Stories from school and college

Her Alignment Is Chaotic Good

, , , | Learning | June 26, 2021

My mum is a science teacher. A chaotic one. Once, she suspected that some of her students had been smoking and she didn’t waste her time preaching about how unhealthy it was.

Mum: “You know that overpopulation is a huge problem these days, right? Keep smoking. Keep smoking and you’ll help to solve it.”

Another time, she was explaining the evolution theory.

Student: “Teach, I don’t really like the idea of descending from monkeys.”

Mum: “Well, every living being descends from a common ancestor. If it makes you feel better, you can think you descended from clams.”

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Linda Belcher Did A Stint As A Teacher

, , , , , | Learning | June 24, 2021

Back when I was in middle school, a group of boys apparently decided to start having “peeing contests”. In other words, they were trying to pee into the urinal from as far away as they could and were making a gross mess in the process. Initially, the school freaked out because they thought there was a leak, but the plumber they hired couldn’t find anything — a big financial hit, given how small the school was.

I’m not sure how, but eventually, one of the teachers figured out what was happening and our principal asked all of the teachers to make an announcement about it in their homerooms.

Teacher: *Very sternly* “Now, we don’t know who all is involved with this, but we know that some of you boys are playing a little ‘game’ in the bathroom, and it needs to stop immediately. It’s incredibly gross and you need to put your pee where it’s supposed to be!”

There was a slight pause and the tension in the room immediately dissolved as she realized the accidental rhyme she had just said to a bunch of very immature and now snickering eleven-year-olds.

Teacher: “Ah, jeez… You know what? You know what? I’m going to recreate that Uncle Sam poster and put ‘Put that pee where it’s supposed to be!’ on it and stick it over the urinal.”

And she did! It stayed there for the rest of that school year, and we never had another urine-related incident while I attended that school.

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What’s Latin For “Whoops”?

, , , , , | Learning | June 22, 2021

I switched high schools midway through my first year and found that, unlike my old school, my new one taught Latin. As another student also joined the school at the same time as me, she and I were given separate lesson plans to the rest of the class to try and “catch us up.”

I was generally very polite and quiet at this point in my life, particularly toward authority figures, but my outward behaviour didn’t always reflect my internal monologue. 

One day, the teacher reprimanded the other later starter because her textbook was closed and she wasn’t even pretending to be working. I, however, was nearly finished with the assignment. For some reason, though, the teacher then brought me into it.

Teacher: “What about you, [My Name]? Are you Superman and able to read your book through its cover?”

Me: “Yes, of course, I am.”

A few moments later as the class erupted, I realised with growing horror that I had actually said the thing I was thinking.

Teacher: “Oh, that’s hilarious, [My Name], very funny. Do you know what else is funny? Saturday morning detention.”

I didn’t have a great home life and my parents had very strict ideas about respecting adults, so frankly, I was terrified about how I would explain this to them. I spoke to the teacher after the class, apologised profusely, and explained that my inner voice had gotten away from me and that I had actually finished the lesson so he caught me by surprise. He thanked me for apologising but explained that he had actually been joking, too. Looking back on it now, I’m not sure if he just saw how panicked I was and took pity on me.

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Transitioning To A More Accepting Viewpoint

, , , , , , , | Learning | June 20, 2021

I’m a science teacher at a small high school. For a few years, I’ve also been handing out Vetinari points, or vet points, for students that answer difficult questions, ask truly insightful questions, or otherwise do something to impress me. The students can then trade the points in for a few potential benefits, most noticeably a small increase in a future test score.

A little while ago, the parent who gave birth to one of our students came out as trans and started his transition. It seems this detail has only recently filtered down to some of the less enlightened students in our school, though. I’ve recently warned one bully in particular about his transphobic comments and harassment.

On this particular day, I’m alone in my room during a break period grading papers while the student in question is at his locker right outside of my room. I’m not listening to his conversation at first, until I overhear a non-school-appropriate synonym for penis that I won’t be repeating here, coming from the hallway. Since I came in partway into the conversation, I am only able to deduce part of the conversation between the bully and the student, though it is clear from tone and attitude alone that the bully is intentionally harassing my student.

Bully: “…mom has a [penis] now.”

Student: “You clearly don’t understand anything about being trans.”

Bully: “What’s there to know?!”

I have already gotten up and am headed out to handle the situation, but by the time I get out there, the student has already started responding with such confidence that I choose to let him finish before intervening. He is literally counting off points on his finger as he speaks.

Student: “First, I don’t have a mom. Second, of my two fathers, only one has, or will ever have, a [penis]. Three, I think you’re just jealous I can kill Macbeth and you can’t.”

Bully: “Huh?”

They are covering “Macbeth” in English around this time. In the play, it’s prophesied that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.”

Me: “[Student], you just earned yourself one vet point for coming up with a much better subversion of that prophecy than the actual play managed, though you should both use less vulgar terminology next time you wish to discuss a penis.”

Student: “Oh, umm… yes, sir. Thank you.”

Me: “[Bully], I’ve already warned you twice about transphobic comments. Now you will be spending your lunch discussing it with the principal, instead.”

All of us teachers were a little worried for this student originally when his father transitioned, but he proved us all wrong. He handled every question about his father with just as much confidence and conviction, without once losing his cool or lashing out in anger, as he did this time. More than once, I saw him inform ignorant students about what it meant to be trans with such confidence that he managed to convince even some of those who were originally skeptical of the concept to support his father’s transition. It was quite refreshing seeing not only how strongly he stood by his father’s transition but how well (most) of the student body ended up taking and supporting the transition after he explained things to them.


This story is part of our Best Of June 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of June 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of June 2021 roundup!

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We’re Guessing She Doesn’t Go To Public School

, , , , , | Learning | June 19, 2021

I am an assistant for a Sunday school working with three- to five-year-old children. Class hasn’t yet started today, so I’m trying to entertain some of the early arrivals in the meantime.

Me: “What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?”

A few kids shout out their costume choices. However, one little girl who doesn’t usually frequent our church speaks up afterward. She speaks in a completely serious voice.

Girl: “We don’t do Halloween because it makes baby Jesus cry.”

I swear that was the first, and only, time I’d ever heard someone use the whole “makes baby Jesus cry” phrase with complete seriousness. I had trouble just keeping a straight face and pretending that was a normal comment.

I didn’t see the girl back again. I suppose our heathen church that would allow children to enjoy a secular holiday that wasn’t harming anyone in any way wasn’t up to her parent’s standards.

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