Stories from school and college

Field Trips Are Great Opportunities For Learning!

, , , , , | Learning | December 4, 2020

The high school sports team I coach has a competition on the other side of the state, so we stay in a few rooms of a hotel the night before. Around ten at night, a few of the girls knock on my door.

Girls: “We heard some weird noises. We’re scared.”

Me: “I’ll check it out.”

We go to their hotel room, and they point me in the direction of the bathroom. Sure enough, I hear a noise through the wall, but being an adult, I know what it is, and try to figure out how to tell the very naïve girls. Most students at this school are pretty sheltered, and these girls are no exception. I decide to keep it somewhat vague.

Me: “Um, it’s nothing to be scared of. It would seem that some people find this hotel… romantic.”

Girls: *Giggling* “You mean, like, a couple’s on their honeymoon or something? Ew!”

I shrugged non-committedly and kept to myself that I only heard one person, and assuming the neighboring room’s layout was the same, the noise was coming from the direction of the bathroom.

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At Least You’re Not Eating Garbage

, , , , , , | Learning | December 3, 2020

I have to take an art history class that is required for college. One evening, the professor takes note of the sweatshirt I’m wearing.

Professor: “Is that a Keith Haring shirt?”

Me: “Oh, no, but I guess it does kind of look like one, though.”

Professor: “So, what is the design, then?”

I’m embarrassed as h***.

Me: “It’s Danny Devito in his underwear stuck inside a piece of playground equipment.”

Professor: “Oh, I see.”

It’s a reference to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

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Eye Would Rather You Didn’t

, , , , , , | Learning | December 2, 2020

At the start of the second grade, when I am around seven or eight, my class has its first music class of the year. Our regular teacher takes us down to the music room, and we go in to meet our music teacher. She is very friendly and introduces herself with a little speech.

Teacher: “Some of you might have noticed that I only look at you with one of my eyes. I know people get curious about that, so I’ll tell you why right now: this eye—”

She taps the one not “looking” at us.

Teacher: “—is a fake eye made of glass. I had cancer when I was a child so doctors had to take out my real eye, and I have this one, instead. I’m not telling you because I want you to feel sorry for me; I’m doing just fine with one glass eye and one real eye. I just don’t want you to be scared and confused… like when I was your age and also had a teacher with a glass eye, but he didn’t tell the class. One day, the principal needed to talk to him. Right before he left the classroom, he took out his glass eye, put it on his desk, and told us, ‘I’ll be right back, but I’m keeping my eye on you.'”

Looking back, I appreciate her honesty and how understanding she was of childhood curiosity… but I also wonder if it was hard for her to resist pulling the same prank as her teacher did!

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Not The Key To Student-Staff Relations

, , , , | Learning | December 1, 2020

I’ve just returned from a trip out of state to my apartment-style dorm complex. The building has six floors and I’m at the very top, so I direct my ride to drop me off at that entrance. They pull away, and as I go to enter the building, I realize my key card is not working at all. I give the resident desk a call.

Me: “Hi. I’m up on the sixth floor and the door isn’t working for some reason.”

Staff: “Oh, have you gotten your card reprogrammed?”

Me: “I don’t think so? It worked just a couple of weeks ago.”

Staff: “Oh, come on down and we’ll reprogram your card. We decommission all the resident cards once a year. For safety!”

Me: “Uh… sure, but I’ve been dropped off here with all my luggage and there’s no elevator access.”

Staff: “We can’t go up there. You should’ve thought of that.”

So, down I walk with my luggage, circling around through the entire car park since it has no stairs or elevators, around to the front of the building, where they reprogram my card and send me on my way. At least I can take the elevator up.

When I get inside my apartment with my now working key card, I realize my bedroom door is locked from the inside. This is the one door that requires a key instead of a card. Frustrated, I call the staff again.

Me: “Hi again. My bedroom door is locked for some reason, also?”

Staff: “Oh, are you locked out? Why not use your key?”

Me: “The key… was in my room. My roommates and I are all friends and we don’t lock our bedroom doors.”

Staff: “Oh, so you locked yourself out?”

Me: *Sigh* “No, I did not lock it before I left. But now it is locked.”

Staff: “Yeah, we did room checks and locked all the rooms afterward. To keep them safe. If you come downstairs, we can process the lockout charge and then let you in.”

Me: *Incredulous pause* “Excuse me. You want to charge me for locking me out of my room? And you can’t come upstairs?”

Staff: “Well, it’s really your responsibility to not get locked out. You’re adults now. And no, you have to request and pay in person at the desk down here.”

Me: *Another pause* “It is four am. I have dragged my luggage down six floors because you deprogrammed my card and sent no notice about it. Now you’re telling me you did a full room check, also with no notice, and locked me out, and you are trying to get me to go back down six floors to pay you for locking me out? I refuse and, honestly, I’m about to explode just talking to you about it.”

Staff: “Um… Well, I can waive the fee just this once. But you need to be more careful! You’re adults now! It’s your responsibility to keep your key on you and be responsible. It’s standard policy to lock rooms and deprogram cards every once in a while.”

Me: “I’ve lived here for two years and you’ve never done this before, but fine. I guess I’ll keep my key on me in case you guys decide to lock me out again.”

She came upstairs and finally let me in where I could blissfully sleep after my red-eye flight. Weird how there was never another instance of this apparently “standard policy.” I’m still not sure how mass deprogramming every single student card with no notice was supposed to be for safety.

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Slow And Steady Avoids The Wasps

, , , , | Learning | November 30, 2020

I am six or seven years old. For a few years, I go to a nature camp every summer. I like everything except the hikes, which I still hate later in life.

One day, before a hike:

Counselor: “We found a wasp nest on the trail we’re going to hike today. We’ll give you a warning before we enter that area, and we’ll have to walk past it very quietly.”

Since I’m not crazy about hikes, I always walk towards the back of the group of twenty to thirty campers and counselors. The counselor who is assigned to the back of the group decides that I should be striving to be up front. I am with the group and not holding us back, so each time she bothers me, I politely brush her off. I move up closer to the middle just so she will stop annoying me.

We eventually get to the area with the reported wasp nest and are told to walk slowly and quietly. Most campers are looking up trying to see the nest. Little do they know, they will not be able to see it. One girl at the front is walking normally until she puts her foot down and the ground starts buzzing. She has stepped on the hive. She and the four other people at the front are chased down the rest of the trail by a swarm of angry wasps.

I decide this is the perfect moment to find the counselor who wanted me up front.

Me: *Smugly* “I’m glad I didn’t go up front like you told me to!”

She glared at me but made no comment.

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