when the song was inevitably requested — because what teen can resist randomness, T-Pain, and swear words? — the uncensored version started blaring through the speakers.

Supervisors rushed to the DJ booth and scrambled to switch over to the version that’s as much bleeps as English, but it was too late. The damage had been done, as 500 teenagers belted out “F***”s at the top of their lungs and nothing was going to stop them until the song had been sung.

Not sure what fallout there was for whoever approved the song list, but requests were pre-screened for the rest of the night instead of playing nearly immediately.

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Absolutely Despicable, Horrendous, And Dreadful

, , , , | Learning | September 1, 2020

I am in the fourth grade. It is the middle of the first month of school, and while most kids have shiny new pencil cases and things, my family is going through a rough patch and has been barely able to afford school fees for the four of us that go to school. So, I have my sister’s old sneakers and one pencil to last me for the month. I guard it fiercely.

For the fourth and fifth grade, I have a teacher who HATES me, mostly because I have ADHD and need to leave class twice a day to go get my medication and take it at the water fountain. It takes less than a minute and I usually remember on my own.

I slept in this morning and forgot my pencil case — with my pencil and sharpener inside — on my desk. So, I lean over and ask my friend for a pencil for the day.

My teacher turns around so fast she might have tapped into the speed force.

Teacher: “Stop disrupting the class.”

Me: “But I—”

Teacher: “You’re still doing it.”

Me: “I need a pencil. I forgot mine.” 

Teacher: “You should have thought of that earlier.”

She turns back to the projector. My friend quietly rolls a pencil across our shared table to me. 

After the lesson, the teacher turns back. She demands as I scribble in my last notes:

Teacher: “Where did you get that?”

Me: “My fr—”

Teacher: “I told you to stop disrupting other students with your disorganization. Give it back.”

Friend: “It’s fine, ma’am.”

Teacher: “No, she’s lazy and ungrateful. She needs to learn. Give it back.”

Me: *Standing up* “But I need my notes.”

Teacher: *Towering over me* “Don’t care. You should have pencils at home for homework so this doesn’t happen.”

Of course, this makes my ADHD just dig its tiny heels in. I am in the right. I’m not doing anything wrong.

Me: “We can’t afford that many and there are four kids in our house that need them. “

Teacher: “Oh, they can’t afford pencils but they can afford your medicine for your made-up disease?”

Me: *Shouting* “It’s not made-up! The doctor says it’s just not common in girls!”

I stamp my foot, tears starting to run down my face.

Teacher: “It’s not. Your family is just poor and trash, and your doctor is just making excuses for your messy habits and terrible grades.”

I am furious and embarrassed and crying up a storm.

Me: *Shouting* “You’re a dumb face!”

I leave the class, attempting to slam the door behind me. I then walk to the office, still sobbing my little heart out. When I get there, my principal is waiting. 

The principal is one of the few people who knows that my dad has been fired for being very sick and that my parents are very close to a divorce. So, she invites me in and listens to me blubber out what happened. She then calls my dad, who is at the school faster than you could eat a candy bar.

I have never seen my father so angry in his life than when I burst into tears when he enters the office and my principal explains what happened. It isn’t his usual volcano; it is quieter, like a freezing knife. 

Father: “Go get your coat. Your sister can get your homework.”

Me: “It’s recess; there’s no one in class.”

Principal: “I’ll help you get it.”

The three of us go to my class. My teacher is there and she goes as white as a sheet when she sees my dad.

I have no idea what he said to her while I got my coat and bag but she never outright looked me in the eye again.

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You Don’t Deserve The Refund On Those Textbooks

, , , , | Learning | August 29, 2020

I work at a university in Canada. Our campus has been closed to students since March because of the health crisis. Since then, we’ve sent out at least seven emails to students’ personal and school-issued email addresses, asking students to contact me to make an appointment to retrieve their belongings from their lockers so that we can maintain social distancing and make sure our staff and students are safe. We have also posted this information on our website and on our social media platforms.

It is now mid-August. Our facilities team asks me to send out one final email to students telling them that they need to get their things this week or locks will be cut and unclaimed belongings will be donated or thrown out. At this time, like many other schools and businesses, we are only open certain hours to make sure our facilities team can clean our large building every night. We are open from 8:00 to 4:30 Monday to Friday.

