A Long Wait To See The Waiting Room

, , , | Healthy | January 18, 2018

(During all my childhood, our visits to the dentist go like this:)

Receptionist: “Hello, Mrs. [Our Last Name], why don’t you and [My Name] sit down in examination room two? The doctor will be with you in a minute.”

(Then, once, when I am thirteen:)

Receptionist: “Hello, Mrs. [Our Last Name], why don’t you and [My Name] sit down in the waiting room for a moment? We’ll call you in.”

(And that’s how I found out the dentist even had a waiting room. Scheduling level: genius.)

To Art Is Freedom

, , , , , | Hopeless | January 15, 2018

(I am giving a lecture about Japanese pop culture in a high school. It involves drawing manga. At the end of the lecture, the kids are allowed to create their own art. One of the kids is the typical “bad boy;” he’s never picked up a pencil, never interacted, and he’s in trouble all the time. After the lecture, we chat a few times as I try to give him ideas and get him to work. It isn’t particularly effective. When I am next in the front of the class, the boy suddenly comes up to me.)

Boy: “If I want to draw a superhero, is that okay, too?”

Me: “Of course! You can draw whatever you want!”

Boy: “But how would I draw his face, then?”

(I walk to the whiteboard and grab a marker. I actually repeat the whole lesson I have just given about drawing a basic manga-style face.)

Boy: “I can’t draw that.”

Me: “Sure, you can. How about you try it? This is a whiteboard; if it fails, we can just erase it.”

Boy: “Nah, I can’t do that.”

Me: “Then, do what you can. What can you draw?”

Boy: “Well, this…”

(The boy draws a superhero, barely more than a stick-figure.)

Me: “Not bad. How about you try this?”

(The boy follows the tips and keeps on drawing… and drawing… and drawing. Soon, the whole whiteboard is filled. I even remove my own drawings so he has more space. The teacher sees this and walks up. I know she is very open-minded, and she nods approvingly.)

Teacher: “You know what, [Boy]? Take a picture of this and put it in your report.”

Boy: “I’m not done yet.”

Teacher: “Then by all means, go ahead! Don’t forget to put a picture of it in your report, so I can grade it.”

(The boy continues his work and after class, the boy takes a picture of it. When the kids are gone, we evaluate the lecture, and the teacher tells me more about the boy.)

Teacher: “He lives with his father, who thinks art is a waste of time. This might be the first time he has drawn since elementary school.”

(Elementary school would have been two or three years ago for this boy.)

Me: “He does seem to like to draw.”

Teacher: “And this is the first time I have seen him express himself. I don’t care that he didn’t use traditional inking techniques or even manga-style; he drew!”

(At that moment, the boy pops in from the hallway.)

Boy: “You didn’t erase it yet?”

Teacher: “Of course not! I want to enjoy this masterpiece for as long as I can!”

(It was the last lecture I gave at that school, so I don’t know what became of that boy, but this teacher really inspired me. Even now, about five years later, I use the phrase: “Focus on what you can, not what you can’t.”)

Ask Me No Questions…

, , , , , | Learning | January 8, 2018

(My AP psychology teacher is an extremely chill woman. One day a friend and I finish our work early and are just sitting around talking, and we decide to ask her if we can go grab a coffee from a coffee chain uptown.)

Me: “Hey, Mrs. [Teacher], [Friend] and I are done with all our work. Is there any way we can go uptown and grab a [Coffee Chain]?”

Teacher: “Legally, I can’t allow you to do that… but… I actually didn’t hear where you wanted to go, so, now, ask me if you can go to…”

(We catch on.)

Me: “Oh, yeah. We’re going to the… bathroom.”

Friend: “Then we’re going to go to cafeteria!”

Teacher: “For coffee?”

Us: “For coffee!”

Teacher: “Okay. Have fun, guys.”

A Little Ray Of Sunshine

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 4, 2018

(I’m a teacher at a middle school. Every Wednesday, the teachers typically stay after school for about an hour for a meeting. It’s mid-December, right before the winter break, and the principal’s voice comes over the intercom at the end of the day:)

Principal: “Teachers, you have been given the gift of time! There will be no meeting today, and it’s a beautiful day, so go home and do something nice for yourselves. I know you’re all busy this time of year, so take the hour for whatever you like. I need to make an announcement about parking tomorrow.” *explains details of parking situation* “Sorry for the inconvenience. Now, GO PLAY IN THE SUNSHINE!”

(I love my boss.)

No Wonder Fries Are So Addictive…

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 1, 2018

(My grandfather was a math teacher, and this is a story I heard about him many times. Given the end result, I believe the particular topic at hand was statistics.)

Grandfather: “Now, nobody needs to answer, and if you do, I’m not going to tell anyone. How many people here have smoked marijuana?”

(Several hands go up.)

Grandfather: “Okay. Now, keep your hand up if the first time you ever had mashed potatoes came before the first time you ever had marijuana.”

(Everyone’s hand stayed up. And that’s how my grandfather “proved” that mashed potatoes are a gateway drug.)

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