This Class Has Spunk

, , , , | Learning | September 27, 2019

(I’m in my English class, and we’re reading “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” The second line in the book is something along the lines of, “They commit dirty sex acts and then mop it up before I can catch them.”)

Teacher: “Can anyone tell me what ‘it’ is? What are they mopping up?”

Me: “Spunk?”

Teacher: “Uhh…”

Me: “Jizz?”

Teacher: “Maybe you should use more formal terms.”

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The Power Of A Name

, , , , , | Learning | September 26, 2019

(I have two daughters. One has a cognitive disability. The other daughter comes home one day to tell me that her art teacher used an ableist slur to describe another child’s picture. My teeth clench reflexively.)

Me: “Did you say anything?”

Daughter: “Yes! I told her that was an inappropriate word.”

Me: “Did she respond?”

Daughter: “Not really. She just kind of shrugged. I think she called another kid’s work the same thing, but she was across the classroom by then, so I’m not positive.”

Me: “Okay. I’ll handle it.”

(I call the principal the next day and pass on what my daughter told me.)

Principal: “So, the teacher didn’t call your daughter [slur].”

Me: “No.”

Principal: “So, what is the problem?”

Me: “She referred to the art of another student with a derogatory slur that maligns the art, the student, and anyone with the diagnosis.”

Principal: “…”

Me: “It is inappropriate for anyone — especially a teacher — to use the diagnosis of one person to insult another.”

Principal: “But it wasn’t aimed at your daughter or your daughter’s art.”

Me: “It doesn’t matter who or what it was aimed at. It. Was. Inappropriate.” 

Principal: “Okay. I’ll talk to the teacher.”

(I am flabbergasted by his reaction and have no faith that anything will be done, so I send an email explaining the situation to the superintendent. Not a month later, my daughter comes home and tells me that a substitute teacher used the same word in another class.)

Me: “Did you say anything?”

Daughter: “Yes! And so did two other students! [Daughter’s Friend] even explained why it is wrong to use that word, and she just kept saying it! She must have said it four times before class was over. It was like she was taunting us after we spoke up!”

Me: “Okay. I’ll call the principal. Again.”

(I call the next day.)

Principal: “Did the substitute call your daughter that word?”

Me: “You seem to be under the impression that that matters in some way. That it makes a difference. Why is that?”

Principal: “Well, it does matter, doesn’t it?”

Me: No! No! It doesn’t matter at all. If I come into your school and start swearing at my daughter but not at you, are you going to say something? It! Is! Inappropriate! I have explained to you why it is inappropriate. I have explained to the superintendent why it is inappropriate.” 

Principal: “Yes, I am aware that you contacted him last time. Do you plan to contact him again?”

Me: “I’ve already sent that email; before this call I sent an email. Why would I not? You made no indication that you understood last time. It has occurred yet again, suggesting you did nothing. Now, you are proving quite clearly that you still do not understand. Why would I not seek assistance over your head?”

Principal: “What will it take to fix this?”

Me: “You getting a clue, for starters. You letting it sink in that using one person’s diagnosis to insult others suggests that a person with that diagnosis deserves ridicule and to be like them is insulting. Seriously, stop being so [Principal]ish.”

Principal: “What is that supposed to mean?”

Me: “I think the synonym might be ‘thick.’”

Principal: “You are using my name as an insult?”

Me: “Yes.”

Principal: “That’s pretty childish and inappropriate, isn’t it?”

Me: “Yes.”

Principal: “…”

Me: “Is that sinking in? Now, imagine my using your name to insult your secretary in front of the rest of your staff. Imagine me using your name to insult a student in front of their classmates.”

(I was not sure it sunk in, so I had a long talk with the superintendent. A class was arranged for teachers and administrators in the district to learn the importance of appropriate language in the classroom.)

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When Pregnancy Brain Is Contagious

, , , , | Learning | September 25, 2019

(A student is asked to report to the front office and doesn’t recognize the name of the staff member he needs to see. As I am describing her, I mention that she was pregnant last year.)

Student: “We have a pregnant lady?”

Me: “Well, not anymore. She was pregnant last year.”

Student: “So, what happened?”

Me: “What usually happens at the end of pregnancy?”

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They’re Not On Good Form Lately

, , , , | Learning | September 24, 2019

(I attend a college that requires every graduate to complete, over the course of their education, four physical education courses. Going into my final semester, I check my credits only to discover that I only have credit for three courses due to completing the same basic PE course in two different semesters. The second course was treated as a re-do and overwrote the grade of the first. Thankfully, the school has forms for this sort of thing. I fill one out and submit it to the correct office and think nothing of it for six weeks, until…)

Me: “Excuse me. I filled out a form to have a PE course counted twice for my credits. This was about a month ago and I just noticed I’m still short on credits.”

Help Desk: “Hmm, I don’t see anything in the system about it. Let me check your student folder.”

(Drawers are opened and folders are shuffled.)

Help Desk: “Nope, I don’t have any form for that. Are you sure it was submitted properly?”

Me: “Yes, I did it right here at this desk.”

(Long story short, they have no history of me submitting this document which included my name, student ID number, and class information. I am not thrilled but I get a new copy, fill it out, and resubmit it. Two weeks later…)

Me: “Hi. I submitted a form to have a PE course counted twice two weeks ago and it isn’t showing up. Could you check your system?”

Help Desk: “I’m not seeing anything in the system. Let me check your student folder. You’re sure it was submitted here, right?”

Me: “Yes, and this is the second time I’ve done this at this desk.”

(Again, no form is found. So, I get another form, fill it out, photocopy it, and submit the original. One week later…)

Me: “Okay, I submitted a form last week for getting a PE course counted twice but it’s not on my account. What is going on with it?”

Help Desk: “I’ve got nothing in the system. Let me check your folder… Yeah, nothing here. Did you–”

(I plop down a photocopy of the form.)

Me: “This is the third time I’ve come here asking when this form is getting counted. What the heck is going on that you’ve lost my paperwork three times?!”

(It finally stuck. If it hadn’t, I would have had to come back for one more semester for a single PE credit!)

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Would Rather Be Alive Than Late

, , , , , | Learning | September 22, 2019

(My sister works as a nurse at an elementary and middle school. One day, they are running a lockdown drill, a practice simulation for if a dangerous person is on campus. The instructions are to lock yourself in a room, turn off any lights that are visible from the outside, and make as little noise as possible. My sister has two students with her when the drill starts, one of whom has already been physically ill, so she decides for them to hide in the attached bathroom. She has her cell phone and her staff radio on hand with her. Throughout the simulation, multiple people come and try to open the door, or knock on it asking if anyone is in there. Following her instructions, my sister does not respond and turns off her radio whenever she hears footsteps approaching. This continues for some time until an assistant principal she is friendly with approaches:)

AP: “[Sister], it’s [Assistant Principal]. Here is my employee ID.” *slips it under the door* “I am here to tell you that the simulation is over. Please come out.”

(She opens the door.)

AP: “So, you were in there! We’ve been trying to find you for half an hour!”

Sister: *exiting the room* “I had my phone;  someone could’ve–” *phone beeps showing several messages* “Huh, I guess the bathroom is a dead zone for cell service.”

(Turns out the lockdown had been over for a while but they couldn’t find a way to inform her of that. She exited to a frustrated staff and a mother who was there to pick up her sick child. Her principal was ready to scold her but quickly relented when my sister argued that she was following procedure.)

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