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Stories from school and college

It’s Bad Enough When The Students Are The Bullies

, , , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2022

In sixth grade, my history teacher once gave us a fairly easy test, but with a question on a topic that we hadn’t learned in class. Being a huge history nerd, I had no problem answering it, not even thinking much about it.

When she gave the test results back, everyone had an eight; they had just missed the last question. I, however, had a zero, even though everything was correct.

Me: “[Teacher], why did I get a zero?”

Teacher: “Since we haven’t covered that topic yet, it’s clear that you cheated.”

Me: “I just love history; I’ve already read about that topic just for the sake of it.”

This happened in 2006, so there was absolutely no way I could have Googled the question on a smartphone, and she kept all our textbooks during tests. She looked in my desk and even in my backpack. She found no evidence of cheating, but she still insisted I had cheated.

I decided not to argue with her and instead took it to the principal. Since cheating accusations were taken very seriously at my school, the next day, my parents, the teacher, and I were called to the principal’s office. After my teacher explained the whole situation, my father went straight to her.

Father: “So, you wrote a question on a topic that you hadn’t taught, expecting everyone to fail to answer, and then you punished the only student that answered? Why did you put that question in the first place? Did you put it intentionally to lower their grades, knowing that the highest grade would be eight? Are you such a bad teacher that you don’t even know what you have taught? Or are you such an a**hole that you feel the need to bully some twelve-year-olds because you know more about history? And since [My Name] knows history, you decided to bully him?”

My teacher was livid. She tried to answer but couldn’t find the words.

To be honest, before this, the teacher had been actually a very good teacher, and I did learn a lot with her. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time she had picked a student to bully, and she was fired on spot.

What If You Made Tortillas… And Then Made Them Into A Lasagna?!

, , , | Learning | November 4, 2022

My husband teaches food and cookery. He’s helping a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old decide on his final project.

Student: “I could make fajitas.”

Teacher: “Sounds good. You’ll need to make tortillas; I can show you.”

Student: “Nah, sounds hard. I’ll make quesadillas.”

Teacher: “They also need tortillas.”

Student: “Nachos?”

Teacher: “What are nachos made of?”

Student: “Tort— Ah, I see what you did there, sir!”

Later that session, he’s talking to the same student.

Student: “Sir, what’s mouse-akka?”

Teacher: “Moussaka? You know lasagne?”

Student: “Yeah?”

Teacher: “Take out the pasta and use aubergine, and use lamb mince instead of beef.”

Student: “You could’ve just said Lasagne 2.0, sir!”

Not The Most Animated Classmate

, , , , , | Learning | November 2, 2022

I study 2D animation. My university doesn’t require a portfolio to apply, only grades. This results in some people who don’t know how to do art but have good grades applying to art school and then dropping a year in because they thought the degree would be easy before realizing how incredibly rigorous the school’s workload is, even with relearning fundamentals — or in some cases, straight-up having to learn fundamentals for the first time — for a full quarter. The sophomore population can drop dramatically within a year.

Enter [Student]. [Student] is a 2D animation student with a minor in illustration. He is also horrible at taking feedback. I don’t mean that he throws a hissy fit; he is actually fairly nice outside of classes. I mean that he doesn’t actually apply critique or feedback to what we need him to do. 

In my very first project with him as a team member, we were taking an effects class and needed to animate a flaming arrow flying through the air and landing in the water, leaving a smoke trail — within three weeks. 

I was assigned the role of the group leader. In assigning tasks, having seen [Student]’s projects up to that point, I wasn’t super trusting that he could do the other effects and gave him the arrow. 

He gave back a file where the arrow slowed at the end when it hit the water. I liked where it originated, so I asked if he could make it a bit quicker at the end and give us a new version. This was a very simple task by any animator’s standards; you would remove a few drawings at the end.

After two days, [Student] gave us a file that moved far too evenly throughout. Checking, he had actually added frames to the rest of the file. Maybe he had somehow misunderstood. I told him that while I appreciated it, I actually had just meant to take out a few drawings at the end. Explicit instructions. Surely this couldn’t be messed up?

