I Have A Couple Of Adjectives I Could Call You Right Now

, , , , , | Learning | August 4, 2018

(I play football in high school. One Friday, due to an away game, I have to miss my English class for the day. My teacher hands me a worksheet with the assignment she gave in class. The work sheet says to pick a “word” that begins with the first letter of our last name — F in my case — and write a paper about how that word defines part of our lives. Given my age and location, football is a very large part of my life — takes a lot of my time and has taught me a lot of lessons — so I write my paper on that word. On Monday we are to present our papers, what word we chose and why.)

Me: “…and that’s why I chose the word I did.”

Teacher: “Well, [My Name], that was a well-written piece, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to take off half of the credit since you didn’t follow directions.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Teacher: “The assignment said to select an adjective, and ‘football’ is not an adjective.”

Me: “But the sheet you gave me just said, ‘word,’ not, ‘adjective.'”

Teacher: “Raise your hand if you understood the assignment as I gave it.”

(The rest of the class who were in class on Friday raise their hand in agreement.)

Teacher: “It seems everyone else was able to understand the assignment just fine. Perhaps you’ve taken too many blows to the head playing that game.”

(I ended up getting the fifty, despite my complaints to both her and the principal.)

Misread The Teacher’s Knowledge Level

, , , , , | Learning | June 27, 2018

(I am a teacher’s assistant at the department of mechanical engineering, teaching mainly an intro-level mechanical design course. As the course is rather difficult — especially given that it is taught to first-year students — it is common for them to do assignments together, in small groups, then hand them in individually as per course requirements. One semester, however, there is a student that does so well that it becomes a habit for him to do assignments soon after they are posted, and then share them with all the other students in the course, at least as reference material. While it is strictly against the rules, I willingly ignore it, as he does help the whole class to do better — but of course I can’t tell the class that I know what’s up… At least until I have to make the following announcement at the beginning of one lesson, after returning the assignments and reviewing common mistakes with the students.)

Me: “Guys, I know that this course isn’t simple; I know that you do the assignments in groups, and I’m quite used to seeing the same odd mistake pop up in several people’s assignments when grading them.”

(I then look directly at that excelling student, and continue:)

Me: “But guys, if all of you are going to base your work on one student’s solution, at least make sure that that one student didn’t misread the question!

(Cue laughter and that student’s face turning beet red.)


Totally Wade Wilson Worth It

, , , , , , | Learning | June 18, 2018

(This happens in college. I’m doing some homework in my dorm when my friend and roommate comes in.)

Friend: “Hey, do you want to see the movie The Witch with me tonight?”

Me: “That’s the horror movie that just came out, right? Sure. You wanted to see it?”

Friend: “A little, but the professor for my mythology and folklore course said we can get extra credit if we go see it, so it’s mostly that.”

(That night, we head to the movie theater. When we get there, I see a movie poster on the wall of the building for “Deadpool,” a movie we’ve both been very excited to see, and see that the release date was over a week ago.)

Me: *pointing out the poster* “I didn’t realize Deadpool was out already.”

Friend: “Me, either. Huh.”

(We go inside to wait in line, since we haven’t actually bought our tickets yet. Inside, there’s another very large poster for “Deadpool” that we can see from the line. After waiting in line for a couple minutes, my friend turns to me.)

Friend: “Hey, [My Name].”

Me: “Yeah?”

Friend: “Do you want to see Deadpool, instead?”

Me: “I was hoping you’d ask!”

(Needless to say, my friend did not end up getting the extra credit, but she had no regrets about watching “Deadpool,” which we both greatly enjoyed!)

Time To Assay The Essay Situation, Part 10

, , , , , , , , | Learning | June 3, 2018

(A couple of middle-aged ladies are in charge of the program I am in during senior year of high school, where I am one of 15 to 20 seniors selected to be allowed to take all classes that year in the local community college and get those credits for my diploma, in addition to being transferable to my university. These ladies are also in charge of advising us on college applications, etc. At the very beginning of the program, during the end of junior year, while we still have a full load of classes and work, they assign us “homework” to do a full-page “introduction” essay on our personal and educational background and what we expect to get out of this program. It’s not for any real grade; it’s just for their convenience in “counseling” us. I type up the entire page, and literally after finishing the last word, my computer crashes and loses all the work. I’ve spent two hours just on this essay, after doing other homework; it’s now late at night and I’m exhausted. There’s no way I can redo it. I can handwrite three to four times faster than I can type, so I write out the entire essay from memory, in as decent handwriting as I possibly can, so I can finally go to bed. I hand in the essay the next day, and the day after, the ladies return them. Note that they never stated it had to be typed, and this is a couple decades ago when handwritten homework was commonly accepted.)

Lady #1: “[My Name], why ever did you handwrite this? Essays should be typed.”

