In America, We Don’t Use Telepathy To Pass Tests

, , , , , | Learning | September 20, 2019

(I work at a language testing center for people wishing to immigrate to the United States for either academics or work. On this particular testing day, my class is filled with candidates testing for workplace language fluency. The test consists of a reading booklet and a separate sheet — like a scantron — for recording answers.)

Me: “You have five minutes left. Please remember to transfer your answers to the answer sheet if you haven’t already done so.”

(Five minutes pass.)

Me: “That is the end of this test segment. Please put down your pencils and wait for your exams to be collected.”

(I walk around the room.)

Random Lady: “EXCUSE ME!” *waves at me frantically*

(Rushing to her before she blurts out answers, I respond in a hushed whisper.)

Me: “Yes?”


Me: “Um… Well, the test is over now, so we aren’t allowed to let you continue writing.”

Random Lady: “WHAT?! BUT MY ANSWERS ARE UP HERE IN MY HEAD!” *violently stabs her forehead with the eraser side of her pencil* “AND NOT ON THE PAPER! Do you think the examiner will know what I meant even though I didn’t write it?!”

Me: “Umm… No, ma’am, I’m sorry. If you left it blank, the examiners won’t know your answers.”

Random Lady: “Why not?!”

Me: *pause* “Because they cannot read your mind…?” 


Me: “I did let you write them. You’ve had the past hour to write them down. I’m sorry…”

Random Lady: “But I was thinking. Have you never thought a thought before?!”

Me: “…”


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A Lesson In Good Sleeping

, , , , , | Learning | September 18, 2019

I’ve recently become a high school teacher and discovered that the last period of the day is by far the hardest. Worse, on Fridays we have double-length classes, and by halfway through, my students are bouncing off the walls. This particular day, after a pop quiz and seeing students through two assignments, I allow them to draw on the whiteboard instead of inflicting more work on them. They are cheerful and loud, asking me about previous jobs and competing to see who can draw the best version of a cartoon character.

Eventually, I realize I haven’t seen one of the students in a while. I ask the others where she is, and one of the others points her out to me. She has fallen asleep in the back of the class, curled up on the floor against the wall. Given the noise, I figure if she’s asleep she really needs it, and since she already finished her classwork I figure there’s no reason to wake her.

When class ends and the bell rings, as other students are leaving the room, I go over to where she’s lying. “[Student]? School is over! It’s time to go home!”

She opens her eyes blearily, looks up at me without comprehension, says, “Five more minutes?” and goes back to sleep.

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Lockdown In Slytherin

, , , , | Learning | September 16, 2019

(I’m in my senior year of high school at a new school and it’s already better than my old school in every aspect. One better thing is the teachers. My favorite is my anatomy teacher, who is known to be a little out there. He has four snakes around his room. We are going through drills in each class and his is no different… for the most part.)

Teacher: “Okay, in case of a lockdown, see the supply closet in the back?”

(Everyone turns to the large room in the back.)

Teacher: “There is a door inside leading to a large room made completely out of cinder block. That is where we will go. Inside that room is a squirt bottle filled with pure sulfuric acid. So, if anyone tries to get us, they have to go through the four snakes in here and then a face full of sulfuric acid.”

(Everyone is silent at this point, some moving further from the snake habitats.)

Teacher: *smiles brightly* “Whoever is stupid enough to come in will be more worried about their face melting off or whether or not they’ll see again than us.”

(Then, he went back to the lesson like he hadn’t just told us we might see someone crushed by the constrictor in the corner or see someone’s face melt off.)

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Same Cast, Different Script

, , , , , , | Learning | September 15, 2019

(A few weeks before starting my third year of college, I have a major ankle surgery and I am naturally in a cast and on crutches when the school year begins. The dorm building I am living in has a schedule of fire drills for the year posted in the main entryway, so all residents know when the fire drills will happen. The day of the first fire drill arrives and it is pouring rain. In the morning, I talk to one of the Resident Advisors [RA #1] and show him the impossible-to-miss cast on my leg. He emails the university housing department for guidance, and the housing department replies that as long as I can get to the main entrance, I will be granted an exception from having to go outside. When the fire alarm goes off, I get to the main entrance, where [RA #2] is shouting at the top of his lungs.)

RA #2: “Come on, hurry up! Get outside, people!”

Me: *hobbling down the hallway on my crutches* “Hey, [RA #2], I’m here.”

RA #2: “Get outside! We can’t count this drill as a pass if you don’t get outside!”

Me: “I should have an exception from the housing department saying I only needed to get to the main entrance for today. You should have gotten an email about it, or you can ask [RA #1].”

RA #2: “I don’t care what the email said, and I don’t care what [RA #1] says! You need to get outside! What would you do if we had an actual fire right now?”

Me: “For a real fire, I would obviously be outside, but we all know this is a drill. I’m not going outside and ruining my cast for a drill. Talk to the housing department if you have a problem with it.”

RA #2: “We can’t pass the fire drill if you don’t get outside!”

Me: “All right, then do you mind if I go back up to my dorm to grab a garbage bag? If I’m going to go outside, I need something waterproof to wrap around my cast.”

RA #2: *now screaming in my face* “We can’t go back into the building! JUST GET OUTSIDE!”

Me: *shoving him back with my crutch* “Okay, here’s the deal. I’ll go outside, but I’m informing you now that I’ll be charging you the cost of my cast replacement since you’re refusing to follow a written instruction from the housing department granting me an exception from going outside today. You’ll hear from my family’s attorney after I get the bill for the cast replacement.”

RA #2: *somehow only now noticing my cast for the first time* “Oh. You’re in a cast? Then… I guess… you can stay inside this time, since it’s only a drill.”

Me: “Thank you!”

(I still sent in an official complaint to the housing department about [RA #2]. He received a pretty heavy talking-to for the incident, and he completely avoided me for the rest of the year.)

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A Very Testing Environment

, , , , , , | Learning | September 13, 2019

When I’m in high school, my school undergoes a campus change due to various issues with the current campus, mainly size. The change from the fifty-year-old original campus to the brand new campus occurs partway through my sophomore year, but we are still at the old campus for the first half of my sophomore year.

I’m taking a test in World History class around November when the fire alarm blares. My class dutifully leaves their tests and we exit the building. A fair bit of us are grumbling, since it’s pretty cold and breezy out and most of us are just in jeans and long-sleeved T-shirts. After a few minutes, we get the okay from the teachers to go back inside. We return to our tests and assume that’s the end of it.

We’ve barely warmed up when the fire alarm rings again. We grumble at getting interrupted again — most of us really just want to finish the test — leave the classroom, and go sit outside again until we get the okay to go back inside.

After we get back inside, it’s not five minutes before the fire alarm rings again.

We complain and go to leave the building, but fewer than half of us are out the classroom door before one of the other teachers calls out, “For goodness’ sake, go back to class!”

Everyone finishes the test on time and we get the fire alarm fixed so we won’t have drills every five minutes.

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