Not So Absent Minded

, , , | Learning | March 6, 2018

(As an English as a Second Language teacher, sometimes I run into differences in academic culture, not just in language. This is a composite of conversations my fellow teachers and I have had time and time again:)

Student: “Miss, why do I have so many absences?”

Teacher: “You missed the first week of class, which gave you five absences.”

Student: “But, Miss, I was with my family in Dubai.”

Teacher: “That means you’re absent; you weren’t in school.”

Student: “How can I be absent? I wasn’t even in the country.”

Teacher: “You were absent because you weren’t in my class.”

Student: “But I don’t want to be absent.”

Teacher: *bangs head on desk*

Not Quite Elevating The Students’ Impression Of Adults

, , , , | Learning | March 6, 2018

(My seventh-grade class goes on a trip to cities in our state with places significant to our state history. We are staying in a hotel that is a century old, and has the slowest elevators. Our grade has resorted to using both the service elevator and the one public elevator that works. It is the last day after breakfast and everyone has rushed upstairs to pack. There are about 15 students left waiting for the elevators, along with about six adult strangers. When the elevator finally arrives, we let the adults go first before crowding in, but one man gets caught behind us.)

Man’s Wife: “Excuse me. My husband has a meeting he needs to get to. Let him in, please.”

(We back up for him and start coming in after him. Keep in mind that with 50 of us, all 5’5” and under, we’ve crammed the whole group into the elevators the entire trip. We also have about 15 minutes left before our bus needs to leave. There are about six of us left when the wife speaks up.)

Man’s Wife: “Let my husband in. He has a meeting he needs to get to. You have nothing to do. Just wait and go away.”

(All of us were shocked, as we knew we could all fit, but the elevator left before we could do anything. Needless to say, the six of us were the last ones downstairs.)

This Generation Has Clocked Out

, , , | Learning | March 6, 2018

(I am in a high school Spanish class and the teacher has given us a worksheet on how to tell time.)

Student: “[Teacher], I don’t know how to do [questions that require students to say what time is shown on an analogue clock]. It’s just a circle with a bunch of lines.”

(The teacher then asked the students to raise their hand if they couldn’t read this type of clock. At least half the class did just that. I lost a lot of hope for my generation that day.)

Teaching Them The Whole Nine Yards

, , , , | Learning | March 5, 2018

(I teach physics to students in a university aviation course in New Zealand. It is like flight school, but with more depth of background knowledge, and you get a degree at the end of it. There are about 20 students, and about half of them are from Asian nations: Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, etc. The first lesson is unit conversion. I give them some unit conversion factors, like miles to feet and feet to meters, and give some examples, one of which is something like, “Convert 340 yards and 2 feet into miles.” An Asian student raises their hand.)

Student: “What is a yard?”

Me: “I am so happy to find out there are people in the world who don’t know what a yard is. Alas, I am about to destroy your innocent ignorance.”

(I explain inches, feet, yards, chains, furlongs, and miles, to the astonishment of half the class.)

Dropping Off To Sleep

, , , , , | Learning | March 5, 2018

(I volunteer to bring my friend’s teenage children to school one morning. I’ve dropped the youngest at junior high and am now going to drop off the oldest.)

Me: “Well, that was a confusing drop-off. At least I know where to drop you off.”

Oldest: “Yeah, Mrs. [My Name], at your house so I can go back to sleep.”

Me: “Nice try, kid, but you have to go to school. ‘A’ for effort, though.”

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