The Brains Are Out The Window

, , , , , | Learning | February 24, 2021

I have diabetes and have to take insulin. In high school, I have to stop by the nurse’s office in order to take it, since all medicine must be stored there. We all call the nurse’s office “the clinic.”

One day, I have to stop by the clinic for insulin just before history class, but I know it won’t take long. The history teacher is known to be cool, and since I’m a good student, I know he will be fine with me being a couple of minutes late. I ask my best friend to tell the teacher that I’m in the clinic when she gets to class. 

Friend: “[My Name] is in the clinic.”

Teacher: *Staring* “The dog barks at midnight.”

Friend: “No, [My Name] is in the clinic.”

Teacher: *Eyes narrowing* “The crow flies in from the north.”

Friend: “Mr. [Teacher], you’re not listening! [MY NAME]. IS IN. THE CLINIC!”

Teacher: “The ship has arrived in the harbor?”

Friend: “My friend, [My Full Name], is currently in the clinic with the nurse so that she can take some insulin! She is going to be a couple of minutes late and asked me to tell you! She’s fine; it’s that just someone brought cupcakes in English and now she has to take insulin because she ate one!”

Teacher:Oh! I thought you were speaking in code! We are going over espionage in World War II today, and I thought you were just trying to really feel the subject material! I never submit the attendance until the end of class, anyway, so she’s fine. Thanks for telling me!”

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These Freshmen Are Jumping In With Both Feet

, , , , , | Learning | February 22, 2021

In my freshman World Literature class, one of our units is “1001 Arabian Nights,” not an uncommon choice of study for a high school.

Many of us are surprised by the book’s inciting incident: a king finding out about his queen’s affair, losing all trust in women, and taking a new bride every night only to have her executed the next morning before she can be unfaithful to him. The book is built on the premise of one bride continually telling him stories, causing her death to be put off just one more night until he no longer wants to kill her.

The king finds out about his wife’s affair because he discovers her in their bedroom with a stable boy who is holding her veil, deeply shocking for the original Muslim audience of the early Middle Ages.

Students in the class each have to have their own copy of the book; however, we are confused by the teacher’s unusual strictness about exactly which version of the book we need to purchase. When we ask about this, she tells us this story.

One day, my teacher saw one of her students looking oddly at his book, face pale and eyes wide. He looked like he was about to faint. Before she could say anything, he got up from his desk, shuffled over to her, and squeaked.

Student: “Uhh… Mrs. [Teacher]? Are you sure this is the right book?”

He showed her the page he’d been looking at. Skimming the text, my teacher found what had prompted him to ask the question: a passage about the king discovering the affair, with a long and explicit description of the queen’s state of undress.

The next time she taught that unit, she made sure everyone knew EXACTLY which version of the book to get.

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You Know What That Is? Growth.

, , , , | Learning | February 15, 2021

In the early 2010s, I was in high school taking a math course. It was the first class of the day and we had a really wonderful, punctual teacher. One day, she didn’t show up, no teachers came into the room, and after forty minutes — much to the anger of twenty other teenagers — I went to alert the office, worried something had happened to her.

The teacher was fine, but I became the center of horrific bullying in that class as a few of the students got in a lot of trouble for their actions while we were not supervised. Some of my favorites included shoving, spitting on my homework, and throwing plastic Easter eggs with slips of paper in them at me — the eggs were for a fun math game — hard enough to crack the plastic and bruise.

Most of this was led by this super senior; she was held back her senior year and was in her fifth year of high school. This bully went out of her way to make sure I was miserable that entire semester, and she was the reason I hated Easter eggs for years.

Fast forward to 2019, nearly a decade later. I am at a bar with two friends and my long-term boyfriend. The friends grew up around here but moved away years ago and are just in town to visit and catch up with people. A lot of people are coming to our booth to say hi and catch up with all of us. One of them is a woman a year or two older than me, covered in tattoos. She looks sort of familiar and is super thrilled to see [Friend].

I guess she thinks I look familiar, too, because she squints at me a little and finally asks if we used to go to high school together. After a few seconds of trying to remember where we know each other from, her face lights up with excitement. 

Woman: “Oh, yeah! We were in [Teacher]’s class together!”

Me: “Oh, yeah. You were the b**** who threw plastic Easter eggs at me.”

Cue deafening silence from the table. [Woman]’s face runs through a whole range of emotions, from shock, to remembrance, to horror, to complete embarrassment. [Friend] is glaring at her angrily; she’s heard the story before and is connecting the dots. My boyfriend looks like he might kick her out of the bar himself and our other friend is just shocked. 

Suddenly, [Woman], with all the charisma and emotions of a drunk woman, reaches out and takes my hands, her eyes tearing up.

Woman: “Oh. My. God! I have been trying to find out where you were for years! I am so, soooo sorry for everything! I was so unbelievably horrible to you and took out so many things on you, and it wasn’t until I got older that I realized how terrible I was! I was such a b**** to you and I’m so, so, so, so sorry!”

I don’t know what I expected, but it was not that. I just tell her it’s cool and it’s in the past; we were dumb kids and we can move forward now. Her whole face lights up again. 

Woman: “You are like, totally, seriously the best, Egg Girl! Besties! Can I put this on Insta?”

We never became friends, but I did let her take a selfie of us to “confess her crimes” online, and for the next year until the health crisis closed down the bars, we would occasionally run into each other out on the town. She would stop everything just to point me out to her friends and go, “That’s Egg Girl! I threw plastic Easter eggs at her in high school. I was suuuch a b**** to her!” 

Life is like a bunch of plastic Easter eggs; you never know what you’re going to get, I guess.

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One Day When The Prayin’ Is Done, We’ll Take Our Leave And ROCK!

, , , , | Learning | January 29, 2021

I’m chatting with a classmate I don’t know very well and the talk turns to music.

Classmate: “So, what kind of music do you like?”

Me: *Nervous laugh* “It’s pretty weird.”

Classmate: “It can’t be that weird. Come on!”

Me: “I like sea shanties and just about anything Celtic, but my favorite band is Canadian Christian punk rock.”

He takes a moment to consider this.

Classmate: “Most of the time, when someone says they have weird taste in music, it’s not actually that weird, but yeah, that is out there.”

He was so curious as to what the punk rock band would sound like that I played him a snippet of one of their songs. I may have made him a punk rock convert.

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Okay, But What TIME On Friday?

, , , , , | Learning | January 21, 2021

I am a teacher at a college preparatory high school in the USA. We have returned to on-campus learning but occasionally students will need to remain home in quarantine due to the current health crisis. Our school uses Google Classroom and I do everything I can to provide support for our students. Some though, need more help than others.

I receive an email.

Email: “[Student] has added a private comment on the assignment: ‘Activity Guide due Friday, January 16.’”

I click to view the comment.

Student: “When is the project due?”

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