Something Fishy About That Name

, , , | Learning | November 27, 2019

(I am an American teaching English in China. Sometimes there are extra one-off classes that parents can sign their children up for outside of their regular classes. I am teaching one of those this morning. For regular classes, I have a roll sheet with all the students’ names. This is very helpful when I cover a class for another teacher. Unfortunately, the one-off classes do not come with roll sheets, so I have to ask the students for their names, which I write on the board. This one-off class has a range of kids from different classes in the lower to middle levels for the seven- to ten-year-old classes. One of the students has recently started the first-level class for that age group, so he only knows some of the basics and his pronunciation is not always very clear.)

Me: “What’s your name?”

Student: “Salmon.”

Me: “Salmon? Your name is Salmon?”

Student: “Yes.”

(A lot of parents pick strange names for their kids. I’ve met Run-Baby, Dinosaur, Lemon, the list goes on. So, I write Salmon on the board and continue on. During the class, I ask the students about his name.)

Me: “You know salmon is a kind of fish?”

Student: *doesn’t seem to understand me*

Me: *brings up a picture of some salmon on my phone* “It’s a salmon.”

Student: *looks surprised* “No fish! No fish!”

(I chuckle and move on with class, but for the remaining of the hour, when I call on him, before he answers, he always first says, “No fish!”)

Me: “I know. You are not a fish, but your name is a fish.”

Student: “No fish!”

(The class ends and I gather my materials for my next class, which is a first-level class for the same age group which I am covering for another teacher, so this time I have a roll sheet. I walk into class, and to my surprise, who do I see there? Salmon! I realize something is not right, because I would have remembered seeing a name like Salmon on a roll sheet of ten students. I look down at my roll sheet and see a single S name: Simon.)

Me: “Oh! Your name is Simon!

Student: “Yes!”

Me: “Not Salmon.”

Student: “No!”

Me: *face descending into my open hand* “That’s why you kept saying, ‘No fish.'”

Student: “No fish!”

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No “Short” Cut To Junior

, , , | Learning | November 26, 2019

(I’ve just finished a solo singing audition for my school’s annual stage show. There are three people reviewing my audition: two teachers and a senior. The male teacher doesn’t know me. I’m only five feet tall and tend to run my mouth a bit when I’m nervous.)

Teacher: “Are you a freshman?”

Me: “Nope, I’m a junior. It’s all right; I’m just short. I’m mistaken for either a middle schooler or my mother; there is no in-between.”

Teacher: “You’re a junior?! I haven’t seen you before. Are you a transfer?”

Me: “No, I’ve been going here my whole high school career.”

Teacher: “What? Then I would’ve had you for [Religion Class]; who did you have for that last year?”

Me: “I’m in [Religion Class] this year with [Teacher #2]. Last year, I was in [Other Religion Class] with [Teacher #3].”

Teacher: “Sorry, I just can’t believe I’ve never seen you before. Usually, I’ve met everyone.”

(I wanted to laugh at how shocked he was that in three years he had never seen me among the hundreds of students in the school!)

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A Ballooning Sense Of Frustration

, , , , | Learning | November 26, 2019

I am in an Honors Physics Class doing a project. The project is blowing up a balloon to a certain circumference, then taping it onto a straw that has a string running through. The end of the balloon cannot be tied for we release the balloon and watch it zoom across the string, then calculate distance, etc. Eventually, we are required to change a variable and add mass to the balloon, which means taping these round discs onto the balloon. Every time we attempt this, the balloon deflates and the tape unsticks, meaning the discs slid off.

I take one of my hair bands and suggest we temporarily tie the end of the balloon with the hair tie so it stays inflated. However, I can not put it on as the balloon’s entrance is covered in my classmate’s saliva — I’m already prepared to throw the hair tie away, since I have plenty more. I hand it to him and get the discs and tape ready.

He blows it up.

He awkwardly stretches the hair tie and puts it on over the end… and then stretches it again and tries to bring it over the inflated balloon. It deflates while he tries to wrap it around the middle of the balloon.

He repeats this three times with me growing even more increasingly confused before I realize that he probably has no idea how to tie a hair tie. I end up borrowing a glove and tying it up, while he stands there with his face beet red.

I feel bad for the guy; I was trying not to laugh but my smile was obvious.

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CD = Compact Destruction

, , , , | Learning | November 25, 2019

(This story takes place when I am in the second grade. We have a “technology” class once or twice a week that consists of learning to type and use the basics of computers. I still fondly remember this part of our first lesson in that class.)

Teacher: *holding up a CD* “All right, so you all have your floppy disks, but you will also be using these in class and we must be careful with them! We carefully hold them around the edges and we don’t touch the shiny part underneath, okay? So, if we’re being careful, that means we don’t do this.”

(He begins to slap his palm repeatedly on the shiny part of the CD.)

Teacher: “We don’t do this.”

(He picks up another CD and starts at rubbing the two of them together.)

Teacher: “We definitely do not use them as skates.”

(He throws the two CDs unceremoniously to the ground and stands on them, starting to try to “skate” across the floor to our raucous laughter.)

Teacher: “And finally, we don’t break them.”

(With that, he picks up both CDs, snaps them in half, and tosses them in the trash.)

Teacher: “Okay! Let’s start typing. Pick up those CDs and put them in the disk tray and don’t do what I just did with them!”

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A Vicious Recycle

, , , , | Learning | November 25, 2019

(We’re in an assembly meant to review what we can and cannot recycle. The recycling speech is delivered by one of the science teachers who is known for not caring about what school officials think of her.)

Teacher: “I have a box here. It’s filled with this packing paper, which can be recycled.” *tosses paper into the recycling bin onstage* “I can also recycle the box.”

(The assisting student breaks down the box and throws it into the bin, as well, after handing the teacher its contents, a book in a sealed plastic bag.)

Teacher: “This plastic wrapping — recyclable.” *throws the plastic in the recycling bin* “And here we have ‘Dress Code by [Administrator].’”

(She unceremoniously threw the book in the bin. The entire student body cheered.)

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