Goes On For Hours And Hours

| Right | July 10, 2017

(I work at a community college library. I am shelving books when an elderly man with a ferocious mustache comes up to me. He has a very grumpy look on his face.)

Patron: *barking at me* “What are your hours?”

Me: “Monday through Thursday we are open 7:30 to 8:30; we do close early on Friday…”

Patron: *before I can finish* “OH, so you are closed on Friday?”

Me: “No, sir, that is a miscommunication. We are open until 3:30 on Friday.”

Patron: *very indigent* “So you go home early, then?”

Me: “No, sir, we use that time to do the jobs we can’t do when the patrons are here, like run maintenance on our computers.”

Patron: “Are you open on the weekend?”

Me: “No, sir, we are not.”

Patron: *narrowing his eyes at me, scrunching up his mouth, and saying through clenched teeth* “How do you get away with that?”

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Abstaining From Sex Ed

| Learning | May 18, 2017

(I’m in a genetics class at a community college. This is in a conservative state that has very little sex ed and only covers abstinence and STDs. They don’t even mention useful things like safe sex and what happens during pregnancy. Even when a student is brave enough to ask about such topics, the teachers usually refuse to answer, as the question is “inappropriate.” In this class, many of the students are in their mid- to late-twenties and are going back to school after working straight out of high school, so some are considering having children. The teacher answers someone’s question and ends up going on a short tangent.)

Teacher: *wrapping up the tangent* “So that’s why anyone who might become pregnant should eat a diet rich in folate. Now, let’s get back to our lesson.”

Student #1: *raises hand*

Teacher: “Yes?”

Student #1: “I was wondering… If you live with someone who smokes and you get pregnant, will that hurt the baby?”

Teacher: *answers question*

Students #2, #3, and #4: *raise hands*

Teacher: *answers questions*

(By this point, everyone’s figured out that the teacher will answer any question we ask, so more than two thirds of the class has their hands up.)

Teacher: *seeing all the raised hands* “Okay, here’s the deal. We can turn this class into remedial sex ed for today, but you’re going to have to make up the work we were supposed to do. Will you promise to read the next two chapters of your textbook and go over the lecture slides by next week’s class?”

(We all readily agreed and started asking all the questions we’d never been able to ask before, on things like safe sex, birth control, pregnancy, miscarriage, breastfeeding, and how to take care of a baby. The teacher answered every question without dismissing any topic as inappropriate. We may not have gotten through anything on the syllabus, but it was one of the most informative classes I’ve ever been in.)

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A Dislocated Sense Of The Problem

| Learning | March 27, 2017

(I take an anatomy course at a local community college. I’d been on campus without anything to eat since 8 am, and my anatomy lab is from 7-10 pm. It’s about 8 pm when we’re pricking our fingers to test our blood types and some other blood test that I can’t remember. I successfully test my blood type, and then prick my finger again for the second test. Before being able to read the results, I start feeling dizzy.)

Me: “Hey, [Lab Partner]. I’m getting dizzy so I’m gonna put my head between my knees.”

Lab Partner: “Okay. Are you sure you’re okay?”

(I pass out, fall off the tall lab stool, and hit my head on the way down. I wake up with half the class surrounding me and a classmate, who I recognize as one of the students who is a current certified nursing assistant (CNA), trying to turn me over, yanking on my shoulder.)

Lab Partner: “Let go of her!”

CNA: “She’s having a seizure! I have to get her in the right position!”

Me: “Ow! That hurts! Let go of me. I’m not having a seizure!”

CNA: “Yes, you are!”

Other Classmate: “She just fell. She’s waking up. Let her go.”

Me: “That’s not even how you care for someone who’s having a seizure!”

(I yank away from the CNA, push her aside, and start to sit up.)

Professor: “[My Name], are you okay?”

Me: “I just passed out. I think I hit my head, but I’m okay.”

Professor: “Someone get my regular chair for her. I don’t want her sitting on one of these high stools again. Do you have any medical conditions that may have caused this? Diabetes, heart problems?”

Me: “No, I just didn’t have a chance to eat between classes today.”

Classmate: “I’ll take her to get something from the vending machines.”

(I got some food in me, waited about an hour while my professor watched me, and then slipped away and drove home. My professor looked up my home number in my file, and called me to check on me that night just after I’d gotten home, and explained to my dad what had happened and that I should be monitored for concussion. I did wind up having a minor concussion, but the real kicker is that the CNA classmate wound up dislocating my shoulder! I did not wind up pursuing a career in the medical field after that course.)

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College Of Fools

| Learning | March 23, 2017

(I work in student services, and a lot of my calls are to help students who can’t figure out how to log into the school’s system or find their transcripts. A few of my favorite comments recently:)

Student #1: “I tried all my passwords — Batman, SuperBatman, SuperCoolBatman — and nothing works!”

Student #2: “My first and last initials? You mean, like, the first and second letter of my first name?”

Student #3: “I tried to order my transcript from [Other College] and they want to charge me for it. Can’t you just call them and ask them for it so they’ll send it for free?”

Student #4: “I don’t see why I have to set up an account with you. I don’t want the email address, and if I can’t log in to the system to register for classes, then you’ll just have to do it for me and that will be your problem, not mine.”

Student #5: *after having an account go to collections* “Well, I ignored the bill because I wasn’t going to go back to your school. Now you won’t give me my transcript if I don’t pay? I need it right now, so I don’t think I should have to pay the bill since I’m still not coming back to your school.”

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Going Backwards On That Statement

| Learning | March 18, 2017

I attended a highly-rated automotive vocational program — it has one of the highest placement rates on campus, even at a community college with better numbers than average. There are two tracks, part-time night classes and full-time day classes, and there are generally about three applicants for every spot available in the full-time track with previous educational and/or work experience required for admission. One of the teachers, as many teachers do, would tell students on the first day that they if they had any questions they should ask because ‘There’s no such thing as a stupid question.’

By the time I took his class, he changed to telling people he USED to say that, until someone proved him wrong. On his first day teaching one of the full-time program classes, when he said it a student’s hand shot up, and he called on them. The student asked ‘Why is it when you watch a video of a car driving down the freeway, the car is moving forward but the wheels are turning BACKWARD?’

The teacher is now forced to admit that there is, in fact, such thing as a stupid question.

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