I, For One, Like Roman Numerals

, , , , , | Learning | March 18, 2020

(On my senior trip to an amusement park, due to the fact it’s a school-related trip, we have to do something educational before having free reign. The last thing we do of our educational part involves a math problem where we’re to only use roman numerals — no 1 or 5, it has to be I or V. We’re also not given a key for keeping the numerals straight, so I decide to use a loophole and scribble my own key “I: one,” “V: five,” and so on since they never said we couldn’t do it that way.)

Staff Member: *looking at my paper, pointing at my key* “What’re those scribbles?”

Me: *jokingly, though I admit my tone may have been unclear* “What? You don’t doodle when you think?”

Staff Member: *leans in* “Don’t be a smarta**.”

(To be honest, it’s probably one of my favorite memories of the trip.)

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A Frustrating Type Of Teacher

, , , , , | Learning | March 18, 2020

(When I’m 14, in the early nineties, I’m very shy and hold my parents in high regard. For Dutch class, we have to write an application letter to a fictional company. It’s Monday, the first hour of school, when this happens. I’ve just turned in my application letter and we’re supposed to be reading a piece of homework. Our teacher is very old-school.)

Teacher: “[My Name], come over here, please.”

(I go up to his desk, feeling very anxious about being in full view of the whole class.)

Teacher: “What’s this?” 

(He holds up my application letter, which I typed on our computer; I even went as far as to type up the envelope.)

Me: “That’s my application letter, sir.”

Teacher: “Why did you type this? I told you to write it!”

Me: “Well, my dad says companies nowadays like to see letters typed up on a computer as it shows you can type and use a computer.”

Teacher: “But didn’t I tell you to write it?”

Me: “Yes, but my dad…”

Teacher: *interrupting me and sounding really annoyed* “Who would know about these things better? Me or your dad?”

(Oh, boy, wrong question.)

Me: “My dad, sir, because he works at the employment agency!”

(The teacher turns bright red.)

Teacher: “OUT! NOW! AND DON’T COME BACK THIS WEEK!”

(I literally legged it out the door as the class went wild. That day I learned that telling the truth isn’t always the best idea. I didn’t tell my dad this until years later. He found it hilarious!)

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Those Counselors Made Some Poor Computations

, , , , , , | Learning | March 16, 2020

Years ago, I attended high school in a very small town. This was when computers were just becoming commonplace in schools. Seeing the writing on the wall, I decided to take a typing class.

My guidance counselor denied my request. His actual words were, “You’re on a college track; you’ll be able to hire someone to type for you.”

Remember, this was a small school in a small town. The counselors’ advice was considered infallible. I couldn’t get his denial overturned.

So, I went off to college totally unprepared for the growing need for computer skills, the most basic of which is typing.

The other guidance counselor denied my request to go to the vocational school for automotive training. I believe he said it was because I was a girl and it was an unrealistic goal. I love cars, had watched my dad and uncles do maintenance and repair, and could diagnose problems by feel, sound, and smell. That counselor denied me pursuit of my dream career.

I hope guidance counselors today listen to kids and advise accordingly. Those two men cost me dearly.

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Learning The Dangers Of Video Conferencing Early

, , , , , | Learning | March 16, 2020

(I work as an online English teacher for children in China. When I only have a single student for a low-level class, I play a game where they say “apple” and I jump, and then we switch roles. This class, I have a six-year-old girl as my only student.)

Me: “Apple!”

Girl: *jumps*

(Something about her doesn’t look right, but I don’t realize what it is at first.)

Me: “Apple!”

Girl: *jumps*

(That’s when I realize what the problem is: she is naked from the waist down! The mother shouts something in Chinese and the girl sits back down and stays seated as the mother rushes over with a pair of panties and helps her put them on.)

Mother: “Sorry! Sorry! She, uh… pee-pee! She pee-pee!”

Me: “It’s all right.”

(Once the girl had her underwear on, class resumed as normal for the rest of the session. My guess as to what happened is that the girl had wet herself right before class and, not having enough time to clean her up properly, the mother simply stripped off the soiled clothes and didn’t think I’d notice during the 25-minute class.)

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Right Here In The Vatican City

, , , , , | Learning | March 14, 2020

I went to a Catholic high school, and at the time, all freshmen had to take Latin I. On the first day of class, the teacher went into how a lot of words in English have Latin roots.

“When the word has ‘bi-‘, it means ‘two.’ With ‘tri-‘, you have ‘three.’” He followed with, “And when you have ‘mono-‘ you have…”

A classmate piped up, “Trouble!”

That’s a Latin lesson I’ve never forgotten.

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