Motoring Right On Through To Your License

, , , , , | Learning | June 1, 2020

When I am twenty-two, I decide to get a license to drive the second-largest motorcycle, which is the best I can do at the time. (A2, for you EU-citizens out there.) In drivers’ ed for a normal car, I had teachers that I would classify as “meh” at best, but for the motorcycle lessons, my teacher is awesome and knows exactly how to motivate his students.

While I love the driving lessons, the thought of taking the practical exam makes me very nervous as I failed several times when getting a license to drive a car. My teacher has already asked which spot I would prefer for the driving exercises as he has the possibility to make a suggestion to the examiner — unofficially, of course.

One thing that I am scared of most is one of the basic exercises: driving in a perfect circle. It’s not that I can’t do it technically; it’s just that the radius isn’t marked on the ground and I am terrible at guessing how many metres I am from the centre. This goes for motorcycling, biking, or horseback riding — I just can’t do it.

My teacher knows this and tries to calm me down by explaining that the examiner can choose from several exercises but he can only choose one, which means that if I am tested in, for example, stop-and-go, I won’t have to do the circle. I am good at stop-and-go, so I really hope we will do that one.

Fifteen minutes before the exam, we stop at a gas station to fill up and check the tyre pressure. Nervous as I am, I do something stupid and fall down with the motorcycle, hurting my knee — but not so bad that I couldn’t continue — and breaking the clutch lever! I can’t drive like this safely so we stop at the motorcycle dealership and my teacher calls the examiner to tell him we will run late. While the lever is being replaced, I am standing outside in tears. This is about as bad as it can get.

My teacher tries to calm me down. “Okay, so that is done now; it’s over,” he says. “Now you can focus on the exam and pass it.”

“I can try,” I say, shakily.

My teacher says confidently, “No! We’re not here to try. It’s far too expensive for that. You’re gonna do it!”

Cheered up only a little, I start the exam. For the base exercises, my teacher makes sure we go to the place I know best. Now comes the part I am so scared of; will the examiner make me drive in circles? I try to tell myself how unlikely that is when I hear my teacher over the radio making a subtle suggestion to the examiner.

“So, which exercise should we do first? Stop-and-go or—”

“Yeah, yeah, do that,” the examiner says.

I immediately cheer up over the little trick my teacher pulled, even if, on second thought, the examiner probably knew exactly what was going on.

And that’s how my teacher chose the perfect spot for the exam, saved me from the possibility of circle driving, and later even told the examiner that a line I illegally crossed was absolutely impossible to see with the wet surface of the road. I passed on the first try!

To this day, I think he is the perfect teacher and if I ever find the money to do the license for big motorcycles, I will definitely go to him! Even if I still have a guilty conscience about denting that motorcycle.

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Profesora Jekyll Y Señora Hyde

, , , , | Learning | February 11, 2020

(Our Spanish teacher is usually really nice. This week, we have a quiz, a big project, and a test all in Spanish. On Monday, we have the quiz. On Tuesday, we have time to work on the project. Our teacher is checking to see how much work we have done.)

Teacher: *angrily to the whole class* “I am disappointed in you guys. You are all extremely behind! I know that some of you will leave this to the last minute and I know that a few of your projects will look like Google translate. I’ll be surprised if I’m not sitting in front of the honor board with at least one of you. Because I know that you guys are going to cheat!”

(She continues ranting to us for ten minutes about how she knows we are all going to cheat and get expelled. We are all pretty surprised at this reaction as nobody has even gone as far as passing in a homework assignment late. The next day, we are all nervous about going back to the class. My friend and I both have social anxiety and our nicest teacher unexpectedly screaming at us didn’t help. Nonetheless, we all show up to class on time worried about being yelled at.)

Teacher: *calmly and kindly* “So, a lot of you did pretty badly on the quiz. A lot of you guys failed.” 

(For the whole class, she is really kind again and explains everything we got wrong on the quiz.)

Teacher: *as we are leaving* “I will not postpone the tests! You guys need to start being responsible; I expect better from high-schoolers!”

(Nobody asked her to move the test. She just decided that that was worth yelling about. Oh, did I mention that this is a class of mostly freshmen? And that it’s a new school to a lot of us, as well? We take our tests and get them back after the weekend.)

Teacher: “The class average was 95%! And there were several 100s. Only one of you failed. I am really surprised none of you cheated. I was sure I was going to get someone expelled!”

