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This Teacher Passes The Compassion Test With Flying Colors

, , , , | Learning | May 25, 2022

Like a lot of high school students, I suffered from test anxiety. A lot of teachers don’t understand how bad it can be for some kids, but my history teacher does.

We’ve just taken the first big test of the year in my American History class, on the American Revolutionary War. I know I bombed the test because of my anxiety, so I’m feeling pretty down the rest of the day and all that night. The next day, my history teacher shows a movie so he can work on getting our tests graded because he wasn’t able to finish them all overnight.

Throughout the class period, I watch my teacher quietly talk to several kids at their desks. I assume he’s giving them their test scores, so my anxiety and panic are growing each time my teacher gets out of his chair. Finally, it’s my turn. My teacher gets up and walks over to my desk.

Teacher: *Quietly* “Hey, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Teacher: “You have a Study Hall next period, right?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Teacher: “If I write you a note for your Study Hall teacher, would you be able to come over here to talk about your test?”

Me: “Okay.”

Teacher: “Thanks. Here’s the note. See you later.”

With that, he heads back to his own desk. I start panicking because I think he’s going to chew me out for doing so badly on the test, and the rest of the movie is just a blur. The period finally ends, and I head to Study Hall, show my Study Hall teacher the note, and head back to my history teacher’s room.

Teacher: “Hey, welcome back, [My Name].”

I’m almost in tears because I’m panicking so much.

Me: “Hi.”

Teacher: “I see that you’re uncomfortable, and I’m sorry I couldn’t explain more during class. Do you have test anxiety?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Teacher: “I thought so. You always seem to know your stuff during discussions, so when I saw your test score, I wanted to reach out and give you a better chance. What can you tell me about the Battle of Saratoga?”

Me: “Um… what?”

Teacher: “I just want you to think of this as a regular discussion, okay? Don’t worry about being wrong or making guesses; just tell me what you think.”

We proceed to have a conversation about some of the important events and details of the Revolutionary War. After talking back and forth for about twenty minutes, with me getting more and more comfortable the entire time, my teacher finally brings things to a close.

Teacher: “Well, it’s obvious that you really do know your stuff, so I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. On the paper test yesterday, you only got a score of thirteen percent. I’m guessing that’s because of your test anxiety, so, based on talking today, I’m going to throw that out and give you an eighty percent score. You’re missing some of the important details, so I can’t give you a perfect score, but you got all the big-picture stuff spot on. Are you okay with that?”

Me: “Absolutely! Thank you so much!”

Teacher: “You’re welcome. I still want you to do your best on the paper tests, but if you have a hard time with them, talk to me and we can do things this way again. Deal?”

I found out that my teacher did something like this for all the kids who had test anxiety – that’s why he was talking to everybody during the movie after the test. Not only did we all get better grades overall, but we even got better at taking paper tests because it took away a lot of the pressure of worrying about our grades.

By the end of the year, our history teacher was everybody’s favorite teacher. He also tried to help other teachers find similar ways to work with students, but not every teacher was willing to go along. I wish they had because that would have made high school a lot better for me and a lot of other kids. As it was, he was kind of the shining beacon in a world of darkness.

I know he’ll probably never read this, but I know that he knows how much my classmates and I appreciated his efforts, so thanks again, [Teacher].

We Hope This Class Was On The Ground Floor

, , , , , , | Learning | May 5, 2022

We’re having an exam in a computer lab. After we’re all finished, the examiner sits with each of us individually to see what we’ve done, and then we can go, but the grade will be revealed later. The classmate he’s currently with has taken this class at least once before.

Classmate: *Jokingly* “Sir, if I fail the class again, I’m going to jump out the window.”

Examiner: “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. Let’s see.”

They spend a couple of minutes looking through his work.

Examiner: “All right, you can go.”

Classmate: “Through the door or the window?”

Examiner: “…The door.”

That’s Worth Way More Than A Dollar!

, , , , , , , | Learning | March 28, 2022

I’m a junior in a senior-level math class. Our teacher is this hilarious man in his early seventies who loves his job but hates the “bureaucracy” for getting involved in everything. Students love him because he speaks up for them. One of the things he does is give every student who turns eighteen during the school year a dollar to buy their first lottery ticket. We are a couple of weeks away from finals. He’s talking about how he enjoyed teaching us this year.

