When Teachers Fail

, , , , , | Learning | March 21, 2019

One of the assignments in my seventh-grade language arts class is to memorize and perform a monologue in front of the class. The teacher says that, after the in-class performance, we can volunteer to perform against the students from the other Language Arts classes, with the teachers as judges. I’m into theater and confident in my acting skills, so I’m super excited about this.

To start, the teacher brings us to the school library so we can pick a monologue from a specific list. I latch on to a specific monologue at first, but when I present it to the teacher she tells me, “Oh, I don’t know… I just don’t think that one would be a very good monologue if you want to compete.” I’m a little put out, but I pick a different monologue, which she approves.

Now, for whatever reason, the “monologue talent show” ends up scheduled on the same day as a major seventh-grade field trip. To save on time, the teachers decide to hold the competition just before the field trip so they can immediately load everyone onto the buses afterward.

Between a lack of spare money and my lack of interest in the trip, I don’t end up going. Unfortunately, it’s my math teacher who takes me to the class I’ll be staying with that day. When I try to tell her that I’m supposed to be in the library for the competition, she just says, “No, you’re not,” and shoos me inside. Between being autistic and being somewhat socially anxious, I just roll with it.

A week passes. There’s no talk about the monologues, and I’m too afraid to bring it up; I figure the teachers would tell us if we were getting another chance to perform them. Then, just before handing out a test, my language arts teacher lists off the students who were judged best in our class.

I manage to finish the test, but I can’t let go of the fact that I’ve basically been screwed out of competing for no reason. By the time I finish, I’m in tears and another student has to flag down the teacher for me. She takes me out into the hall, where I shakily explain what the problem is.

She apologizes and tries to calm me down, saying it was an honest mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.

And then, she adds something to the effect of, “You know, the speech you chose probably wouldn’t have been very good to present, so you probably wouldn’t have won, anyway.”

Yes, I should have spoken up earlier. Yes, a school competition is a pretty small thing for a twelve-year-old to be bawling over. Yes, I know the teacher meant well. But if a child is that upset over something, how the h*** is saying, “Oh, you had no chance, anyway,” supposed to be comforting in any way? After I had changed my speech specifically because I wanted to compete?!

At the very least, the math teacher who screwed me over had the sense to own up to her mistake and move on.

We’re Meeting At Gettysburg – You Got The Address?

, , , , , , | Learning | February 16, 2019

(We’re learning about the Civil War.)

Student: “So, how did the two sides always end up at the same place? Did they, like, call each other on the phone and say, ‘Hey, you want to fight at Gettysburg tomorrow?'”

(Pretty sure that second part was facetious. It was a valid question!)

“Can” You Be Any More Obnoxious?

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 11, 2019

(I am a girl in seventh-grade shop class. My teacher is quite rude and we butt heads frequently. He’s especially rude about girls going to the bathroom and about our general competency around the class. I raise my hand.)

Teacher: “Yes?”

Me: “Can I go to the bathroom?”

Teacher: *smirking* “I don’t know. Can you?”

Me: “Actually, I was using the secondary definition of ‘can’: to request permission. I thought that since you’re soooo smart you would know that.”

(I got locked out of the classroom for ten minutes when I came back from the bathroom.)

BMI = Bad Model For Increase

, , , , , | Healthy | January 7, 2019

(At the end of seventh grade, I am sent home with a letter from the school nurse stating that my BMI is too high, I’m therefore overweight, and I need to be seen by my pediatrician. My pediatrician tells my mother that since I am extremely active, my diet is healthy, and my weight gain is obviously due to an impending growth spurt, to not worry about the weight for now. Over summer break I grow five inches taller. At this point, I’m looking rather scrawny, as it happens when children have large growth spurts. When school starts back up, I get called back into the school nurse’s office. She starts questioning me as to whether everything is all right at home, how is school, am I making friends, am I getting bullied, etc. She finally gets around to the point that she believes I have an eating disorder! I start laughing.)

Me: “Are you joking? I weigh 150 pounds! You said I was fat three months ago!”

School Nurse: “There is no way you weigh 150 pounds. You’ve obviously been starving yourself to get thin. It’s not healthy to do this to yourself.”

Me: “I’m a runner and play other sports. I grew five inches taller over the summer. I haven’t lost any weight. Got a scale? I’ll prove it.”

(I got on the scale and, lo and behold, I actually weighed 155 pounds. The school nurse thought there was something wrong with it and weighed herself. She weighed me again and realized that it was correct! She couldn’t resolve in her head that at 5’4” and 155 pounds I looked underweight due to my muscle mass versus body fat percentage. She called my mother, at which point my mother yelled at her to stopped harassing me about my weight or she was going to the principal over it.)

They’ll Figure It Out In Time

, , , , | Learning | December 12, 2018

(In eighth grade, my class decides to pull an April Fool’s Day prank. I go to a small private school that is pre-K through eighth grade, and our class only has about twenty of us. We also have a bit of a reputation as troublemakers. Most of us arrange somehow to be at school early on the morning of April 1st. If you arrive at school before eight, you are supposed to check yourself into the daycare facility, but they don’t really care if the older kids do or not, plus kids rarely arrive early, anyway. All the teachers hang out in the office and teacher’s lounge at this time of the morning so the whole school is basically empty. We split into pairs and go through every classroom, the library, the music room, the computer lab, etc., and steal every single clock. We meet in the cafeteria where we hide them all in a storage closet behind some chairs. By the time we are done, other students have begun to arrive, and we act as though everything is normal. Early in the day, our teacher has a bemused look when she looks to see the time and the clock is missing. Shortly after, another teacher wanders in, looking at where the clock should be, before returning to her room, but nothing is said about the missing clocks. I assume a search is conducted at some point in the day once they realize all the clocks are gone. A half-hour before school lets out, our teacher is in the middle of giving a lesson when we hear the secretary’s voice over the speaker.)

Secretary: “Will the students who took the clocks please return them? If all the clocks are back in place by the time school lets out, there will be no punishments.”

Our Teacher: “Just go.”

(She gave up on her lesson and went to sit at her desk. Half the class stood up and walked out of the room. We did return all the clocks by the end of the day and no one was angry. The principal even chuckled about it.)

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