You Have To Be Smarter Than The SmartBoard

, , , , , , | Learning | January 19, 2021

My high school building is three stories tall and is old enough that the classrooms still have large windows that are meant to allow access to an exterior fire escape, which were removed before I got to high school.

SmartBoards are the newest must-have piece of technology in schools, so my school installs SmartBoards in every classroom during the summer before my tenth-grade year. Most of the teachers love their SmartBoards, but my tenth-grade math teacher… doesn’t. He is a severe technophobe and doesn’t even like electronic calculators, let alone computers and other “modern” technology. The school board and administration force him to accept the SmartBoard and do his best to figure out how to use it. For the first month or so, he does try really hard to get it to work, but he always ends up going back to his trusted chalkboard.

One day, our math teacher is trying to use a relatively simple drag-and-drop program on the SmartBoard but can’t get it to work, and he has finally had his fill of frustration.

First, he shouts some choice swear words at the SmartBoard, which prove ineffective in making it work the way he wants it. So he punches the SmartBoard, repeatedly, until it literally cracks and breaks.

He declares the SmartBoard broken and unplugs all the cables from it. Then, he tears it off the wall, carries it over to the window, and drops it.

His classroom is on the third floor.

He gets in a bit of trouble over it, but the school board and administration allow him to go without a SmartBoard for the rest of the year. He happily uses his chalkboard until the end of the year, and then he retires because the school wants to keep adding more technology, and he knows he won’t be able to keep up.

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Some Bosses Have No Principals

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 4, 2021

I teach high school, and I am going through an unknown medical ailment for which I am undergoing a battery of tests. This happens over text, as I’m updating my principal as to what is going on.

Me: “I’ve just finished with my spinal tap. They said I can work, but I may end up with a debilitating headache, so would someone be able to cover my class if I need to go lay down for an hour? Or should I just take the day off?”

Boss: “It’s too hard to find a sub. If you need it, we will find someone to cover your class.”

A few hours later, I get a call from my doctor. I’m told to check myself into the ER based on the results of my spinal tap. I text the principal again.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t come in tomorrow after all. I’m currently at the hospital; my doctor told me to go to the ER immediately when he got the results of my spinal tap.”

Boss: “Seriously? You know how hard it is to find subs. You’ve put me in a very difficult spot here. When will you be back?”

Me: “I can’t tell you. I haven’t been told anything besides, ‘Check yourself into the ER,’ at this point. I’m guessing it’s going to be at least a couple of days.”

Boss: “I hope you know what a terrible inconvenience this is for us. You know we have a hard time getting subs, and especially at this late notice and without any information, it’s going to be difficult to cover your time off. You’ve already taken off a good portion of this year and now you’re taking off more time?”

I recently gave birth to my first child and took maternity leave. At this point, I’m sobbing, terrified of not knowing what’s medically wrong with me, and feeling terrible for having to take off because of my boss’s comments. It takes my husband an hour to calm me down.

For the record, I wound up in the hospital for nearly a week and went back to work with an IV still in my arm for continued treatment at home. I was not sad at all when I left after that year ended. And no, my boss never so much as asked me how I was doing at any point through the entire ordeal.

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Not Just Blowing Our Own Horns Here

, , , , , , | Learning | December 31, 2020

I am a music teacher at a high school in the US; specifically, I teach the band. Due to the health crisis, all of my students sit six feet apart and use hand sanitizer at the beginning and end of the period, but apparently, this isn’t enough for some people.

One day, near the beginning of the school year, I have this conversation with the principal.

Principal: “Your students need to wear masks during class.”

I laugh and think he’s joking, because… really?

Principal: “I’m serious. You need to make them keep their masks on. It’s a health hazard.”

Me: “They can’t. It’s band. They cannot play their instruments with masks on.”

Principal: “You aren’t trying hard enough to find a solution. This is important.”

Me: “Look. The orchestra wears masks when they play. You’ve somehow convinced the choir teacher to have students wear masks while they’re singing. But the band cannot play with masks on.”

Principal: “You just need to try harder!”

By now, I’m fed up. I tell him to wait for a minute and I get my flute. I come back and take my mask off for a moment.

Me: “Listen to this.”

I play a long note and then put my mask back on.

Me: “Now listen to this.”