Teacher: “…and I gave out a lot of money to you kids to buy lottery tickets. I feel like I’m missing someone, though. Whose eighteenth birthday hasn’t happened yet?”

I raise my hand.

Teacher: “[My Name]! So, you’re a summer kid, huh?”

Me: “Yep!”

Teacher: “When do you turn eighteen?”

Me: “[Month and Day]—”

Teacher: “Oh, right around the corner!”

Me: “—of next year.”

He cackles with laughter.

Teacher: “I forgot I had a junior this year!”

Me: “Do I still get $1?”

Teacher: “Nope. Nice try, though.”

Fast forward to the day of the final exam. When each person is done, he grades the exam in front of them and calculates their final average. I have finished. I walk up to his desk and he reads through my exam, making corrections occasionally. An 80 to 89 is a B and a 90 or higher is an A, and he never rounds up.

Teacher: “Okay, [My Name], you got an 85 on the exam, which takes your semester average to…”

He scribbles in the grade book.

Teacher: “…89.5.”

This particular class was HARD, so I’m perfectly fine with a B!

Me: “Sounds good to me!”

He stares at the grade book for a minute, then erases the grade and enters something else.

Teacher: “90.”

I stare at him in surprise.

Me: “What?!”

Teacher: “You were the only junior in a very difficult senior-level class, and you worked hard all year. You deserve it.”

Me: “Wow! Thank you!”

Teacher: “You’re still not getting your dollar. But you do get the A.”

He shook my hand and I exited, still in shock. He retired soon after.

On The Upside, More Study Time!

, , , , , | Learning | March 14, 2022

I’m testing to become an EA (enrolled agent), which is somewhat similar to a CPA (certified public accountant). To become an EA, you must pass three tests, in any order. These government-mandated tests are proctored and administered by a private company.

I arrive at my testing facility on the day of the test, as scheduled. Getting ready for the test is a very intensive process; I basically have to store everything in a locker so I can’t cheat.

They scan me with a metal detection wand to make sure I’m not caring in a computer, and they check my sleeves, shoes, pants, and mask to make sure I’m not smuggling in a written answer sheet.

They sit me down at my assigned computer, and I click to verify that my name is correct. The testing program then makes me verify that I agree to follow the testing rules. I click yes… and the computer freezes.

I raise my hand for help, and the proctor arrives. They click on the “Next” button a couple of times. Suddenly, the test thinks I’m on my halfway break, skipping past the entire first half of the test.

Proctor: “There you go, unfrozen.”

Me: “Ummm, that’s not correct.”

Proctor: “What do you mean, it’s not correct? You wanted to go to your break, right?”

Me: “No, I wanted to start the first section.”

We both stared at the screen in mounting horror. I’m not sure which of us said it, possibly both of us simultaneously, but I distinctly heard the word “s***”.

The proctor left to get help. When help came, they gently led me out of the testing room.

After some struggle with resetting the test, they decided to reschedule my test free of charge.

Failing To Understand The Situation

, , , , , , | Learning | February 4, 2022

I work as a test proctor at my college in between classes. Finals are upon us, and the testing center is completely swamped. We have a high volume of students taking the final for a general education class that uses a third-party software.

A student taking one of these tests gets up from the computer and approaches my coworker.

Coworker: “Do you have a question, sir?”

Student: “I need to retake it.”

My coworker thinks something may have gone wrong with the software.

Coworker: “What happened to your test?”

Student: “I failed. I need to retake it.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, sir, but retakes can only be approved by your instructor, and even then, only for emergencies.”

Student: “But I failed. I need to retake it.”

Coworker: “We are truly unable to schedule another appointment for you.”

The student picks up his bag and marches out of the testing room. He heads straight for me at the front desk.

Me: “Finished with your test, sir?”

Student: “I need to retake it.”

His face is emotionless. His voice is completely monotone.

Me: “Hmm, it looks like you were in here to take the [class] final. We cannot schedule retakes for that test, but—”

Student: “But I failed. I need to retake it.”

Me: “But your instructor is the one who handles retakes. You must get in contact with them. However, they aren’t likely to issue a retake unless—”

Student: “I failed.”

Me: “Unless you missed the test due to an emergency.”

He just stands there, completely still, face unreadable.

Me: “Do you have any other questions?”

As mechanically as a robot, he picked up his bag and stiffly walked away. 

Poor guy.