Nope. He added drawings. The arrow was also too stiff. These changes took him another two days. At this point, we were actually behind since we needed the arrow to do any of the other effects, and we had a very short time to get this project done. I asked him to please hand over the file, and I gave it to one of the other animators to redo.

This task also took him another day. At this point, he’d wasted almost a whole workweek on what was supposed to be the simplest part of the animation — which the animator who fixed it did in an hour.

He never attended a single one of our supplementary meetings, either. Not one. 

The professor complimented us on how well our final had progressed from the original version she’d seen and how she liked the path of the arrow and where it originated from. So, it seems like she gave credit where it wasn’t due.

However, something [Student] had missed on the day that the final was assigned (because he was conspicuously absent) was that the group leader was always in communication with the professor… including a final report after the project had ended, giving an explanation of what each team member had done.

Guys… that email might’ve been professional, but it was absolutely brutal. I gave honest and glowing reviews to my other teammates, who absolutely knocked it out of the park with both the amount of work they did and the quality. 

To give you an idea of how it looked, I was saying stuff like, “[Classmate A] did a super job with communication! [Classmate B] made it to all of our extra meetings and redid an entire section of the animation after feedback! [Classmate C] was proactive about saying she had nothing to do because she was waiting on [Classmate B] and asked if there was anything else she could do!” in my intro sentence for each classmate.

Then, I got to [Student], and that segment started with a, “[Student] finished the work, but…” 

This project was worth fifty percent of the grade. It was a big project because it was supposed to show just how much we’d improved from the start of class.

[Student] didn’t fail — some professors are too nice and grade it solely on whether they fulfilled the criteria here — but he didn’t pass with flying colors, either.

The Spookiest Buddies

, , , , , , | Learning | October 31, 2022

I worked as an after-school care teacher at an elementary school. For Halloween, we had a little party for the kids with snacks and a movie. This film was the terrifying thriller “Spooky Buddies,” which all but two of the kids were mindlessly watching.

The two that weren’t were five-year-old twins who were mortified by the plight of the four Labrador puppies in Halloween costumes and came to me absolutely sobbing.

Kid: “Can you turn off the movie, please? It’s too scary!”

Me: “I’m sorry, all the other kids are enjoying it. How about we go to the other side of the cafeteria and play a board game, instead?”

Kid: “That won’t work!”

Me: “Why not?”

Kid: “BECAUSE I CAN’T LOOK AWAY!”

I ended up with one crying twin on each knee, terrified but adamantly refusing to not stare at the movie.

Blessedly, their mom came to pick them up not too long after.

Sometimes Karma Takes Its Time, But It Still Rocks!

, , , | Learning | October 30, 2022

When I was in high school, I was a huge nerd. I loved reading and did very well in class. Most of my classmates made fun of me, but I didn’t mind. The worst, however, was this one classmate who pretended to be my friend so she could copy answers from me. A friend warned me that she was making fun of me behind my back for being a nerd and bookworm.

Fast forward eight years later, to our early twenties. I was with [Friend], and we ran into [Classmate] at the mall. She started bragging about a recent trip to Australia.

Classmate: “My husband and I had such a great time! And look, I bought this gorgeous bracelet!”

Me: *Politely* “Oh, nice. Abalone shell is very pretty.”

Classmate: *Looking shocked* “No! It’s Australian opal!”

I took a second look. Yup, it was definitely an abalone shell, the kind commonly known as “Sea Opal”.

Me: “Err… I think they gave you the wrong information.”

I was trying to think of a nice way to tell her she had been scammed.

Classmate: *Stroking the bracelet* “The salesman told me it’s Australian opal. And I bought it in Australia, which is famous for opal.”

[Friend] and I made our excuses and left. [Friend] turned to me.

Friend: “So, was it really an abalone shell?”

Me: “Yes, real opal does not look like that.”

I explained how to tell the difference and showed her photos from Google.

Friend: “Ha! So, it pays to be a nerd after all! See what she gets when she makes fun of nerds!”