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And Now It’s Stuck In Our Heads Again. Great.

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 1, 2022

I work as a behavior interventionist. Basically, I observe certain students’ behaviors and come up with ideas to help them be successful in school. I then implement the plans (once approved) and collect data so the school can track progress. I love my job, and seeing the progress students make is incredible. It also happens to be shortly after the song “What Does The Fox Say?” has gone viral.

The student I’m working with now has unintentionally deceptive body language. The same body language could be signs of a bunch of different things, and it’s my job to figure it out.

The science teacher rented a bunch of animal pelts and the students have the option to touch/examine them. They can choose not to, though. The student I’m focusing on might be fine, might be shutting down, might be stressed about the dead animals, might be about to blow, or might just want to draw. This kid is an enigma.

A wonderful child notices their body language, and instead of drawing attention to them and asking, “Are you okay?”, they begin petting the fox pelt and say, in the same way as the song:

Wonderful Child: “What does the fox say?”

Then, the kid drops their happy attitude.

Wonderful Child: “Nothing, the fox is dead.” 

My kid BURST out laughing, and I knew all was well.

That strategy of making a joke to test a student’s mental state is a tool I use now. I have to be careful, of course, about the time, place, and person, but it works! 

Thanks, random kid!

We Wish That Poor Child The Best Of Luck

, , , , | Learning | April 15, 2022

When I was in junior high, I went to a fairly small private Christian school. For the most part, it was a good experience, with the exception of one teacher. She recognized that the principal was a very kind but very passive man who like to give second, third, and seventeenth chances. This teacher took advantage of this, teaching less and less, playing favorites, giving grades that made no sense, etc.

Parents complained, but the teacher was young and the principal was an overly kind old man convinced that with one more chance, she would shape up. Finally, after she gave some twelve-year-old girls advice on how to sneak out of the house at night and ways to hide cigarettes, parents had had enough and convinced the principal to fire her. But even then, he decided to let her finish out the term.

With about two months left in the school year, she announced that she was pregnant. All of her favorites were thrilled and talking with her in class.

Student #1: “Congratulations! What are you going to name it?”

Teacher: “We don’t know yet, though I should probably name it ‘Insurance’.” *Laughs*

Student #2: “What do you mean?”

Teacher: “Well, a lot of parents think I’m too honest and are trying to get rid of me. But there is no way [Principal] is going to fire a pregnant woman!”

It turned out she was right and she was back the next year. A lot of parents decided that if she was coming back, they were not, and enrollment dropped significantly the next year.

If You Fall Asleep, You’ll Have A Cow

, , , , | Learning | November 9, 2021

My sixth-grade English teacher was one of my most favorite teachers that I’ve ever had. I’ve always loved reading, so I always looked forward to quiet reading time in class, especially since she let us bring our own books. One of her quirks was that she threw cows at people. That is not a turn of phrase; she had a basket of little plush cows on her desk, and if you were sleeping or goofing off in class, you could expect to be bonked with one. It was hilarious and probably not something she could get away with today.

When I read at my desk, I liked to sit forward with my head tilted down and my chin resting in my hand. My eyes are heavy-lidded, so it can look like they’re closed when my head’s tilted down or forward.

One day, during quiet reading time, I was sitting this way and I noticed [Teacher] looking at me out of the corner of my eye. I ignored it until I saw her frown, shake her head, and reach for a cow. I realized she thought I was asleep a split second before the cow was launched — and her aim was DEADLY.

Without thinking, I took my chin from my hand, caught the bovine projectile one-handed, put it on my desk next to me, and resumed my reading position without lifting my eyes from my book.

Teacher: *Clearly startled* “Oh! I thought… Well then, my apologies. Cow withdrawn!”

I laughed and kept reading. Seriously, I loved Mrs. H so much!

Adorning Yourself With Malicious Compliance

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: TandyAngie | November 16, 2020

Our junior high dress code is a pain. Most teachers don’t care so long as kids aren’t distracting. The principal of the junior high, however, insists on enforcing every single rule.

