Sometimes Winging It… Works

, , , , , | Learning | May 22, 2020

Back in high school, I was the type of student who procrastinated and often did my homework at the last possible minute.

One day in class, at the end of the week, we were put into pairs, given an opinion on a topic, and then told we’d be debating for our opinion in two weeks, as another group had gotten an opposite opinion on the same topic. During the following week, we were to research our topic, find points to argue for our opinion, and together plan some sort of strategy. Every group had been given a few papers on their topic, but it was up to each group to find out more.

Unfortunately, I got a cold for a week and a half and stupidly did not look up anything, as I completely forgot about the assignment. Come Friday, upon entering the classroom, my mind was flooded with the memory of papers shoved into the bottom of my bag, my partner and I sitting together, and the deadline of today, the second of two weekly lessons with that teacher.

I more or less rushed over to my partner, asking her if she’d found anything, and her face said it all; she also hadn’t looked anything up. After asking around, we found out that we and our opponents would be the last to debate; everyone else got done during class earlier that week.

Fishing up the papers from two weeks before, we began hastily scrabbling for any information that would stick to our brains, when we looked up and saw the other group looking through their papers, pointing at some words, and discussing with each other. It was at that moment we knew we were screwed, and that our teacher would probably reprimand us for not doing anything.

Eventually, our teacher entered the classroom and everyone took a seat. She asked the two remaining groups to come up, and we solemnly made our way to one of two tables set up in the front of the classroom, ready to get an a**-kicking and a stern lecture on doing your homework.

The topic we’d been given was about prenatal care, and more specifically about screening pregnancy; my partner and I were for screening, while the other group was against it.

We both realized they had studied the subject, and they more or less took the lead in the debate. We did our best trying to lift up our opinion with what little we’d managed to remember from our short read-through, but we knew it would eventually turn into us going in a circle, repeating the same facts.

I somehow got into how a screening might tell if a fetus was at risk for a birth defect, which then delved into abortion, with them strongly making their case that abortion was bad, and thus screening was bad. It was then, when I knew we had nothing else left, that I pulled this line out of my a**:

“I’m not saying I stand for abortion, but I stand for women to have the choice and chance to prepare for a baby who might be born with a defect.”

That apparently threw them off, because they just stared silently at us and had nothing to say back.

We got a little applause from the rest of the class, and our teacher asked the class which one of the groups the rest of our classmates thought had made the stronger case on the topic, and they actually picked mine and my partner’s, pointing out my line as the “winning argument.”

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Presenting A Confusing Climate

, , , , | Learning | May 21, 2020

During my junior year of high school, my school decided to invite a scientist of some sort that studied the effects of climate change to come to talk to all of us. Sounds cool, right? That’s what we all thought, especially since they took up an entire class period’s worth of time for it, but we were all so wrong. This presentation went wrong on so many levels.

For starters, I’m not sure where the presenter was from, but he had a very thick accent and monotone voice and that, combined with the echoey-ness of the gym my whole school was crammed into, meant that we could barely make out a third of what he was saying.

Second, of the words we could understand, a lot of it was jargon that was quite a bit above most of our high-school brains and he had complete paragraphs on his slides you could barely read from a distance that also used a lot of the same jargon.

The most interesting part of the presentation was when the guy’s slides stopped working and IT had to come out to troubleshoot.

The next day, the administration apologized to us and praised us for being so good throughout the assembly. I’m still honestly not sure if they realized half of us fell asleep during it, which is why we were so “good.”

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The Real-Life Cookie Monster

, , , , , | Learning | May 17, 2020

This happens during our first “remote learning” class meeting with our statistics teacher after the quarantine starts. She’s trying to explain how things are going to go when she’s interrupted by her six-year-old daughter. We can only hear our teacher’s side of the conversation.

Teacher: “What? No!” *Back to us* “Sorry, guys. [Daughter] wanted to have cookies for breakfast.”

Classmate: “Oh! I had cookies for breakfast!”

Teacher: “NO! DON’T TELL HER THAT!”

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“Patient Presented With Symptoms Of Not Being Dead”

, , , , , | Healthy | May 15, 2020

In gym class, we are learning how to check our pulse by placing our index and middle fingers on the carotid artery, on the neck to the side of the windpipe. The teacher is having the class run laps and take our pulse.

My friend is having a hard time finding her carotid artery and can’t take her pulse. She approaches the gym teacher for help. The teacher tries to find her carotid artery on her neck.

Teacher: “I don’t know… Go see the nurse.” 

Friend: “Seriously? I have a pulse. I’m fine.” 

Teacher: “Well, I can’t find it. Go see the nurse.” 

My friend reported to the very puzzled school nurse who confirmed that she did, in fact, have a pulse and helped her find it. I sometimes wonder if that nurse had to keep medical records for students, and what on earth she wrote for that patient encounter.

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You Can’t Even Escape Essays In Physical Education!

, , , | Learning | May 13, 2020

Due to an ongoing sickness, I miss more than half of the whole year’s PE classes. While I am obviously excused and not written down for skipping class or anything, my teacher still pulls me aside a few weeks before we get our final marks.

Teacher: “Listen. With the little time you’ve been in class, I can’t properly grade you. The school requires a certain amount of participation in class, and we don’t have homework or exams to get points in PE, either, so right now you’re at about 20%. That’s a failing grade.”

Me: “Uh, okay. Is there any other way I can make up points for missing class?”

Teacher: “I really can’t think of anything sensible. All I can do is give you a topic to write a paper on, and enter it as participation into the system.”

Me: “I can do that; I like writing papers. What topic?”

Teacher: “Uh, volleyball.”

Me: “Just… volleyball?”

Teacher: “Yeah.”

Me: “Like, the history of it? Professional volleyball? What?”

Teacher: “Just volleyball.”

Me: “You mean how to play?”

Teacher: “Yes, sure, let’s do that.”

I wrote a five-page paper about How To Play Volleyball, which meant I basically copy-pasted the rules of volleyball and drew some diagrams of the field and player positions. My teacher loved it and actually used it as a guideline in future classes doing volleyball.

The year after, I missed most of PE again because of my sickness, and I was given yet another topic to do a paper on — basketball this time. Rinse and repeat for my entire high school career. No one at the school ever thought about maybe excusing me from PE entirely, since it was a required class and there was no option for me to have any other class as a replacement.

I ended up graduating with a rather mediocre but acceptable grade in PE, having barely done any sports at all. I kind of feel like the school’s grading system never considered how to actually grade physical classes.

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