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Positive, feel-good stories

Maybe More Kids Would Enjoy Math With More Teachers Like This

, , , , , , | Learning | June 3, 2022

As a little kid, I was such a geek that I actually enjoyed math, and since my parents were often doing math with my older sister, I picked up some things by listening in on them. One of those things I learned ahead of my class was the impressive feat of adding a whole three numbers at once!

But when it came time for the class to learn the same thing, they didn’t add the numbers right — at least that’s what young me thought. Our teacher taught us to add all numbers in the ones column, then the tens, etc. By contrast, I’d always added the numbers by adding the first two and then writing the third number under the sum of the first two and adding those. The way I had learned seemed less error-prone. I mean, adding three whole numbers in your head at once — who could possibly manage such a feat?! So, I chose to ignore the way our teacher was teaching it and keep doing things the way my father had taught me.

Then, one day, the teacher had multiple problems written on the board and she called four or five students up to solve their problems at the same time in front of the class. I was on the far end, away from the teacher, but I was worried that she would catch me doing things the “wrong” way, so I did things my way, put the answer, and then hastily erased my work so she wouldn’t see how I did things.

She wasn’t having any of that. When she got to me she agreed that the answer was right but insisted that I needed to show my work. So now, I got extra attention as she made me redo my work in front of the class with her watching me as I did my math “wrong”.

I was honestly expecting a scolding for not doing things the way she had taught us. Instead, she acted surprised and asked me to explain my “complex” logic for how I was doing the work to the class. She told me that was a good way of doing things and actually said she was fine with kids doing math however they wanted if they got the right results.

Come our next math test, we were asked to add numbers the way she had taught us, but the very next question asked us to add the same numbers “[My Name]’s way.” She continued to encourage kids to learn both ways, and I was proud to have a whole way of doing math named after me!

It’s only later as an adult that I can fully appreciate how refreshing it was to have a teacher willing to encourage kids to solve problems their own way rather than insisting we all stick to the officially taught way of doing things. Thanks for being flexible, Ms. [Teacher].

A New Spin On Man Versus Machine

, , , , , | Friendly | May 31, 2022

Many years ago, while moving from Texas to Florida, my family and I pulled into a gas station for a break. We were driving a twenty-eight-foot moving truck, so getting in and out of places was very hard. As we tried to pull out of the gas station and rejoin traffic, no one would let us in.

Finally, a man on a motorcycle sped in front of us, stopped, and got off his bike, holding out both arms to stop traffic so that we could get out.

It was like something out of a movie, and it was a very cool move on his part!

This Teacher Passes The Compassion Test With Flying Colors

, , , , | Learning | May 25, 2022

Like a lot of high school students, I suffered from test anxiety. A lot of teachers don’t understand how bad it can be for some kids, but my history teacher does.

We’ve just taken the first big test of the year in my American History class, on the American Revolutionary War. I know I bombed the test because of my anxiety, so I’m feeling pretty down the rest of the day and all that night. The next day, my history teacher shows a movie so he can work on getting our tests graded because he wasn’t able to finish them all overnight.

Throughout the class period, I watch my teacher quietly talk to several kids at their desks. I assume he’s giving them their test scores, so my anxiety and panic are growing each time my teacher gets out of his chair. Finally, it’s my turn. My teacher gets up and walks over to my desk.

Teacher: *Quietly* “Hey, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Teacher: “You have a Study Hall next period, right?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Teacher: “If I write you a note for your Study Hall teacher, would you be able to come over here to talk about your test?”

Me: “Okay.”

Teacher: “Thanks. Here’s the note. See you later.”

With that, he heads back to his own desk. I start panicking because I think he’s going to chew me out for doing so badly on the test, and the rest of the movie is just a blur. The period finally ends, and I head to Study Hall, show my Study Hall teacher the note, and head back to my history teacher’s room.

Teacher: “Hey, welcome back, [My Name].”

I’m almost in tears because I’m panicking so much.

Me: “Hi.”

Teacher: “I see that you’re uncomfortable, and I’m sorry I couldn’t explain more during class. Do you have test anxiety?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Teacher: “I thought so. You always seem to know your stuff during discussions, so when I saw your test score, I wanted to reach out and give you a better chance. What can you tell me about the Battle of Saratoga?”

Me: “Um… what?”

Teacher: “I just want you to think of this as a regular discussion, okay? Don’t worry about being wrong or making guesses; just tell me what you think.”

We proceed to have a conversation about some of the important events and details of the Revolutionary War. After talking back and forth for about twenty minutes, with me getting more and more comfortable the entire time, my teacher finally brings things to a close.

Teacher: “Well, it’s obvious that you really do know your stuff, so I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. On the paper test yesterday, you only got a score of thirteen percent. I’m guessing that’s because of your test anxiety, so, based on talking today, I’m going to throw that out and give you an eighty percent score. You’re missing some of the important details, so I can’t give you a perfect score, but you got all the big-picture stuff spot on. Are you okay with that?”

Me: “Absolutely! Thank you so much!”

Teacher: “You’re welcome. I still want you to do your best on the paper tests, but if you have a hard time with them, talk to me and we can do things this way again. Deal?”

I found out that my teacher did something like this for all the kids who had test anxiety – that’s why he was talking to everybody during the movie after the test. Not only did we all get better grades overall, but we even got better at taking paper tests because it took away a lot of the pressure of worrying about our grades.

