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It Really IS The Magic Word!

, , , , , | Learning | November 23, 2021

I walk into class to see several classmates gathered around the teacher’s desk. There are several packages of animal crackers on the desk, and my classmates are trying to cajole the teacher into letting them have some. After a few moments of consideration, I decide to make an attempt, as well.

Me: “Could I please have some?”

The teacher promptly grabs a package and hands it to me. My classmates are shocked and begin whining, begging, and so on. I just eat my crackers happily while I listen in on their further attempts to get some for themselves. One classmate pauses for a moment.

Classmate: “Could I… please have some?”

The teacher handed him a package. Because of the way that classmate had emphasized the word “please,” the others quickly figured out that the way to get the crackers was to ask politely, and soon the teacher had handed them all out.

Your Snores Serve To Prove A Point

, , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2021

I was told the details of this conversation after the fact.

Math Teacher: “I don’t really care how much you pay attention in class so long as you display an understanding of the material on homework and tests. Take [My Name], for example; I don’t think I’ve seen them actually awake in this class, but they’ve got an A. Isn’t that right, [My Name]?”

I snapped out of being half asleep.

Me: “Huh?”

Math Teacher: “Exactly.”

A Blue Label Has This Scot Seeing Red

, , , , , , | Learning | November 13, 2021

This happened when I was a new high school teacher. Our school had close to 2,000 students and I’m guessing eighty or so teachers. There was one department (geography) that had two teachers: the head, who was a tall, gentlemanly Scandinavian fellow, and the other guy, who was a 5’5″ Scot with a short temper and a hugely inflated sense of his importance. [Scot] was what my own Scots parents would call a bumptious twit: smarter than everyone, loved the sound of his own voice and, what’s worse, treated the school secretaries like a lower form of life. When we had our bi-monthly staff meetings, he was one of those who insisted on dragging things out with stupid questions, points of order, and such, while not realizing that most everyone there just wanted to get out and go home. Not a good way to make friends.

It happened that the geography department head took a semester-long sabbatical to take a few courses, which left wee [Scot] as the acting department head. Everyone was going to know about this. In the main staff room, there was a wall of drawers where all our mail, memos, and so on were placed. Each was labelled with those old-style plastic labels — the ones where you spun the dial, clicked to emboss the plastic strip, and then did the peel and stick thing. Everyone had a blue label except for department heads; theirs were red. The first thing [Scot] did was go around the back and make himself a red label because he was now important.

I would usually arrive early, pick up any mail, and book it up to my department office — new guy always has to get the coffee ready. One day, an older teacher stopped me.

Teacher: “Hang on, take a seat. This will be fun.”

About ten minutes later, [Scot] came in, looked at the blue label on his drawer, and stood there vibrating like his head was about to explode. He tore the label off and ran out into the hall and through the door into the office area behind the mail drawers. We could all hear a frantic “click, click, click” as he made a new label. He stormed back in and put his new RED label on his drawer, stood back, gave it a nod, and then left.

There were some smug looks of satisfaction but nobody laughed out loud.

Teacher: “The first person in always puts a regular blue label on [Scot]’s drawer, and then we all sit back to enjoy the fireworks. We’ve been doing it for weeks just to get back at him for being a d**k for so many years.”

The Anticipation Is Usually Worse Than The Shot

, , , , , | Healthy | November 10, 2021

In Year Eight, all the girls in my school had to have what we called the “cancer jab”, which was administered during school hours. Logically, I knew I needed this jab to vaccinate against something and that not having it would be bad, but emotionally, I was a wreck.

I’d never had a jab without my dad present before, and on the day of the jab, I found out they weren’t using the painkiller cream I was used to. Combined with a rather severe phobia of being “stabbed” by needles — thanks, egg donor — and the rumours going around about the pain and numb arms other students were experiencing, I was not exactly looking forward to my class being called for ours.