(I still don’t know why she was so sure that we would cheat, but also, she left some posters on the wall that had a few things that would help out on the test. And I’m pretty sure more than a few of us noticed.)

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Some Tests Are Born Again Soul Destroying

, , , | Learning | February 5, 2020

(We have just had a particularly hard test.)

Me: “That test killed my soul… which is quite impressive as I thought my soul was already dead.”

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WeManagedToFitThisVeryLongTitleInThisVerySmallSpace

, , , , , | Learning | November 22, 2019

(I’m taking a finance class. We’re preparing for our midterm, which involves a lot of formulas. The professor is talking to us right before the end of class.)

Professor #1: “Oh! One more thing. You are allowed to use whatever information you can fit on a 3×5 notecard. Class dismissed. See you Thursday. Be ready!”

(I get an idea on Wednesday night. I type up all the relevant formulas in a Word document, shrink the font so that it will fit on the notecard, print it out, cut out the 3×5 square, and tape it to the notecard. The next day, the professor does a card check. When he gets to me…)

Professor #1: *inspects my card* “You typed this? Nice job! I’m gonna keep this in mind as a tip for future students.”

(Fast forward to the next semester. I’m in a Strategic Management class, which is my final course before I graduate. We are a couple of days out from our final exam.)

Professor #2: “Remember, guys, you can use one 3×5 notecard on your exam. Whatever you can fit, you can use. I’ll even let you use the front and back.”

(Everyone groans, as there’s a lot of vocabulary involved, and there’s no way that we can possibly fit everything on there, even if we use the back.)

Professor #2: “Do your best. Now, get outta here. Exam Wednesday. Last thing between most of you and graduation!”

(I remember what I did for my finance class and get to work typing definitions and principles. It takes some extra creativity, but I manage to shrink the text to make it small yet readable, and get about 75% of the content on the study guide onto the notecard. Fast forward to Wednesday. The professor walks in.)

Professor #2: “All right, people! Card check. Bring ‘em out!”

(He gets to me. He picks up my card and inspects it with a raised eyebrow.)

Professor #2: “You’ve got most of the study guide on here. How did you do that?”

Me: “Typed it.”

(He turns it upside down and squints at it.)

Professor #2: “Can you even read this?”

Me: “Yes.”

(He starts laughing.)

Professor #2: “[My Name], you’re a smart-a**.”

(I passed my exam with 90%.)

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This Curriculum Was Designed By A Doof

, , , , | Learning | November 1, 2019

(I go to an “elite” high-school that specializes in language learning. The really cool thing about their curriculum is that after the initial hard learning in the first year, students take one or more classes entirely in their primary language. For me it is German, and because the school doesn’t have enough teachers to cover all subjects, my classmates and I end up with chemistry and biology in German all through ninth grade. Our final biology tests are tough and most of us review all of the year’s learning material so that we can pass. Skip ahead to tenth grade. Note: it’s usual for schools in Bulgaria to hold “entry-level” tests for most subjects, in order to review the most important things from the last year and to ease the transition in the new stuff.)

Teacher: “All right, students, hope you had a good summer, but now things are getting tough again. Our entry-level test is on Tuesday next week.”

Class: *groans*

Teacher: “I also have some good news, though. This year we won’t be learning in German, so at least you won’t be bothered by grammar and new biology vocabulary.”

Class: *sighs in relief*

Classmate: “Excuse me, Mrs. [Teacher], we are still having the entry test in German, right?”

Teacher: “Why? It’s in Bulgarian, too.”

Classmate: “But we know all this stuff in German!”

Teacher: “So, translate it; you’re smart enough, I believe?”

Classmate: “Yeah, for most things, but those special terms aren’t that easy to translate. All materials we have from last year are in German, and we don’t even know what half of the organs are called in Bulgarian!”

Teacher: “Oh, come on. You can do it. End of discussion. Now, let’s review. Can someone tell me anything about the chemical substances in a human cell?”

Class: *looks dumb*

Teacher: “Anyone? No one?”

Class: *looks even dumber*

Teacher: *sighs* “All right…” *in German* “Chemical substances in a cell?”

Classmate: *also in German* “I know that one!” *proceeds to explain*

Me: *facepalm* “We’re so failing that entry test.”

(Most of us did fail. I still think it was a very stupid change in curriculum.)

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