I get a phone call.

Me: “Hello, student services, how can I help you?”

Student: “I just got your email. The hours you are open are very inconvenient. Are you telling me I can’t come in at night or on the weekend?”

Me: “I apologise. I know it’s frustrating, but due to the health crisis, those are our hours of operation at this time.”

Student: “Well, that’s not fair. I need to get my stuff!”

Me: “I apologize. Would someone be able to come on your behalf? With all due respect, we have sent out numerous emails in the five months reminding students to connect with us to gather their belongings.”

Student: “Well, the last one I got was in June!”

It’s taking all of my strength to not ask her why the h*** he didn’t come in or contact me then back when she got that notification. 

Me: “Sorry if you didn’t get the other notifications. Maybe you missed them in your school email? Again, would someone be able to come get your belongings on your behalf? We have given students almost half a year to come get their things. We need to cut the locks now if people can’t come in so we can sanitize lockers in preparation for the new academic year.”

Student: “No! No one can come in for me! And I just talked to two of my classmates; they didn’t get many notifications, either!”

Me: *Pause* “Again, I apologize. Even if you didn’t get all of the notifications, some students have just called us anyway because they wanted their things and we made arrangements.”

Student: “Fine, then! Just throw out my stuff! Just like [School] to have poor communication and no accountability!”

Me: “Again, students have had almost half a year to get their things; we’re still giving you a chance to come in. I’d be happy to work with you, but we’ve sent out numerous emails and I don’t have authorization to just open the school on the weekend for you. I’m not supposed to do this because we don’t have the means to do it for every student, but do you want me to get your things and set them aside for you to pick up in the coming weeks?”

Student: *Click*

The entitlement of some people is just insane.

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Giving The Misogynists A Good Dressing-Down

, , , , , , | Learning | August 27, 2020

I teach at an international school for adult students learning English as a second language. Obviously, navigating cultural differences between students is an inherent part of the job. 

For the second year in a row that I’ve been at this school, at a staff meeting, an older male teacher has brought up the fact that many of the female students are wearing “revealing” clothing. It’s summer, so we’re talking things like tank tops and shorts — nothing that would get you arrested. Nevertheless, he’s previously suggested that we should have a dress code.

Male Teacher: “I mean, shouldn’t we do something about this?”

Our headteacher is also a middle-aged man.

Head Teacher: *Pause* “Does something need to be done?”

Male Teacher: “Well, I mean, in particular, it attracts a lot of attention from some of the boys, especially the ones from more conservative countries where women don’t dress like that. They’re distracted and they, you know, talk and make comments.”

One of the new teachers, who’s younger and a woman, pipes up. 

Female Teacher: “You’re absolutely right, [Male Teacher]. We should do something. Thanks for bringing that up.”

Everyone looks up in surprise, since the female teacher is known for her outspoken feminism. She continues.

Female Teacher: “I’m so glad you agree that someone should talk about appropriate conduct to these young people. They need to be reminded that, in a multicultural environment, they have to be aware of differences between what is considered respectful and acceptable to their peers, and that there is no excuse for making other people uncomfortable.”

A few teachers, I included, catch on and start smiling.

Female Teacher: “To that end, [Male Teacher], I’m glad you’ve volunteered to talk to the counselors and ask that the students be reminded that ogling and commenting on their classmates in a sexual way is flatly disgusting behavior that will not be tolerated. It doesn’t matter if that’s an okay way to talk in their country; it isn’t here. This is a learning environment and our students should feel safe, not judged and objectified. 

Head Teacher: “Very well said! Thank you, [Female Teacher]; you’re absolutely right.”

Female Teacher: “And thank you, [Male Teacher], for being so sensitive to this problem. So many people would ignore it, or even try to blame it on the young women in this situation.”

She smiled at him like the purest, most innocent angel; he nodded like he was in pain, and never brought up the idea of having a dress code ever again.

This story is part of our Best Of August 2020 roundup!

Read the next Best Of August 2020 story!

Read the Best Of August 2020 roundup!

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