A friend of mine wears a long-sleeve shirt under a tank top.

Principal: “You cannot wear that tank top; tank tops are against the dress code. Please take it off.”

Friend: “I can’t take off the tank top; the long-sleeve shirt is slightly see-through.”

That’s another violation. Instead of allowing her to simply wear the tank over her long-sleeve shirt, the principal sends her home.

I decide this won’t stand. I study every rule in the dress code to prove how stupid it is. I start off small and work my way up.

Dress Code: “No open-toed sandals.”

This one is easy. I wear open-toed high heels. There’s nothing in the rules against high heels, and the open-toed rule only applies to sandals the way it is written.

Dress Code: “Shirts must be tucked into pants. Belts must be worn through belt loops.”

I knock out two here by wearing a skirt. Skirts, or at least the one I wear, have no belt loops and aren’t considered pants so I am not required to tuck in anything or wear a stupid belt.

Dress Code: “Backpacks must be plain-colored with no pins or excessive accessories.”

I pick up a briefcase from a resale shop and slap it with every sticker I can find. Any random logo or inspirational sticker I have laying around gets slapped on it. Technically, a briefcase isn’t a backpack.

Dress Code: “No costumes allowed.”

I verify this; my school considers a costume to be anything only worn for a certain period of time or for a certain reason. If you wear it all day, it is an outfit, not a costume. I abuse this one so badly. Once a week, I dress up as a lawyer, a clown, a hippie, a Shakespearean actor, a superhero, a cameraman, etc., complete, of course, with as many accessories as I can handle. So long as I never take them off — this makes gym class interesting — they aren’t considered part of a costume. I end up letting classmates pick out what I will dress as each week.

Dress Code: “No crazy hairstyles.”

I keep my hair natural colors, and I keep the styles something that was at least popular at one point. The beehive takes forever but is the most satisfying. I give myself bonus points if I can find pictures of adults who are still wearing their hair like that currently.

Dress Code: “Shirts are not allowed to have logos or print, only patterns and consistent designs.”

“Consistent designs” is my loophole here. No print, fine, but consistent print made specifically to look like a design? At this point, the principal is going mad and she doesn’t let this one slide. She insists I change, which I expected.

Dress Code: “Gym shorts must reach students’ knees or as long as their fingertips.”

Guess whose fingertips reach about three inches below her butt? Me! I go from wearing a shirt that says, “Bite me!” all over it to an outfit that includes short shorts. But my shorts are still longer than my fingers. I even offer to change back into my other clothes.

At this point in the year, we are almost done with school. Other kids are following my lead, and we are driving the principal mad. I decide to kick it up a bit further. I attack what should be the most basic rules.

Dress Code: “No sunglasses.”

Rose-colored glasses aren’t considered sunglasses because you can easily see through them. Still, the principal jerks them off my face and insists that I won’t get them back until the end of the day.

Dress Code: “No tank tops.”

I wear a dress with spaghetti straps. It isn’t a shirt, so I’m not breaking a rule.

Dress Code: “Belts must be plain with no dangerous materials.”

Plain it must be, so plain I go. I wear a shoestring as a belt. I wear a braided yarn string as a belt. I even wear a spandex band sewn to my pants as a belt.

Dress Code: “No Crocs.”

Crocs are not the only rubber shoe, my friends. I find every off-brand Croc I can get a hold of.

Finally, at the end of the year, I wear one of my most outrageous outfits. I wear a see-through dress — like a bathing suit cover-up — over leggings and a shirt that barely classifies as a T-shirt. I wear shoes with a four-inch cork heel. I have on fake glasses — no lenses — and a four-inch-wide headband. I wear bangles up to my elbows and anklets on each foot. I have a box to carry my books in that is decorated with blinking battery-powered fairy lights. I walk right up to the principal and give her a smile.

Kids pause to see what will happen. I wait to see what the principal will say. We’ve had this conversation all year. She will point out the rule I “broke” and I will prove that I haven’t done so.

