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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.

Transcending Understanding

, , , , , , | Learning | January 11, 2022

I am teaching American literature to juniors — kids roughly sixteen to seventeen years old. The class is usually taught chronologically, starting with colonial literature, and I try to show how history is directly reflected in literary styles and topics. 

We’ve finished Romanticism and its death in the Civil War and have moved on to Western expansion (cowboys, Native Americans, the Wild West, etc.) and the literary genres of Realism and Regionalism. I’m grading a short quiz over what we’ve covered so far.

Quiz Question: “Identify one technological advancement in the US that led to increased popularity in the style of either Realism or Regionalism.”

Student’s Answer: “The Transcendental Railroad.”

My Only Thought: “Totally far out, pardner…”

Teacher Intelligence Exists On A Spectrum

, , , , , , | Learning | December 1, 2021

By the time I take psychology class in high school, I have already had a regular physics course and am now taking an advanced AP physics course. We have just gotten a test back that covered the senses and psychological effects on them. I go to my teacher at the end of the class.

Me: “[Teacher], you marked this question as wrong but I’m pretty sure it’s correct.”

Teacher: “No, violet light is a lower wavelength than red light.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Radio waves have the longest wavelength; that’s why we use them for long-distance communication. Then, they get shorter, going up to infrared, followed by red light, up to violet, then ultraviolet and x-rays.”

Teacher: “That’s not what it said in the book.”

Me: “Regardless of what the book said, I’m pretty confident about wavelength; we’ve covered it numerous times in science classes. I could get [Physics Teacher] to check the question if you want.”

Teacher: “If you think the book was wrong, why didn’t you say something when you read it?”

Me: “I didn’t notice. I already knew plenty about wavelengths so I wasn’t paying as much attention to that section, and it always takes me half a second to remember which is shorter wavelength and which is shorter frequency. I probably wasn’t worrying enough about it to think through whether it was right or wrong while scanning over it.”

Teacher: “Well, we were testing if you learned by the book, so you need to give the answer in the book.”

Me: “But not if the book is wrong. I’m sure my answer is correct. I can get you proof if you want.”

Teacher: “It doesn’t matter. If you had a problem with the book, you should have brought it up before now.”

More than half a year later, it was the end of the year. During our last class, the teacher asked if anyone wanted to share their favorite and least favorite parts of the class. When it was my turn, I gave my favorites before moving on to my regrets.

Me: “My least favorite part is that you still don’t believe me that red light has a longer wavelength than blue light!”

Teacher: “Well, you’re in luck, then, because I believe you now.”

Me: *Hopeful voice* “Does that mean I get my point back?!”

Teacher: “No.”

Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, one point on a test hardly mattered. I still aced the class; it was quite easy compared to some of my other courses. But the sentiment of refuting the truth coming from a teacher has always bothered me.

What I found most confusing, though, was that supposedly, only one other person came to the teacher to refute the incorrect question, which implies most of the students gave the answer the teacher expected. We were all in our last two years of high school, so everyone should have had basic physics, not to mention chemistry and middle school science — courses where they learned about light. How could an entire classroom of students memorize the book’s incorrect answer without any of them realizing it conflicted with everything they had been taught previously?