“Be A Woman”?!

, , , , , , | Learning | December 25, 2020

I’m about five, and I am a very shy, sensitive kid. Our teacher aide does not like me. When the lead teacher isn’t around, she picks on me and yells at me for the most minor errors until I cry. My parents know and have complained to the school.

One day, I come back to school after being sick for a few days. My doctor has prescribed an antibiotic that must be taken at lunchtime. It’s too large of a pill for me to take all at once, so it must be cut in half. The aide brings me the pill, uncut, and a glass of water.

Aide: “Here you go. Take your medicine.”

I stare at this gigantic pill but don’t say anything.

Aide: “Now what?”

Me: “Mommy cuts it in half.”

Aide: “I’m not your mommy.”

Me: “But it’s too big.”

Aide: “No, it’s not.”

Me: “But it’s too big!”

Aide: “No, you’re gonna take it.”

I start to cry.

Aide: “And you’re crying again! I’m not your mommy and I’m not cutting that in half. Be a woman and take it.” 

I’m still crying.

Aide: “Why do you cry all the time?! Take the pill. Be a woman.”

I took the pill and immediately threw it back up on her. Swift justice served. My mother personally read her the riot act after that. She was moved to aftercare duty a short time later and gave me a wide berth. As an adult, I still can’t comprehend what kind of person would pick on a five-year-old until they cry.

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Too Old. Does Not Compute.

, , , , , | Learning | November 20, 2020

I am an assistant teacher in an elementary school. I am outside with a first-grade class for PE. It’s my first day with this group — we’ve just had yet another schedule change — and I’m still getting to know the kids.

Little Boy: “Miss, how old are you?”

I always love getting this question, because kids have no sense of age and give hilarious answers.

Me: “How old do you think I am?”

Little Boy: “Seven!”

Me: “Bigger.”

Little Boy: “Eight?”

Me: “Bigger. Think grown-up numbers.”

Little Boy: *Thinking really hard* “NINE!”

Me: *Laughing* “Actually, buddy, I’m twenty-six.”

The boy is clearly confused by a number that big.

Little Boy: “Uh… Watch me throw my Frisbee!”

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Everyone Can See The Problem Here

, , , , , | Learning | November 1, 2020

In the late 1990s, when we were in second grade, my twin sister and I got glasses. This was still the second week of school. My sister and I looked (and still look) very similar to each other, though we weren’t (and still aren’t) identical twins. We had ordered them before the start of the school year but for some reason it took some time for them to come. It was surprising that no one had realized we needed glasses before, since at the time I had 20/350 vision and my sister’s was much worse, one of her eyes being functionally blind.

We went to school the Monday after we got glasses. For me, everything was fine. My friend fawned over my glasses because it meant I could watch movies with him now. I had the teacher everyone liked. She was young, fun, and friendly and always had a joke ready for any occasion. My sister had the teacher that everyone dreaded. She was old and rather deaf and would yell at anything she found unacceptable.

Just before lunch, I was called into the main office. I went to the meeting room to see the principal and vice principal looking uncomfortable, my sister’s teacher looking very livid, another woman looking very angry as well with a hand on my sister’s shoulder, and my sister curled up in a chair crying. I went over to my sister and hugged her, and just then my dad burst into the room.

With everyone there, the meeting began. Essentially, what happened was that the teacher believed my sister was breaking the dress code because she was wearing glasses, which “pretty little blonde girls shouldn’t do,” and she tried to take my sister’s glasses off. The assistant teacher intervened. The vice principal actually seemed to be taking the teacher’s side. 

My dad smiled, and then stood up, gestured towards the vice principal and spoke very calmly and matter-of-factly.

Dad: “Firstly, I’m pretty sure I remember your daughter wore glasses in third grade. She’s friends with my son, remember? Secondly, I’m fairly certain when my son was in elementary school he had this hag as his teacher and we specifically requested that none of our other children would ever have her. Thirdly, if by the start of next week [Sister] isn’t transferred out of that witch’s class, I will lawyer up and get the press involved.”

The principal was just sitting there with a smile on his face. The vice principal was stuttering.

Vice Principal: “There are only two second-grade classes, and it’s school policy to not put twins in the same class.” 

Dad: “You can break the policy. Unless you are suggesting my daughter would fare worse in a class with her twin sister and best friend than in a class where the teacher bullies her and doesn’t believe she should be able to see the board.”

Vice Principal: “Well, how do you know that [my teacher] won’t think the same way?”

I exclaimed proudly:

Me: “Because I have her and she said my glasses were really cute this morning!”

The principal turned to the vice principal.

Principal: “You must admit, [Vice Principal], he’s got you beat on all fronts.”

Then, he turned to my dad.

Principal: “Your daughter will be out of [teacher’s] class by tomorrow.”

Even though my dad was smiling the whole time, it was the scariest my sister and I had ever seen him. My sister was transferred into my class the next day, and the year continued without much incident. The teacher was later fired midway through the year for an unrelated incident, and my sister and big brother helped bake a cake to celebrate.

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It Came From Beneath The Partition

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 31, 2020

The elementary school I attended had an annual Halloween party where teachers, parents, and the oldest students would host games, scares, and general candy giveaways. There was everything you’d expect: a “feel the scary spaghetti” booth, bobbing for apples, group trivia, and, of course, a haunted house.

Well, haunted music room, really. They brought in partitions and covered them with decorated butcher paper to create a small haunted house experience. Students wanting to go through would be led through in groups by a guide who would tell us about all the spooky things we were seeing. Again, it was all fairly typical. A witch with a boiling cauldron, a skeleton pretending to be dead until we got close, and so on.

About halfway through, we came to a stretch where there was a gap at the bottom of the partition walls. Older students lying on the ground on the other side would reach through to grasp at our legs and spook us. Notice I say, “grasp at,” not, “grab.”

I was at the back of the group, so nobody noticed when one of the hands locked on my ankle, yanked me off my feet, and pulled me under the wall. It happened so fast I didn’t even make a noise and just lay there feeling stunned.

Eventually, my seven-year-old mind concluded that I must have been selected to help scare other groups and that I’d be grabbing at legs, too. This lasted up until the guide came back and hustled me out to my bemused parents.

Looking back, they probably thought I got scared and hid. I never did tell anybody about being volunteered to join the haunted house.

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You Might Want To Watch That One

, , , , , | Learning | October 26, 2020

I’m walking into the school where I work as an immersion-English classroom teacher. One of my third-grade students catches up with me, rubbing her hands ostentatiously with hand sanitizer.

Student: “I just love alcohol!”

Me: *Laughs* “Don’t say it like that; it means something different in English!”

Student: *Grins cheekily* “I know!”

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