Principal: *Sigh* “Fine, but if even one teacher says you’re distracting to the class, you change clothes.”

We shake on it. The only thing I have to ditch is most of the bangles; they keep clanging while I write.

In the end, I ended up getting the dress code rewritten and amended, and the principal implemented a new procedure where dress code violations did not result in being sent home; they were noted and students had to wear a piece of duct tape indicating the specific violation. If you forgot a belt, you put a piece of tape on a belt loop.

Kids only started to get in trouble after three dress code violations in the same week. Since she lightened up on the dress code and how harshly it was punished, she stopped having trouble with kids breaking it all the time. It worked out for everyone.

Related:
Malicious Compliance, One Gram At A Time
Unloading Some Beautiful Malicious Compliance
REALLY Malicious Compliance
The Currency Of Malicious Compliance

A Teacher Devoid Of Common Sense

, , , , , , | Learning | July 1, 2020

A very long time ago — in the 1970s — I was taking a general science course called “Physical Science”. This was a required course, so the classroom was very large and packed full of students, most of whom were only present because it was required.

The instructors of two adjacent Physical Science classrooms frequently opened up the temporary wall between the classes and held joint class sessions, especially when reviewing material for examinations. The instructors had very different teaching styles; [Popular Teacher] was popular with students and always cheerful, while [Strict Teacher] was very formal and was widely reported to have never smiled. 

Even in my early teens, I was very interested in science. I frequently read science and engineering journals at the school library — which irritated the head librarian as those journals were intended for the teaching staff. As a result, I was usually bored to tears in the Physical Science class. The material presented was intended for a general audience of people unfamiliar — and often uninterested — in science, specifically to give students a basic understanding of what science was. I was enrolled in [Strict Teacher]’s class and often clashed with him when he put out material from the required curriculum which was outdated and/or inaccurate. 

“There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas,” [Strict Teacher] explained.

“Excuse me, Mr. [Strict Teacher]?” I interjected. “I read an article in Scientific American which says plasma is a fourth state of matter.”

“I read the same article,” the teacher explained, “but I have to teach what is currently in the course textbooks.”

Since I was usually right, we would have a brief discussion in class about the new information which hadn’t made it into the course materials, and my grade never suffered for challenging his authority.

[Popular Teacher], on the other hand, did not enjoy being questioned by students. He was popular with most of his students because he encouraged those with no interest in science to tease and mock those who wanted to learn. Oddly, [Strict Teacher]’s students tended to have higher test scores in all manner of scientific subjects than the students in [Popular Teacher]’s classes.

During one of the joint class sessions, while discussing scientific terminology, [Popular Teacher] mentioned that the suffix “-oid” was used to describe something similar to the root term. A couple of students asked about hemorrhoids, which [Popular Teacher] said didn’t count. Another student asked about asteroids, at which point [Popular Teacher] began to mock the students questioning him, calling them “nasty kids.”

[Strict Teacher] went rigid with anger, because [Popular Teacher] was belittling students who were at least interested in the material, encouraging their uninterested classmates to bully them. Because he was unwilling to confront [Popular Teacher] in front of the students and thereby diminish [Popular Teacher]’s authority in the classroom, [Strict Teacher] held his tongue, but he looked annoyed.

I raised my hand, and [Strict Teacher] called on me.

“Excuse me, Mr. [Popular Teacher],” I said. “’Hemorrhoid’ is a medical term adding the ‘-oid’ suffix to the Greek word for ‘vein’. ‘Hemorrhoid’ basically means, ‘little vein.’ So that was a valid question.”

“All right, smart guy,” said [Popular Teacher]. “What about ‘asteroid’, then?”

“Also valid,” I confirmed. “’Aster’ is the Greek word for ‘star’, so ‘asteroid’ means ‘little star’.”

[Popular Teacher], slightly taken aback, just said, “Okay, whatever.”

As [Popular Teacher] tried to get his lesson back on track, I noticed [Strict Teacher] turn quickly away from the class… to hide his smile.


This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

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