Bullies Are Just The Worst

, , , , , | Learning | May 11, 2021

I am not social in school. One boy, in particular, seems to take great pleasure in pushing me to the point of tears before leaving me alone with my anger. I tell my parents about this boy, they ask the school to intervene, and the school sends us to a group called “peer counselors.” Each counsel session has two school-aged counselors and one teacher. I’m nine, [Boy] is eleven, and we’re both in fourth grade.

Peer Counselor #1: “We are here today to find out why [My Name] feels targeted by [Boy].”

Boy: “She likes it.”

Me: “I don’t.”

Boy: *Poking me* “It’s just for fun!”

I duck out of his reach, batting his hand away.

Me: “Stop!”

Boy: “She hit me! See?”

Peer Counselor #1: “[Boy], please keep your hands to yourself. [My Name], don’t hit.”

Peer Counselor #2: “[My Name], why do you think [Boy] is picking on you?”

Me: “I don’t know. He’s mean.”

Peer Counselor #2: “Let’s try to not use words like that. Let’s try being more constructive and less destructive.”

Boy: “[My Name] doesn’t have friends. I’m just trying to give her the attention she wants.”

Me: “I don’t want attention.”

Boy: “Then why did you go tattling to your mommy and daddy like a widdle baby?

He makes mocking crying motions by his eyes. I feel the tears coming and shake my head.

Boy: “See? She’s a baby!”

Peer Counselor #2: “[Boy], we don’t call people babies.”

Peer Counselor #1: “Clearly, [My Name] does not like the attention you’re giving her. Don’t you think you should stop?”

Boy: “No. No one else even talks to her.”

He reaches over and pulls my hair so hard my head jerks sideways.

Me: “Stop!”

I start crying.

Teacher: “Okay, [Boy]. That’s enough. Get up.”

Boy: “What?”

Teacher: “Get up. Now.”

She stands beside him, not touching him.

Boy: “You can’t make me.”

Teacher: “Get. Up.”

[Boy] smiles smugly, crossing his arms.

Boy: “No.”

Teacher: “Okay.”

She grabs him by the arm and drags him out of the room. He protests as they go down the hall toward the principal’s office.

Boy: “Hey! Let go! You can’t touch me!”

My mom came and picked me up from school that day. A few days later, when I returned to school, I heard that [Boy] had been expelled. My “tattling” had given other kids the courage to come forward, sharing experiences from stealing lunch money to physical intimidation. The principal and other staff members felt that expulsion was the best move for everyone. I don’t know what happened to [Boy] or where he went after he was expelled.

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Enunciation Is So Important

, , , , , , | Learning | May 2, 2021

A kindergartner is sent to the principal for writing on his bus seat.

Principal: “Did you write on your seat on the bus?”

Child: “Yes.”

Principal: “Do other kids write on the seats?”

Child: “No.”

Principal: “Do you write on the furniture at home?”

Child: “No.”

Principal: “Then why did you think it was okay to write on the bus seat?”

Child: *Bursts into tears* “Because the driver told us to sit in our ‘signed seats, and mine wasn’t signed!”

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“April Fools!” Is Rarely Music To Anyone’s Ears

, , , , , | Learning | April 1, 2021

I am eight years old. Our music teacher seems like a nice woman until, in one class, she tells us we are to memorise the lyrics for six songs by next week, word for word. As we’re eight, our class is afraid to protest. During the week, we are all terrified, and my parents agree that the teacher is requiring too much. However, it being a different time and place, merely a few years after my country has become independent from the Soviet Union, people simply are not used to challenging authority.

The dreaded day comes. The teacher hands out empty papers and assigns us to write the exact lyrics to one of the songs. We are all quietly panicking, but we start writing down the lyrics as well as we can. She tells us to hand the papers over and that she’ll return them after lunch. It is a long and scary lunch break, but finally, it ends. She enters the classroom with our tests.

During that horrible week, no one has paid attention to the date. The first of April. She has not corrected or graded anything, only written, “April Fools!” on every test.

Painfully, I see later that I actually managed to write down the exact lyrics, word for word. The fact that she did not even bother to give us all As for effort really bothers me.

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The Writing’s On The Wall… Er… Desk

, , , , , | Learning | March 22, 2021

I’m a parent volunteer at my kids’ school library. I’ve done this for years and am trusted by the teachers. One day, the third-grade teacher across the hall asks me to watch her kids so she can use the bathroom. She tells me that they are taking a test and need to be absolutely silent.

Less than a minute later, one kid starts to act up. I sternly say his name and tell him to stop it. His eyes widen.

Student: “How do you know my name?”

Me: “I’m a Mom; I know everything.”

The whole class was looking at me with the most hilarious scared expressions on their faces as the teacher breezed back in. Every kid had their name in their handwriting taped to the top of their desks.

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Wait Until You Hear About Centaur Babies!

, , , , | Learning | March 20, 2021

In the fourth grade, I became obsessed with the discovery of “mermaid babies” — babies who are born with webbed feet and/or hands, or with their legs and/or feet fused together. Every week in my class, someone was required to present a news report on any topic we wished, and of course, my topic was on this interesting phenomenon of mutations.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm following my week to present led a lot of my classmates to get annoyed and skeptical with me. One kid even came up and basically called me a liar and a fraud because her mom told her mermaid babies aren’t really mermaids but babies with their skin fused together. She got especially annoyed when I just gave her a confused look and went, “Duh, it’s not like they’re born with gills or something,” and walked away.

I finally gave my presentation, starting with a short fictional story I read about pregnant women laying by a “mermaid lake” who then gave birth to actual mermaids. I made sure to mention that the story was just a legend — incorrect word but I didn’t know that — and wasn’t real, before diving into my actual findings about a baby who had to have surgery to separate their legs.

I’ll never forget the look of awe on my teacher’s face as she listened to me speak. And after I was done, she set her grading clipboard down and asked, “So… Wait… Are these real mermaids? Like, can they breathe underwater and everything?” 

I stood there, dumbfounded for a second, before replying, “No, Mrs. [Teacher]. Mermaids aren’t actually real; it’s just the baby’s legs stuck together.”

I wish I could remember what I wrote and read to my class. It still bothers me to this day, wondering where in my presentation I went wrong for her to ask me that.

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