Eventually, the time came, and we were led to a room of the school we had never been in before. There was a row of chairs and nurses, and they were calling out names in alphabetical order, which meant yet more waiting because my name was in the middle. I was trying not to watch the others get their jabs and trying to convince myself that I was not going to freak out. I had it all sorted out in my head. I was going to sit in that chair, the jab would magically just happen without me freaking out, and then I could leave.

This plan fell apart the moment I sat down. The nurse had to ask me questions rather than psychically knowing I had this phobia and wanted to just be stabbed quickly so I could leave. I answered all the questions, albeit kind of curtly, despite not seeing the point in most of them. Like, I was twelve; of course I wasn’t pregnant. Why would you even ask that? In hindsight, I know that all the nurses were kind and professional and non-judgemental the whole time, but Kid Me didn’t understand that yet.

After what felt like an eternity, the nurse asked if I was ready for the jab. Nope, I am not ever going to be ready to be stabbed, thank you very much. This question pretty much started me spiralling into a meltdown. Most of what happened next was a big fuzz of panic in my memory until my best friend came over and held my hand. Her class was called sometime after mine and she walked over after getting her own jab, so I’d been here a while.

Another nurse came over and tried to talk to me, and the first stood quietly far too close, and my friend was trying to be reassuring, and I “knew” I was being watched by all of the other students and maybe the other nurses, even though I couldn’t focus on them to check if they were actually looking. It was all far too much, but at least I could vaguely see and hear by then, even if the time between hearing words and understanding what they meant was far too long. The nurses also occasionally spoke to my friend, but I couldn’t focus on what they were saying.

I kept getting asked if I wanted the jab and I kept choking out that this was very much the opposite of what I wanted but I knew I needed to have the jab, though nowhere near as eloquently. Eventually, the other nurse told me that they could not force me to have the jab, but if I didn’t have it, then they’d have to tell my dad that I’d refused it.

I did not want them to tell my dad. I was supposed to have this vaccine, so refusing it was a bad thing to do. I didn’t want my dad to know I was being bad because that would lead to lectures and not being allowed on the game consoles. So, I managed to pull myself together enough to stop rocking while one nurse held my arm still and my friend kept her grip on my hand. And then, while my eyes were squeezed shut and looking in the opposite direction, the other nurse administered the jab.

It didn’t hurt as much as it should have. I still felt it, so I know I had the jab. But it confused me because there was supposed to be so much more pain. I knew what needles felt like; I had memories as recently as five years earlier where the entire memory consisted of pain and hurt and dread and screams. This couldn’t be over yet. I kept asking the nurses if it was really done, and they were all reassuring smiles and sent me on my way.

Someone asked my friend to escort me to room F11. There were quite a few autistic kids in our school, so we had a couple of rooms just for us, and this was one of them. My friend was allowed in with me even though she usually wasn’t, and we just sat there together until I’d calmed down and then talked until the school day ended.

Thankfully, my general phobia of needles has lessened to the point where I haven’t freaked out this bad in years, though my phobia of the specific kind of needle the egg donor used is still bad enough that I cannot physically say what kind it was.

If This Teacher’s Not Careful, He’ll Be History

, , , , | Learning | October 28, 2021

This story takes place in the early 2000s. It’s the first day of school, and I make it to my first class with a few minutes to spare, so I choose my seat and set myself up comfortably to be ready as soon as possible when class actually starts. The teacher comes in, greets us, and begins the lesson. After a couple of minutes, I raise my hand.

Teacher: “Yes?”

Me: “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here. My schedule says I have math, not history.”

Teacher: “Oh, that class was moved. But I’ll let you stay if you can change the homepage on my computer. Right now, it’s set to [sexually explicit URL].”

The class all burst out laughing, but I knew how to do what he was asking, so I sat at the computer and brought up his web browser. Sure enough, it opened to [sexually explicit URL]. Much to several classmates’ disappointment, it displayed nothing but a “page not available” error. I showed the teacher how to change his homepage and then I went back to my seat and zoned out for the rest of the class. I made it to the rest of my classes just fine and was given directions to my math class.