I raise the flute again and blow, but, to the surprise of absolutely no one with two or more brain cells, there is no sound. I see a look of understanding dawn in his eyes.

Principal: “I, uh, see.”

He walked away sheepishly.

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Just Play The Game And Get The Grade

, , , , , | Learning | December 16, 2020

Halfway through my sophomore year of high school, sometime around 2012, our English teacher leaves and a new teacher comes in. The new teacher upends the old teacher’s curriculum and leaves us all frazzled as a result. We also discover that she has some backward ideas of what makes a good presentation or report, so we all start failing our presentations, to our frustration. She decides to give us guidelines finally.

Teacher: “Your presentations aren’t exciting enough! They have to engage the audience. Use as many fonts as possible on the Powerpoint to keep attention. Use the fun fonts! The cursive ones!”

Student #1: “It’s tough to read some of those fonts on the projector, though. It’s a little blurry and the text comes out so small.”

Teacher:No. You’ve just lost the art of cursive! How many of you were even taught how to write in cursive?”

To her dismay, every student raises their hands and she sputters.

Teacher: “Well, you don’t use it enough! It is very legible on the projector; you just can’t do it anymore. You also don’t put enough words!”

Student #2: “I thought text on Powerpoints were supposed to be bullet points and short summaries.”

Teacher: “Absolutely not. How am I supposed to know what you’re presenting on? I want full paragraphs of every word you say on those slides. And you need more pictures. Fun pictures. Like those moving pictures!”

Student #3: “You want GIFs? On our slideshows?”

Teacher: “Yes! Lots of them! They’re fun. They catch attention! Speaking of, use more bright, bright colors for your text! You make all the text black and it’s just so boring; it doesn’t catch attention! Use the highlighter button!”

The rest of the students eventually stopped arguing with her and we all learned to make the absolute ugliest slideshows for only her class. One time, I included several slides in a row that were just low-quality, blown-up GIFs, as a joke, and she gave me extra credit for “really knowing how to be engaging!”

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I’m Not Sure You Can Fix This Much Stupid

, , , , | Learning | December 10, 2020

I’m taking chemistry. In an effort to motivate the class, our teacher has announced that if you turn in homework early, you’ll get extra credit points. Chemistry is not my strong point, so I start doing this to help boost my grade. She puts all graded homework in a “pickup” bin where we grab it before or after class. One day, I go to the bin and my homework isn’t there.

Me: “Hey, Mrs. [Teacher], my homework from last week isn’t here.”

Teacher: “That’s odd. I have your extra credit noted right here.”

She flips through her grade book.

Teacher: “Yep, graded and bonus points added. I probably just set it down and forgot to put it in the bin. Go start on the lab. I’ll run it over to you when I find it.”

I go back to my table and start setting up the lab. My lab partner, a known slacker, is furiously scribbling on a piece of paper.

Me: “Hey, you ready?”

Lab Partner: “Hang on. Just gotta finish the homework.”

Me: You are actually doing the homework?

Lab Partner: “You people doubt me!”

Me: “Because you never do the homework.”

Lab Partner: “I’m turning over a new leaf! Gonna try and do better this quarter.”

Me: “Wow. That’s great!”

I notice a piece of paper with very familiar handwriting sitting next to him. He looks at it, fills out a question, and squints at the paper.

Me:Hey!

Lab Partner: “This handwriting is terrible.”

Me:You took my homework!”

I reach over and grab the paper. He grabs it back.

Lab Partner: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Me: “That’s my handwriting and my name at the top, dumba**!”

Lab Partner: “No, it isn’t!”

Me: “Oh, really? Watch this.”

I raise my hand and my teacher comes over.

Me: “Mrs. [Teacher], [Lab Partner] has found my homework.”

He tries to shove the homework under his book. My teacher intercepts him and hands it back to me.

Lab Partner: “I didn’t do anything! That’s mine.”

Teacher: “[Lab Partner], are you really going to try this?”

Lab Partner: “I found it in the pickup box, so it’s mine now!”

My teacher facepalms and sighs.

Teacher: “Good grief. [Lab Partner], you get a zero. Try that again and it’s in-school suspension for you.”

She walks away.

Lab Partner: “Well, that was stupid of me.”

Me: “You think?!”

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