Me: “I did type it, Ms. [Lady #1], and after I finished the whole page, my computer crashed and lost all of it. It was late at night and I just wasn’t able to retype the whole thing. I know essays should be typed.”

Lady #1: “Yes, but you should have typed it. Essays should be typed.” *looks at me expectantly in confusion*

(I think maybe she just didn’t hear or understand what I said.)

Me: *patiently and very clearly* “I understand, Ms. [Lady #1]; I know essays should be typed. I did type it up. I typed up the whole entire thing. At night, after finishing a lot of other homework I had to do. And then, after I finished the whole entire page-long essay, my computer just crashed. Completely. And the entire essay was lost. It just vanished. The computer ate it. It was quite late at night and I was exhausted; it was unfortunately just not physically possible for me at that point to type the whole essay all over again. So I rewrote it by hand, since that’s a lot faster for me. It was an unfortunate, one-time necessity due to circumstances beyond my control.”

Lady #1: “Yes, I get that; but, [My Name], submitted essays are supposed to be typed, not handwritten. You should have typed it. ” *again looks at me expectantly like she’s still utterly bewildered and has not understood a single thing I said*

(I then understand this cycle will repeat forever if I say anything else… and that she appears to be missing her brain. I quietly head-desk behind her back and die a little inside. In the middle of senior year, they’re advising us on writing our college application essays. They’ve offered to review them for us before we submit them.)

Lady #2: “You can write the essay on any topic you want; it just has to match the application requirements, but really, you have all the creative freedom you could want.”

Me: “So, can you give just a vague idea of what kind of topic it should be?”

Lady #2: “It can be absolutely anything you feel like writing about. It should just show that you’re a good writer and have good grammar, and something like an example of you learning something useful from something that happened to you; any real experience or made-up story is fine.”

Me: “So, it really can be just absolutely anything? You’re sure? There’s not any certain types of stories that you, as a long-time advisor, would say it’s a better idea to write the essay about? Like, if I give you a general idea of what I want to write about, and you let me know if it’s okay?”

Lady #2: “No. There’s absolutely nothing that’s preferable. It can be any topic whatsoever. Any life event. Anything you just feel like writing about, as long as it shows the elements we discussed. There is absolutely no need to ask me to approve it first. Go wild, [My Name]!”

(I work on the essay diligently for nearly a week; I make sure it shows my decent-quality writing and good grammar, and I put in a real effort to show I learned useful things. It’s mostly on the topic of something that happened very recently, so it is fresh in my mind and seems a very obvious choice: how an acquaintance asked me on an outing with him and then just never showed up with no explanation. I discuss how I was first very disappointed but learned from it not to rely on obviously unreliable people, not to waste a lot of time waiting around or even be disappointed over mostly inconsequential events, to trust my gut feelings, and to not agree to activities I didn’t actually even want to participate in with a person I don’t trust that much just because he asks me and whines and pressures me, etc. I proof and reread the essay; I make sure it sounds good and has every component it should have, and submit it for review. A few days later, the ladies return them and give us face-to-face feedback.)

Lady #2: *with an extremely confused look* “[My Name], I just don’t understand your choice of essay at all. You wrote about a boy? Who stood you up for a date? And? Where is the point? I just mean, it seems to have no real point at all. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t really seem to be the right sort of topic. I mean, it just doesn’t seem to have any clear point to it, or any important conclusions or learned life lessons, or a cohesive story. I just don’t get your choice of topic at all, frankly… I’m just really confused… This just isn’t the suitable sort of topic you choose for college application essays.”

Me: *head-desk*

(I rewrote my essay on something else, mostly fuelled in the effort by my sheer rage at these women completely wasting my time. No, the topic wasn’t about them, though maybe it should’ve been. It wasn’t that different in essence, though; they were different events, but still about experiencing disappointment as a teen and dealing with it productively. I DIDN’T let them read my new essay before submitting the apps. I was accepted into very good colleges, nearly everywhere I applied.)

Time To Assay The Essay Situation, Part 9
Time To Assay The Essay Situation, Part 8
Time To Assay The Essay Situation, Part 7

Getting To The Heart Of The Story

, , , , | Related | February 12, 2018

(As part of my advanced English course, I am writing a short story. I turn to my father for tips and advice; he is fluent in English and an avid writer himself.)

Father: “I like it, but your main hero is too perfect. Believable characters need some flaws.”

Me: “He is not perfect. He suffers from extremely fragile bones and is in constant pain.”

Father: “Uh… What was his name again?”

Me: “Sydney Hart.”

Father: *perfectly calm* “So… Your story is basically about achy, breaky Hart?”

Me: *long pause* “Okay, Percy Hamish it is. Also, I hate you, Dad.”

Father: “You are welcome, honey.”

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