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Children Sure Have A Gift For Making You Feel Old

, , , , | Related | May 29, 2022

I was picking up my kids after school one day when my fifth-grader suddenly remembered something she wanted to show me. It was a piece of notebook paper on which she and her friend had drawn a phone screen and were writing messages (including the chat bubbles) to each other.

Daughter: “Yeah, we’re not allowed our phones in school, but [Friend] and I figured out how to text each other anyway!”

Me: “When I was in school, we called that ‘passing notes.’”

Daughter: “But you didn’t even have texting back then!”

Me: *Facepalm*

In The Snow! With No Shoes! And No Backpack For Your Books!

, , , , , , | Learning | December 9, 2021

I went to school in a very hilly part of California. The school I went to was built on the side of one of these very steep hills. The school’s structure followed the slope of the hill.

There were three large double doors in the school: one near the top, one near the bottom, and one near the middle. For some reason, the doors near the middle were kept locked, and the top door was designated as entrance only, the bottom as exit only.

Oddly, the middle of the school was the part closest to the drop-off point where busses and parents were permitted to drop off their kids.

I once asked a teacher why the entrance and exit were set up in that strange way. The teacher said that the principal wanted us to have to walk uphill both ways. I didn’t get the joke back then, but now I understand that’s something that old people sometimes say they had to do to their kids.

So, everyone who went to that school really did have to walk uphill both ways.

This. Is. TERRIFYING.

, , , , , , | Learning | July 24, 2021

I attended elementary school — kindergarten through fifth grade — from the early to mid-1990s. Every year for Halloween, and the three days leading up to it, our entire school became a haunted house. The ticket sales went to various other school programs and activities. This being an elementary school, you might think it was more of a kid-friendly haunted house. Nope, it was an actual haunted house. The different rooms didn’t change much, but it was pretty gruesome and people really got into it. A lot of parents would help out and the high school even gave extra credit to the students who volunteered to help. Considering how conservative the little town we lived in was at the time, I’m surprised they were even allowed to start this, let alone keep it going for nearly twenty years.

The final scare at the end of the haunted house happened when you reached the cafeteria. A man, usually one of the coaches from the high school, popped out in a Jason mask while revving a real chainsaw (with the saw chain removed) and chased you through a wooden maze that had been built in the cafeteria.

By my fifth grade year, my friends and I weren’t really scared by the haunted house anymore, since most of the scares were the same every year. We were part of the first group to go through and were mostly giggling and goofing around. We made it to the cafeteria, but we weren’t sure when or where Jason would pop out.

We made it nearly to the end of the maze when Jason appeared, revving his chainsaw. The people at the front of our group screamed and ran out the door to the school lobby. One of my friends thought he’d be funny and decided to dart through Jason’s legs on his way out. Jason lurched back, sending the chainsaw over his head and into one of the maze walls. We all froze when we heard the sound of wood splitting and the chainsaw choking as it got stuck.

A teacher who’d been monitoring the area came running in and turned the lights on. There, stuck in the maze wall, was a chainsaw that most definitely still had the blades on. Coach Jason had forgotten to take the chain off.

The teacher herded us out of there while Jason tried to get the chainsaw free. They shut the haunted house down for about an hour while all the teachers met and talked about what to do. Different volunteers dressed as monsters, zombies, etc., switched in and out of the cafeteria for the rest of that Halloween season. They kept doing the haunted house for several years after I graduated on to middle school, but they never had Jason back again.


This story is part of our Best Of July 2021 roundup!

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Every Vacation Has A Price

, , , , , , | Learning | June 15, 2021

When I was in fifth grade, there was this one kid who, to put it kindly, could never be accused of being in possession of general common sense. For example, he bragged to some kids about something mischievous he did — within earshot of the school principal!

One day, he did not show up to class, and no one thought anything of it. As usual, the teacher would leave whatever assignments and whatnot on his desk.

A week went by, followed by yet another week. I overheard the teacher mentioning to a faculty member that calls had been placed to the kid’s home, which had been both unanswered and unreturned, and that there was a serious concern that there might have been a serious personal emergency or illness.

Then one day, he popped up, as grand as you please, bragging to the kids about his “vacation” in Texas. The teacher saw him and obviously confronted him.

Teacher: “Where have you been the past two weeks?”

Kid: *Grandly, with a huge smile* “Texaaaaaas! Dad got a huge bonus at work and some vacation time and took us all! Yep! Got myself a heck of a tan, too!”

Teacher: *Turning a patchwork of purple and red* “You can’t just up and take a vacation smack in the middle of the school year without making arrangements with us first about your schoolwork! What is wrong with you?”

Kid: “Schoolwork? But I was on vacation!”

The teacher returns to her desk, produces a tower of paperwork, and plops it down on his desk.

Teacher: “I sure hope you’re ready to sacrifice your lunchtime recesses. And, on top of that, I hope your dad will understand why you will be in detention after school every day until every single assignment is completed!”

Kid: “That’s not fair!”

Teacher: “Unless you would like to get zeroes for everything. And, for your information, it’s not fair to the other students to let you skip out on your work while they are here every day trying and working hard. Anything else you’d like to share with the class about the spectacular time you had in Texas while they were hard at work? We’d love to hear it.”

The kid just scowled.

It took him a month to finally get caught up.

Well, At Least He Learned Something…

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 29, 2021

Teacher: “For our next science test, I will award the person who scores the highest a $20 prize.”

To a ten-year-old kid back in the 1990s, this was serious cash.

A few days later, I went into the empty classroom during lunch break and spotted a stack of the aforementioned tests on the teacher’s desk. Devil horns sprouted out of my head as I grinned from ear to ear, snatched a test off the stack, and stuffed it in my backpack.

I figured the teacher would get suspicious of a C-average student suddenly scoring a perfect on a relatively difficult exam, so that evening when I was at home, I memorized that test forward, backward, out of order, sideways, upside down, and even made flashcards for myself. The following morning, I took the test, and the day after that — just as I was fully fearing — the teacher stopped me at the door as the class was filing in to begin the day and marched me straight to the principal’s office. After presenting her accusations and hearing my denial, they demanded I retake the test in front of them.

I wish I could describe the bewildered looks on their faces after the teacher graded my test, only for me to score another “perfect” score. The teacher then tried asking questions from the test out of order and then rewording the questions to trip me up into giving an incorrect answer. Then, suddenly, she flung the test down.

Teacher: “He’s not even hesitating to answer or taking any time to think!”

I ended walking out of that office feeling like Billy Bada**.

She later did give me the $20 — begrudgingly, with an “I know you did something” look on her face.

Does the story end there? Unfortunately for me… no. For the rest of the school year, every time a science test was approaching, the teacher would announce the date of the test, and would always end the announcement this way.

Teacher: *Ominously* “And I expect a certain someone in this classroom to score no less than 100%, or he will be in more trouble than he has even been in in his entire life!”

And for the rest of the school year, I made science my number one subject to focus 90% of my attention on, and I would spend hours frantically studying for each approaching test — far too terrified to score less than 100% each time. Once, I scored a 95% and nearly pissed myself.

Disclaimer: Cheating on schoolwork is something I now as an adult do not condone; you are only robbing yourself. I am only laughing at the humor of this situation which occurred nearly thirty years ago.