By the end of the year, our history teacher was everybody’s favorite teacher. He also tried to help other teachers find similar ways to work with students, but not every teacher was willing to go along. I wish they had because that would have made high school a lot better for me and a lot of other kids. As it was, he was kind of the shining beacon in a world of darkness.

I know he’ll probably never read this, but I know that he knows how much my classmates and I appreciated his efforts, so thanks again, [Teacher].

An Un-Toxic Work Environment!

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 24, 2022

I work at an independent insurance agency. We are allowed to disconnect abusive calls, and the agents and owner will fire clients if the behavior is repeated. We are asked to give at least one warning before disconnecting; I give two.

We have recently hired a new customer service agent. She has many years of call center experience. She has been doing pretty well on the phone and has started taking calls solo. I follow up with her to make sure the files are noted properly after her calls. I’m reviewing some of her notes and notice she has in the notes that a client yelled and cursed at her.

I pull the call and listen to it. It’s vile. She kept trying to tell the client she was trying to help him, but he was yelling over her and cursing up a storm. He finally hung up on her.

I immediately notify the client’s agent and send him the call recording. I then ask the agent to come to my office.

Me: “Hey, I saw the notes from [Client]. Are you okay?”

Agent: “Yes, I’m okay. I’m sorry, I tried to calm him down and help him but…”

Me: “No, no, no, don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. I know I mentioned it when you started doing solo calls, but I want to reiterate that you do not have to put up with that kind of behavior.”

Agent: “You were serious?”

Me: “Absolutely. I ask you to give them at least one warning; it’s up to you if you want to give more. If they continue to be abusive, tell them their agent will be in touch and hang up. Let the agent know and they will take care of the issue.”

Agent: “I can seriously hang up on people?”

Me: “Well, not for random reasons. But if they are inappropriate or abusive, absolutely!”

Agent: “That’s amazing. We weren’t allowed to hang up on anyone at the call center. No matter what.”

Me: “That’s one of the perks of having an awesome owner. We don’t tolerate abuse.”

I love my job and my boss. Even though it can get stressful, knowing the agents and boss have our backs makes a massive difference.

It’s Unusual To Find A Place With A “Usual”

, , , , , , | Right | May 24, 2022

From the time I was about ten until I was about nineteen, I’d walk to the chippy (fish and chip shop) every week and bring home dinner for my family of four. I was given a £20 note every time for the £14.20 order. Over the years, I’ve become a regular to the point that when I enter, they ask if I want my usual.

Today, my aunts are visiting and the oldest has come with me to choose what she wants.

Me: “You have to look at this list first because if you want any of those you need to order them now and not when we get to the front of the queue, but other than that, it’s like normal.”

Aunt: “Okay.”

She looks at the menu until we get to the front of the queue. I’m chatting a little with [Employee #2] who’s cooking as per usual.

Employee #1: “Usual?”

Me: “Yes, please, and also [what Younger Aunt wanted], please, and also… Aunty [Aunt], have you decided yet?”

Aunt: *Still looking at the menu* “Yeah… I’ll have… [item from order early menu].”

Employee #1: “That’s gonna be about a twelve-minute wait for [item]. Is that okay?”

Aunt: “Yeah, yeah, that’s fine.”

She stops getting the rest of the order ready, because it would have gone cold. I’m a little uneasy because the queue is longer than normal today so we’re already going to be late, but my aunt is an adult and I’m still just a teenager so I don’t say anything. After the wait, the food is ready.

Employee #1: “All right, that’s [lists everything], yeah?”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

Employee #1: “Okay, so that’ll be £22.40.”

I look at the £20 note I have taken out of my pocket and am about to give to the employee, which is very much less than £22.40. I’ve never had this situation before and have no clue what I’m supposed to do now. I completely freeze up for a few seconds.

Throughout the following conversation, I’m stuttering, my aunt doesn’t butt in, and [Employee #1] is giving [Employee #2] looks that I don’t know how to interpret.

Employee #2: “That twenty all you have, love?”

Me: “Sorry. I didn’t—”

Employee #2: “Hey, don’t worry about it. Just pay it next week.”

Me: “But I don’t have—”

Employee #2: “No need to panic, love. I’ll explain to you what we’re gonna do, ‘kay?”

Me: “Okay.”

Employee #2: “You’ll give us that twenty and we’ll give you this food, ‘kay?”

Me: “But—”

Employee #2: “Then, you’re gonna go on home and enjoy your dinner, yeah.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Employee #2: “Then, next week, you’ll come here, and you’ll pay that two-forty along with what you get, ‘kay?”

Me: “Okay…”

I come home to a lecture about how late we are and how I should have told my dad I’d need him to give me more money. I vaguely hear my aunt having a conversation with her sister about why she didn’t chip in.

Next week, I take £2.40 in coins along with the £20 note and hand them over first.

Employee #3: “What’s this?”

Me: “Um, they’re for last week.”

Employee #3: “Last week?”

Me: “It’s the two-forty, um, that I owe for last week.”

Employee #3: “I don’t…” *Turns to face the back* “[Employee #2]!”

[Employee #2] comes out of the mysterious room behind the counter.

Employee #2: “Yeah? Oh, hey, love. How you doing?”

He’s too far away for me to pass him the coins, so I very awkwardly wave with them.

Me: “I have the, um, the two-forty.”

Employee #2: “Yeah! I knew you were good for it.” *To the back* “I told you she was good for it!” *To me* “Usual?”

Me: “Please.”

It wasn’t until I discovered this site that I realised how rare this was.