Winter Is Coming?

, , , , , | Learning | December 10, 2018

(I am an elementary music teacher preparing for our K-1 winter concert. This is the third slip sent home with information regarding the performance.)

Slip Sent Home: “Our K-1 Winter Concert will be at [School] on Thursday, December 6th, at 6:00 pm. Please have students wear their winter best, be it a nice long sleeve shirt or a nice dress.”

Parent #1: “Where is the winter concert?”

Parent #2: “When is the winter concert?”

Parent #3: “This is the concert for chorus, right?”

Parent #4: “What does [Child] have to wear?”

Parent #5: “When will the third-graders be singing that night?”

Parent #6: “We’ll be about 45 minutes late. Is that okay?”

Left To Giggle For A Punishing Amount Of Time

, , , | Learning | December 9, 2018

(I am in fifth or sixth grade. About nine out of every ten teachers at my elementary school are the same general mix of authoritarian, power-tripping, prone to yelling and handing out punishments for extremely minor infractions, and borderline neglectful of the kids in their charge. My friend and I, both of us students who never get in trouble, unexpectedly get called out by the teacher for something trivial during the lesson, possibly for something like saying a few words to each other without permission.)

Teacher: “Leave the classroom, you two, and stand outside by the door until I call you back in!”

(This is a frequent “punishment” for less serious misbehavior; it’s supposed to last five to ten minutes at the very most — any seriously disruptive conduct gets you sent to the principal. We do as she said, all while thinking how stupid of a punishment this is, since we now get to miss part of a lesson that bores us to tears AND stand around unsupervised in an empty hallway together while talking as much as we like. Ten minutes pass as we stand around chatting and laughing quietly. Then fifteen minutes. Then twenty minutes. The teacher never calls us back in. We slowly realize she must have forgotten about us. Another teacher passes by us in the hallway and notices us.)

Other Teacher: “What’s going on? Why are you two standing around here on your own?”

(My friend and I look at each other, briefly consider telling her that it looks like we were forgotten there, and immediately decide, “Nahhhh.”)

Us: *innocently* “We were ordered to wait out here by Ms. [Teacher] as punishment, Ms. [Other Teacher]!”

Other Teacher: “Oh, right. Well, carry on, then.” *leaves*

(We giggle to each other and go on talking and playing in the hallway. About twenty more minutes later the lesson ends, and our teacher opens the door to the classroom to let the other kids out. She sees us standing there and makes an incredibly surprised face.)

Teacher: “Oh. Um… What?”

Us: *very innocently* “We’ve been waiting out here for you to let us back in, just like you told us to, Ms. [Teacher]!”

Teacher: *clearly flustered* “Umm… Well! Right! Just go ahead and get in the room and get your things. And go on to your next class. And I hope you’ve learned not to disrupt the class anymore! Yeah…” *very awkward expression, plainly trying to cover for her mistake and hoping we don’t realize what happened*

(We pretended ignorance but started giggling at her expense as soon as her back was turned.)

The Twenty-Year Loan

, , , , , , | Learning | November 29, 2018

(From preschool to third grade, I attend a small private school. It has about 15 students per grade. It is an interesting place. The library is actually the back room of a mobile home — not as creepy as it sounds. One day in third grade, our teacher brings our class to the library to check out books. The books are sorted by grade level, with more than enough to go around for 15 students for each class — especially ours, since we dwindle down to five halfway through the year. I am having a tough time picking out something to read, specifically thinking that all these books are too boring, and wanting something that is more of a challenge, so I march my nine-year-old self over to the area for fifth and sixth graders. The librarian — or at least the woman who was put in charge of organizing this back bedroom — notices me.)

Librarian: “No, those aren’t for your class. They’re too hard.”

Me: *points to the third-grade books* “Those are too easy.”

Librarian: *takes hold of my arm and steers me back to my classmates* “You have to pick one of these.”

(Being so little, I didn’t argue, but even then I thought it was stupid, especially when I had tested into a sixth-grade reading level. The kicker: the school didn’t use computers to check out books at the time this happened. Everything was done by hand. The book I chose that day was missed in their paperwork. I still have it over twenty years later.)

Hopefully She Isn’t Teaching Money Management

, , , | Learning | November 23, 2018

(I’ve been hired to teach English in a Mexican school. The school is clear that pay will be low and we will not be able to pay down US debt on our salaries. I’m talking to a new hire, a middle-aged woman.)

Woman: “I’m going to have real trouble paying my mortgage on this pay.”

Me: “You know, the documentation they sent us said not to come here if we had debts.”

Woman: “I don’t have debts. I have a mortgage.”

(She was later fired for chronic absenteeism.)

This Method Is A Punch Above The Rest

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 21, 2018


(I have been working at the county detention center. My youngest sister is constantly getting bullied — name-calling, mainly — on the school bus in the afternoon by the same group of kids, and despite my parents making several complaints to the school, it continues. Finally, one day, one of the boys goes too far, and actually tries to grope her. These kids are all eight to ten years old. I give her some advice from our detention officer certification course instructor.)

Me: “Listen carefully, [Sister]. If that boy tries to put his hands on you again, hit him.”

Sister: “But I’ll get in trouble.”

Me: “I don’t care; you hit him hard. Punch him! Scratch him! Kick him! If you get in trouble, I will leave work and yell at your principal for not stopping this sooner.”

(The remainder of the afternoon is spent teaching her a few strikes and nerve points our instructor taught us. The next day when I get off work, I see her grinning ear to ear.)

Me: “Was your ride home okay?”

Sister: “Yup! He tried to pull my shirt up, but I hit him in the throat! He started crying!”

(She didn’t get in trouble for defending herself.)

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