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So THAT’S Why Mona Lisa Was Smiling

, , , , , | Learning | June 19, 2017

(Our teacher gives us twenty minutes at the end of a lesson on Friday to ask the most random questions and then debate one of them. We write them down and put them into a tombola for her to pick out of. The last few weeks every topic has been asking whether a prominent historical figure was gay, so this week she has pleading and praying that there isn’t another one.)

Teacher: *picking a topic* “Oh, for pity’s sake!”

(She turns around and writes the question on the whiteboard.)

Question: “Was Leonardo da Vinci gay?”

(She sat down and took some ibuprofen before letting us debate. Unbeknownst to her, we have all been putting those questions in the hat this month!)

Graded A Bee Plus

, , , , , , | Learning | June 15, 2017

(During my senior year of high school, I sign up to take a class called ‘Preschool Lab.’ It is a class where we teach pre-schoolers between the ages of three to five, and create weekly lesson plans. This class is mainly for students who are either planning on going into early childhood education or are thinking about it. Although this class is a lot of fun and I enjoy working with the children and seeing them grow, the teacher can come off as rude every once in a while if we do something that is beyond her expectations, especially when it comes to their art projects. It is the first day of preschool class during the spring semester and we have two new students who have just turned three years old and are also twins. They are the youngest while the other students are between the ages of four and five. A lot of my classmates and teachers are frustrated with the twins because they do their own thing but they begin to become attached to me and only want to work with me. One day we are working on creating bumblebees and I am helping one of the twins create hers. She puts one eye near the top of the paper and the other eye near the nose. Since my teacher likes all of the projects to be the exact same way and “perfect,” I open my mouth to correct her but when she smiles proudly and is so excited that she put the eyes on by herself, I don’t have the heart to tell her it is wrong. I don’t think it will be a big deal, since she did everything else correctly, so I decide to praise her.)

Me: “[Twin #1]! I love your bumblebee. It’s so good! Well done!”

(As I say this, I notice the classmate next to me look over at it and frown, then get up to talk to the teacher. The twin begins laughing and turns around to show her sister, who also did the eyes a little unevenly but is also really proud of herself. When I hear my teacher clear her throat behind me, I look up and to my surprise, she looks furious.)

Teacher: “[Classmate], help [Twin #1] and [Twin #2] fix the eyes while I talk to [My Name] outside.”

(My classmate tries to help the twins fix their artwork but they immediately put their hands on their artwork to prevent her and start to cry. When I get in the hallway, my teacher glares at me and I know what is about to happen.)

Teacher: “[My Name], you know all of the pre-schooler’s projects have to be exactly the same. Why on earth would you encourage those twins to do their projects incorrectly?”

Me: “They are proud of their artwork and I wasn’t going to discourage them just because it isn’t the same as the other classmates.”

Teacher: “But I expect you to! If the parents saw that their artwork were different from the other students, they will start to think their children are stupid and can’t do a simple task!”

(I have met the twins’ parents multiple times and I know for a fact they would want me to encourage their children, no matter how different their work turns out from their classmates.)

Me: “I’m sorry but they were proud of themselves for finishing their artwork and when [Classmate] tried to correct them, they got upset. Not every student’s artwork has to be the exactly the same as each other and it doesn’t mean they are stupid. I’m not going to discourage them over a little mistake when they did everything else correctly.”

Teacher: *sighs* “I don’t think the twins are adjusting to the preschool. I think it’s time for me to talk to the parents to consider pulling them out and when they see their bumblebees I’m sure they will see where I’m coming from. In the future, [My Name], make sure that EVERY project is exactly the same as the other students and that they are perfect. I’m afraid I’m going to have to deduct points from you today for not following instructions.”

(When we go back into the classroom, I notice the twins are still crying and refusing to let my classmate fix their bees, and when my teacher instructs my classmate to let it go, she moves on to the next kid. When I sit back down next to the twins, they show me their bees again and I smile at them and tell them they did a very good job while ignoring the glares my classmate and teacher are giving me. When the class is over, my teacher pulls the twins’ parents aside to talk to them about how the twins aren’t adjusting, but when they see their parents, the twins grab their artwork and run over to them.)

Twin #1: “Mommy, Daddy! Look, I made a bee!”

Twin #2: “Look at my bumblebee, Mommy and Daddy!”

(The parents look at the bumblebees and look at the teacher, and back at the twins, and say:)

Mother: “Oh, [Twin #1] and [Twin #2], these are beautiful bees! I love the way the eyes are!”

Father: “Wow! These are perfect bees and are going right on our fridge! Good job, girls!”

Teacher: “But do you see why I don’t think the girls are ready for preschool? See how uneven the eyes are compared to the other student’s bees?”

Father: “Of course they are going to be different from the other students! They just turned three. It’s not going to be perfect but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready for preschool!”

Mother: “We are very proud of our girls for attempting it and we want our daughter’s artwork to stand out from the other students. If you don’t believe in our children like we do then I don’t think this is the right preschool for us.”

Father: “Come on, girls! How about we take you out for a little ice cream for doing a good job today at preschool?”

(Before my teacher could open her mouth to argue, the parents grabbed their stuff and left the classroom. Surprisingly the twins did come back the next day and by the end of the semester, they were probably the most creative students out of the entire class. Even though my teacher never apologized to me or gave me my points back, the twins still insisted to only work with me and she never again criticized me or deducted points from me for letting them do their own thing!)

 

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Take A Pause And Consider Equality

, , , , , | Friendly | June 14, 2017

(I have a rainbow flag pin with equal signs for marriage equality. As I’m walking home from school with a friend she notices my button.)

Friend: “Why do you have a pause button on your backpack?”

Hoping It Was Just An Act

, , , , , , | Learning | June 11, 2017

At the school I went to, we were required to take either speech class or acting class in order to graduate. I decided to go with acting. I quickly realize I’m going to have serious problems, because the teacher speaks in half-sentences and expects people to know what she means. I can’t decipher the homework instructions and get yelled at if I ask for clarification. She even seems to develop a special dislike towards me. If another member of my team forgets a line, I get yelled at for it. Etc.

One day, we are performing a comedy skit. My entire team nails it! I’m playing the central role, and we get laughs from the whole class. At the post-performance critique, the teacher even praises some of my improvised lines.

The next day, the teacher scolds me, in front of the whole class, for being absent on the day my team performed! All six people I worked with have to vouch for the fact that I was there. She eventually relents, but gives me a bad grade for the project because she says my performance must have been lousy if she can’t remember me being there.

I ended up failing that class. The same teacher taught speech, and I couldn’t cope with the idea of having to deal with her again. Because it was a graduation requirement, I actually had to get a GED instead of graduating.

He’s A Complete Package

, , , , | Friendly | June 6, 2017

(I’ve just joined a sewing class for the new sewing machine I had just bought. Most of the ladies in the class are double my age, in their 60s and 70s. This is my first day.)

Classmate: *putting a bag on the table* “I’ve finished him.”

Teacher: “Finished who?”

Classmate: “The new man in my life.” *pulls a sculpted fabric doll of an old man out of her bag*

(Everyone is “oohing and aahing” over him.)

Classmate #2: *holding the doll* “Is this the pattern you were telling me about? The one with… um…”

Classmate: “Yes, it is. He is complete; take a look”

Classmate #2: *pulls his trousers down* “Look, everyone, she included the family jewels, too.”

Classmate #3: “Oh, my God! He’s even got pubes!”

(I sit in amusement as these older ladies, howling with laughter, pass the doll around so they can take a look.)

Teacher: “Such a pleasant way to welcome [My Name] to the group.”