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Really Drumming This One Home

, , , , , | Learning | September 17, 2020

This story starts at the beginning of the first semester of my senior year. I take a music appreciation class that semester which everyone just calls “the Beatles class” because that is the band the teacher focuses on the entire semester. I had this teacher my sophomore year, as well; I took a drumline class with him where he eventually asked if I would join the school band — he was the band teacher. Originally, I was interested in it, but I later changed my mind. He did not like that.

Fast forward, back to my senior year. I miss a test due to a doctor’s appointment. The next day, I go to him to see when I can make it up.

Me: “[Teacher], I wanted to see when I could make up my test?”

Teacher: “Will you be in the [School Production] this weekend?”

Me: “Yes, I will be performing.”

Teacher: “Then don’t worry about the test right now; focus on your performance. Come see me next week to discuss when you can make up the test.”

Me: “Thank you, [Teacher].”

The weekend goes by and so does my performance. It is now Monday morning. I walk up to my teacher to discuss the test.

Teacher: “You have a test that you need to make up!”

Me: “Yes, that’s what I wanted to discuss with you.”

Teacher: “You need to come to see me after school today to make up for your test!”

I do not have my license and can’t get a hold of my parents to pick me up later because cell phones are not allowed.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I won’t be able to make it up today. Can I take it tomorrow after school?”

Teacher: “Fine.”

The next day after school, I walk to his classroom and find that he has left for the day. He does not mention anything about the test later on and I end up completely forgetting about it. Fast forward again to finals. I am talking to a friend before the bell and the teacher comes up to me.

Teacher: “You have a test to make up in my class. We had a date set and I waited until 4:00 but you never showed up.”

Me: “I was there before 4:00 and you weren’t there.”

I can tell that I’ve caught him on that one.

Teacher: “You will need to take your test after your final.”

Me: “Can’t I take it before my final with [Special Education Teacher I work with]?”

Teacher: “No, you have to take it with me after your final.”

Me: “Okay.”

As you can tell, I was fed up with this and it didn’t make sense to me that I had to wait until after my final to take my test. I finally got my mom involved, who sent him an email to try to get an understanding of what was going on, especially with him refusing to let me take the test with my special education teacher; my IEP states that I get extra time on tests and I get to take my test in a different classroom.

He did not budge with his decision so I finally got my special education teacher involved. He sent my music teacher an email telling him that I would be taking the test in his classroom before my final.

I finally took my test, but because it had been so long since we went over that lesson, I did not know any of the answers. That didn’t matter, though. Just by turning it in that test, it brought my grade up to 95%. Because my grade was 95%, I no longer had to take his final.

I think the thing that annoyed me the most about the whole situation is that it took a male teacher to help me with another male teacher because the teacher would not listen to his female student or her mother. I also truly believe that this was his revenge for me not joining the drumline.

Finals, AKA The Professor Olympics

, , , , , | Learning | July 21, 2020

The university I used to work for actually printed the diplomas for graduation as opposed to mailing the diploma to the student later. That meant that all seniors had to have their finals in by Tuesday of finals week, and it was a thing. This important deadline was drilled into the faculty’s heads, and everyone knew they had to grade their seniors first.

And every year, our college staff would take bets on which professor would be the last to get their grades in. This betting pool was a decades-long tradition. As far as my coworkers knew — one of whom had been with the university for over thirty-five years — it had been going on for at least fifty years and probably longer. As the newbie, I thought this was ridiculous, but it was also entertaining after a long, crazy semester.

During finals, we always scheduled a full complement of student workers ready as runners to find the outlier professors. Yes, we would literally send students chasing after professors on campus! My colleagues told me in the 1970s a student worker had to go sneak onto a golf course to find a professor who hadn’t turned in his grades and drive him back to campus to turn them in.

Then, one spring, we had an outlier who was a graduate student. That was a big problem because he didn’t have an office or an office phone, and his student email was full. We called up his department for his info. Nothing. We got his cell phone from his student file. Nothing.

Then, one of our student workers found him on Facebook and messaged him. He had the grades posted within twenty minutes and apologized profusely. Apparently, he fell asleep after his own finals. Ha!

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.

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.)

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.”