Biology Requires No Translation

, , , , | Learning | June 19, 2018

(It is several years ago in high school, on a small class trip from the USA to the Mediterranean. We have just arrived at the Vatican and are enjoying the tour when I notice a tiny spot on my best friend’s jeans; she has started her period, and is not prepared. At this point in her life she is incredibly shy. I discreetly point this out to her, and her face goes pale. We immediately excuse ourselves to the bathroom where she enters the stall to try and salvage what she can while I start to ask other patrons if they have spare pads or tampons. They each shake their head if they speak English, or ignore me with a sad shake of their head if they don’t. Desperate, I head out the door, and find a little Italian cleaning lady with her cart. I clearly look as though I have something to ask, so she looks at me, and I take a shot.)

Me: “Excuse me. Do you have a pad, or tampon?”

Lady: “…?”

Me: “For, um… for a period?”

Lady: *gives me an apologetic look, but still clearly has no idea what I’m asking*

(Not being as shy as my friend, I throw caution to the wind, put on the most desperate expression I can manage and point to my crotch. The lady’s eyes go big, and for a moment I’m horrified that I have offended her. She starts nodding vigorously, and laughs.)

Lady: “Si, yes!”

(Relieved, I returned to my friend with a pad, who thanked me profusely. She was mortified but amused by what I did, and she tied her jacket around her waist until we could get back to the bus and use her Tide pen. Today, I still say to her, “Remember when I broke the language barrier to save your jeans by pointing at my crotch? You’re welcome.”)

A-Mounting Humor

, , , , , , | Learning | May 4, 2018

(I am a student teacher. Today, my class is on a trip to a fire station. The RCMP — Royal Canadian Mounted Police — officer is talking about bike safety, and starts answering questions from the students.)

Student: “Were you alive in the 1920s?”

RCMP: “I’m not sure how to take that. No, it was a bit later.”

(The RCMP officer gets back to his presentation. The following remarks happen in the next five minutes.)

RCMP: “Well, back when I started policing, in the 1920s, we used horses and tractors.”

RCMP: “During the Crimean war, which I fought in during the late 1800s, we used our swords to catch bad guys. Then we would ride to the police station on our horses.”

There Is Snow Way You’re Going

, , , , , , | Learning | April 4, 2018

My teacher for Intro to Bioscience Technologies has scheduled a field trip to Genentech for his two classes in December, which my class is very excited about. But on the week of the field trip, the teacher finds out there’s only space for 40 students. He decides to let the other class period go, and reschedules mine.

Fast forward two months. The field trip is finally happening. The morning of, I wake up and look outside to see several inches of snow and ice. School ends up being cancelled, and the field trip is again rescheduled.

A month later, it’s March, and the teacher looks up the weather forecast. The weather has been perfectly pleasant for months, so we’re not really worried, even though there’s a chance of snow on Friday.

Friday morning, I wake up and see… snow. Lots of it. I check the school website, and it’s not cancelled. I live in a rural area at a high elevation, so I often get snow when most students don’t, so I have to miss school… again… on the third rescheduling of the field trip I was looking forward to. The class goes without me.

I think the universe really didn’t want me to have that field trip.

Not Quite Elevating The Students’ Impression Of Adults

, , , , | Learning | March 6, 2018

(My seventh-grade class goes on a trip to cities in our state with places significant to our state history. We are staying in a hotel that is a century old, and has the slowest elevators. Our grade has resorted to using both the service elevator and the one public elevator that works. It is the last day after breakfast and everyone has rushed upstairs to pack. There are about 15 students left waiting for the elevators, along with about six adult strangers. When the elevator finally arrives, we let the adults go first before crowding in, but one man gets caught behind us.)

Man’s Wife: “Excuse me. My husband has a meeting he needs to get to. Let him in, please.”

(We back up for him and start coming in after him. Keep in mind that with 50 of us, all 5’5” and under, we’ve crammed the whole group into the elevators the entire trip. We also have about 15 minutes left before our bus needs to leave. There are about six of us left when the wife speaks up.)

Man’s Wife: “Let my husband in. He has a meeting he needs to get to. You have nothing to do. Just wait and go away.”

(All of us were shocked, as we knew we could all fit, but the elevator left before we could do anything. Needless to say, the six of us were the last ones downstairs.)

Has A Head For Trouble

, , , , | Learning | December 6, 2017

(It is the early 1990s and we are getting a tour of a prosthetic limb plant as part of a group experience for school. Ages range from six to ten.)

Rep: “Anyone have any questions about [prosthetic]? Yes, you in the back.”

Six-Year-Old: “Do you make prosthetic heads?”

Rep: “Oh, sweetie, no. We don’t make prosthetic heads.”

Six-Year-Old: “But why not?”

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