Stories from school and college

But Did It Have I’s? Tyger, Tyger…

, , , | Learning | December 12, 2020

I overhear this in a kindergarten classroom during reading time.

Child: “That’s not a tiger! It has eyes!”

Kids.

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I’m Not Sure You Can Fix This Much Stupid

, , , , | Learning | December 10, 2020

I’m taking chemistry. In an effort to motivate the class, our teacher has announced that if you turn in homework early, you’ll get extra credit points. Chemistry is not my strong point, so I start doing this to help boost my grade. She puts all graded homework in a “pickup” bin where we grab it before or after class. One day, I go to the bin and my homework isn’t there.

Me: “Hey, Mrs. [Teacher], my homework from last week isn’t here.”

Teacher: “That’s odd. I have your extra credit noted right here.”

She flips through her grade book.

Teacher: “Yep, graded and bonus points added. I probably just set it down and forgot to put it in the bin. Go start on the lab. I’ll run it over to you when I find it.”

I go back to my table and start setting up the lab. My lab partner, a known slacker, is furiously scribbling on a piece of paper.

Me: “Hey, you ready?”

Lab Partner: “Hang on. Just gotta finish the homework.”

Me: You are actually doing the homework?

Lab Partner: “You people doubt me!”

Me: “Because you never do the homework.”

Lab Partner: “I’m turning over a new leaf! Gonna try and do better this quarter.”

Me: “Wow. That’s great!”

I notice a piece of paper with very familiar handwriting sitting next to him. He looks at it, fills out a question, and squints at the paper.

Me:Hey!

Lab Partner: “This handwriting is terrible.”

Me:You took my homework!”

I reach over and grab the paper. He grabs it back.

Lab Partner: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Me: “That’s my handwriting and my name at the top, dumba**!”

Lab Partner: “No, it isn’t!”

Me: “Oh, really? Watch this.”

I raise my hand and my teacher comes over.

Me: “Mrs. [Teacher], [Lab Partner] has found my homework.”

He tries to shove the homework under his book. My teacher intercepts him and hands it back to me.

Lab Partner: “I didn’t do anything! That’s mine.”

Teacher: “[Lab Partner], are you really going to try this?”

Lab Partner: “I found it in the pickup box, so it’s mine now!”

My teacher facepalms and sighs.

Teacher: “Good grief. [Lab Partner], you get a zero. Try that again and it’s in-school suspension for you.”

She walks away.

Lab Partner: “Well, that was stupid of me.”

Me: “You think?!”

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Feeling A Little Spacey

, , , , , , | Learning | December 8, 2020

It’s 2002, and I’m the treasurer of my eleventh-grade class. One day, the other officers — president, vice president, and secretary — and I are getting some letters ready to mail to the parents of our fellow students. One of the other officers starts laughing.

Officer #1: “Look at this name! It’s so funny!”

She shows us an envelope with “Buzz” on it as the first name of someone’s dad. The other two officers join in the laughter.

Me: “It’s unusual, but it’s the name of an astronaut.”

Officer #2: “Really?”

Officer #3: “Oh, right; Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.”

Me: “No, Buzz Aldrin.”

They stare blankly.

Me: “Apollo 11?”

They continue to stare blankly.

Me: “The second man on the moon, after Neil Armstrong? I know we all learned about it in history; we were in the same class.”

Officers: *Unconvincingly* “Oh, right, right. Him. Yes, I remember.”

I don’t think they actually remembered.

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Pulled Her Out Of The Path Of That Bullet

, , , , , | Learning | December 6, 2020

It’s 1988 or 1989. During the lunch break, I am talking with three other girls in my class. We are all sixteen years old. [Girl #1] has been watching too many American high school movies and thinks she is the queen bee in the class. She isn’t. We don’t have one.

Girl #1: *Looking smug* “My new boyfriend has a car.”

We all look at her oddly. You can’t get a driver’s license until you are eighteen. At this time, there is a 180% luxury tax and then 25% VAT on new cars, so none of us know any eighteen-year-olds who own a car.

Girl #2:  “A car? How old is he?”

Girl #1: *Proudly* “Twenty-six!”

Me: “Gaaah!”

Girl #2: “Eeeeew!”

Girl #3: “Whaaaat?”

Me: “What the h*** do you want with a twenty-six-year-old man?”

Girl #2: “What the h*** does a twenty-six-year-old man want with you?!

[Girl #1] is still fiercely proud, despite our reactions.

Girl #1:He says I am very mature for my age.”

We all give her a silent stare for a moment. We have known her for years. She is NOT mature for her age; the queen bee thing, among other things, is a good example. [Girl #1] seems to understand the silence correctly, as she is now going quiet.

Girl #2: “Can you imagine being a twenty-six-year-old man and having to explain to your mates that you are dating a girl who is sixteen years old?”

Me: “They’ll say it’s because he can’t handle a grown-up woman.”

The age of consent in Denmark was and is fifteen, but it isn’t exactly normal to date at fifteen.

One of the boys in our class walks by and asks what we are talking about. When [Girl #2] says it is about [Girl #1] dating a twenty-six-year-old man with a car, he gives [Girl #1] a “What the f***?” look and goes away again. 

[Girl #1] broke up with the man the same day. Apparently, the main reason she was dating him was to impress the rest of us. She still thinks she was the queen bee and wants to talk about it at class reunions. It is sad, really.

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Cheesy But Effective

, , , , | Learning | December 5, 2020

We have a school trip to a campground when I am about ten years old. The girls are in two big tents, boys in two big tents, and there are two teachers and two teachers’ assistants in their own tents.

On the first night, we are being typical kids in tents with torches, playing games, trying to scare each other, and calling to the other tents, and the TAs and teachers come in a few times to tell us to go to sleep.

Around midnight, one of the TAs comes in with a box.

TA: “Do you want a midnight feast? Don’t let the others know! Be quiet!”

Us: *Whispering* “Yes!”

TA: “Here, but turn your torches off and be really quiet.”

She handed over a box of cheese sandwiches and, reminding us again to be really quiet, crept out. We all sat there munching our sandwiches and talking in whispers, and when we were done we all pretty much fell asleep straight away. She did this every night of the three-day trip, and we thought we were being SO sneaky!

A few years later, I was chatting with my mum and we were talking about the trip. She was friends with the TA. It turns out that the TA had gone into every tent with a box of sandwiches and the exact same story, and every tent thought they were getting a special treat! Cheese sandwiches were a stroke of genius, stodgy and filling, and after eating a few while sitting quietly we were practically guaranteed to start feeling sleepy.

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