Explosive Uptake Of Chemistry In Schools, As It Turns Out Blowing Stuff Up Is Awesome

, , , , , , | Learning | November 9, 2018

(Decades before the TV show about blowing things up with science, there was my high school chemistry teacher. The very first day of class, I sit down in my chair and lean back lazily. Then I freeze, with my eyes wide.)

Friend: “[My Name]? Are you okay?”

Me: “The light fixture is melted.”

Friend: “What?!”

(He looks up where I’m looking, and right above the table where the teacher would be making demonstrations, the hanging light fixture is indeed partially melted, and twisted. The ceiling is pock-marked with black marks, and I could swear there are things… embedded… in the ceiling.)

Friend: “Uh…”

(The facts spread quickly as other students file in, see other kids muttering uneasily, and follow the pointed fingers. The teacher comes in:)

Teacher: “All right, students, I know this is not a class you want to take first thing in the morning, but I would like to inform you now that there will be no dozing off in this class.”

(The entire class wordlessly points to the ceiling.)

Teacher: *with an evil smirk* “Oh, darn. You already figured out the reason why.

(To be fair, nobody did doze off in class. Our teacher was notorious for demonstrating why you followed the rules exactly, by demonstrating how NOT to do things. Just about everything our teacher did either exploded, caught on fire, or did something likewise terrifying. Every day a demonstration happened, the first three rows of students scooted their desks back as far as they could, cramming toward the back of the room. I learned a lot about chemistry, but I wonder, years later, if my teacher ever happened to teach the hosts of that show. It would explain a lot.)

Need For Barcode Scanners In Question, As Simply Saying “Bleep” Gets The Same Job Done

, , , , , , | Learning | November 8, 2018

(A friend of mine who works as a school librarian told me this one. The school gives out textbooks to students, which they need to return to the school when they finish a grade. A teacher comes to the school librarian.)

Teacher: “Can you keep track of the textbooks we give out to students? Like, could we line them up and get them to walk past you, and you scan their books?”

Librarian: “Yes. You’ll have to give me the textbooks, and I’ll have to put them on the catalogue and put barcodes on them.”

Teacher: *with a sigh of annoyance* “Ugh. I thought it was going to be really straightforward.”

(I told my friend she should have just stood there with a barcode scanner, let the students walk past with their books, and play a “bleep” noise every time one walked past. This teacher would have been none the wiser.)

New Addition To The Millennium Trilogy: The Girl With The Twitter Account

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2018

(It’s Halloween night. I live in college residence, so a lot of people are trick-or-treating with their neighbours, and milling around to check out each other’s costumes and decorations. I bump into one of my roommate’s friends. She’s dressed a bit punk or goth, but not as a costume.)

Roommate’s Friend: *joking* “I’m dressed as a serial killer.”

Me: *looking at her outfit* “No, you’re dressed as Lisbeth Salander!”

(Lisbeth Salander is the protagonist of the Millennium trilogy, most famously “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”)

Roommate’s Friend: “Yeah! Wait… How did you… Have you been stalking my Twitter?”

Me: *confused* “No?”

Roommate’s Friend: “Then… How did you know I… said that I…”

Me: “I didn’t…”

Roommate’s Friend: “Then how did you know I look like Lisbeth Salander?”

Me: “Because I’ve read the book and seen the movie?”

Roommate’s Friend: “Oh! I thought you were stalking my Twitter, because I literally just posted, ‘If anyone asks, I’m dressed as Lisbeth Salander.'”

Updates To IT Syllabus Required, As Teachers Frequently Have The Least Knowledge On Computers In The Class

, , , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2018

(It’s the early 2000s and my school has introduced a voluntary computer class. I am absolutely fascinated with computers, so naturally I sign up. I’m a bit confused why our domestic science teacher is teaching the class, but okay. Sadly, I soon come to understand that she probably got the job because she taught typewriting when that was still a thing. We immediately get off to a rough start. She asks the class what we need to build a functional computer. Eagerly, I put my hand up and start listing computer parts such as “motherboard,” “CPU,” “power supply unit,” etc., but the teacher shuts me down. She explains that, no, we need a mouse, a screen, a tower, and a keyboard. I protest that, strictly speaking, a tower alone would be a functional computer, and that there are also notebooks, but she won’t have any of it. She gives me a warning that she won’t tolerate goofing around and making up words. For the next lesson I plot the most evil revenge my geeky teenage brain can come up with, and flip the switch of the PSU on the teacher’s PC before class. Not being able to locate the problem, she has to end the lesson prematurely. As we do exclusively typewriting lessons, I drop the class a few lessons afterwards. Fast forward a few years. By now I’m an on-call IT support for a few schools to make some extra money. I’m called to my former school and, to my surprise, I meet my former teacher in the classroom that needs my attention. She explains that the computer didn’t start up after recess. I do my basic troubleshooting and, lo and behold, the switch of the PSU is flipped. Jokingly, I ask:)

Me: “Okay, who did this?”

(The students do give away the culprit by all turning their heads around to him simultaneously. The teacher is furious and sends him to the principal. I feel sorry for ratting him out and insist I accompany him and the teacher to the principal to give a factual account of what he did.)

Teacher: “He broke my PC! I want him formally reprimanded and a note sent to his parents.”

Me: “No, he simply pulled off the oldest and most benign computer prank in the books. He flipped the PSU switch.” *gesturing to it on the principal’s PC* “Really, if it helps to smooth things over, I will not bill you for this call. It really wasn’t a big deal. I’m pretty sure most people, and most certainly all of your students, could have fixed that if [Teacher] had asked them.”

Principal: “Okay. But, [Student], why did you even do this?”

Student: “I really just wanted to do a small prank. My dad told me a classmate of his did this and [Teacher] couldn’t fix it for half an hour before dismissing the class. I didn’t think she would fall for it again. I’m really sorry.”

Me: *having to stifle my laughter*

Principal: “Is everything all right?”

Me: “I’m sorry. I’m afraid this one is apparently partially my fault. I was that classmate. I was furious at [Teacher] because she ridiculed me in front of class, saying CPU is a made-up word.”

Teacher: *slowly realizing who I am* “Wait… You are… No! I never said CBU is a made up word!”

Student: “My dad actually told me this, too.”

Principal: *sighs* “Okay, I’m not going to send his parents a note or reprimand him. [Teacher], you’re free to give him an extra exercise as punishment. That should be enough.”

(I felt kind of bad for undermining her authority in front of the principal, but it was about time she realized that she was the person with the least knowledge about computers in the computer class she was teaching. From what I heard from students the next time I was there, it really did help. She now asks students what they want to learn, and lets students do presentations in between typewriting lessons. I hope she also learns a thing or two.)

The Hero That A Galaxy Far, Far Away Needs

, , , , | Learning | November 6, 2018

(I am a primary school teacher. This story happens during recess. A random five-year-old has wandered up to me.)

Five-Year-Old: “I like Star Wars.”

Me: “That’s cool; so do I. Who’s your favourite character?”

Five-Year-Old: “BATMAN.”

Me: “…”

Five-Year-Old: “I’m a lollipop.”

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