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A Touching Conclusion

| Learning | July 26, 2013

(I go to a school where I am a misfit, and bullied for no reason. I am in a science class, and the teacher has seated me at a table next to a guy I do not know very well. We’re taking a science test.)

Boy: “MAN, stop touching me!”

(The teacher shushes him. I assume he’s not talking to me, and continue to do my test, until about a minute later.)

Boy: “MAN, [my name]! STOP TOUCHING ME, DAWG!”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Teacher: “Both of you stop!”

Me: “But I—”

Teacher: “STOP!”

(I give up and return to my test. Without fail, a minute later…)

Boy: “MAN! [Teacher], TELL [my name] TO STOP TOUCHING ME, DAWG!”

Teacher: “[My name]!”

Me: “I’m not doing anything! We’re literally on two separate ends of the table!”

Teacher: “Well, whatever you must be doing, stop it!”

(At this point, I am angry and on the verge of tears, but continue working and move further away from the boy. Two minutes later…)

Boy: “[Teacher]! [My name] KEEPS TOUCHING ME!”

Me: “No, I’m not! Are you freaking serious, dude?”

Teacher: “BOTH OF YOU, OUT!”

Me: “But I’m not—”

(The teacher calls security and a dean from the hallway, and has me escorted out. I am treated as if I am resisting. At this point, I’m sobbing so hard that I cannot breathe. The dean has me sit in the adjacent lab room so that I don’t faint. While I am in there, he speaks in hushed tones to calm me.)

Dean: “Calm down. What happened?”

Me: “I don’t know! I was sitting, taking a test, and he started screaming that I was touching him, and I didn’t! I don’t even want to touch him! We were even on two separate ends of the table! Please let me finish the year!”

Dean: “Calm down, take some deep breaths. Put your head down, and I’m gonna go talk to [classmate].”

(While the dean is gone, I hear a commotion in the classroom beside me. The dean sits us both in the room, and calls for security for both of us. Suddenly, my teacher emerges and announces there are witnesses. There, lining up to speak on my behalf, are a small group of people, a couple of whom I believed disliked me. They all tell the dean I did nothing, and there was no reason for my classmate to raise a fuss. I am not punished, but I am sent to the nurse to make sure I’m okay. It turns out, he was attempting to get me barred from a grade-wide trip, and ended up getting himself barred. Thanks to the kindness of people who had heard the worst about me over three years and ignored it, I did complete my test, and I finished the year on the dean’s list.)

His Answer Is Not Satisfactch’ll

| Learning | July 23, 2013

(The class is studying for finals in Social Studies, with groups of four to five. Two of my group members and I have old Disney songs stuck in our heads.)

Group Member #1: “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah…”

Group Member #2: “…Zip-a-Dee-ay!”

All Of Us: “My, oh my, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine, heading my way, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah! Zip-a-Dee-ay! Mister Bluebird on my shoulder, it’s the truth, it’s actch’ll—”

Group Member #3: “WHAT?!”

Group Member #2: “What is it?”

Group Member #3: “You guys just sang “Mister Bluebird on my shoulder, it’s the truth, it’s sexual!”

Group Member #1: “ACTUAL.”

(My entire group and I laugh hysterically for a minute until we can compose ourselves.)

Principal Killed The Radio Encore

| Learning | July 23, 2013

(I work as a substitute teacher to pay the bills. I get a class of talkative seventh graders who are supposed to work on an assignment. I notice there’s a radio in the room.)

Me: “Tell you what. If you agree to work quietly, I will play [popular radio station] while you work.”

Class: “Ooooh!”

(They all quiet down except for the occasional murmur, so I turn on the radio per my promise. A couple of minutes later they get stone cold silent, and I hear a voice from the doorway behind me.)

Assistant Principal: “Why is the radio on?!”

Me: “Oh, hello! I turned it on for the students to listen to after they agreed to stop talking, and—”

Assistant Principal: “Turn it off! They don’t deserve to listen to the radio. Did the teacher even say you could do that?”

Me: “I didn’t see anything in her notes. But it got them to be quiet and work!”

(The assistant principal scoffs.)

Assistant Principal: “Oh, they didn’t get quiet because of anything you did. They only got quiet because I walked in here.”

(She turns on her heel and leaves. Thanks to the assistant principal loudly undermining me in front of the class, they lost all focus and didn’t stop talking for the rest of the hour.)

Underneath, It’s All The Same (Tough) Love

| Learning | July 8, 2013

(I teach a Grade 8 class that other teachers brand as “tough” because of the students, although I get along fine with them. Note that I am gay, and my students are aware of this. Each day, I start with a “Youtube of the Day,” where they can show a video to the class as long as I okay it. One morning, one of the “tough guy” kids comes up to me.)

Tough Guy: “Can I show my video this morning?”

Me: “I haven’t seen it. You know you have to send it to me first.”

Tough Guy: “Please? It’s a music video. I really want to show it, and I know you’ll like it.”

(Note: this student is really into rap and hip-hop, and has sung some songs before that are a little off-colour.)

Me: “I shouldn’t be doing this, but okay. Please tell me it’s appropriate.”

Tough Guy: “It is. I promise.”

(He proceeds to load up the video. It turns out to be the music video for “Same Love” by Macklemore, song whose message is to stand up against homophobia. It is a beautiful video.)

Tough Guy: “I told you you’d like it.”

Tough Guy’s Friend: “That was for you, Mr. [my name]!”

(The class cheered and I cried. I love those kids so very much!)

This Trick Is In A Class By Itself

| Learning | June 28, 2013

(It’s April Fools’ Day. My class decides to put a handwritten note saying “Do not enter! Water damage!” on the door before the teacher arrives.)

Teacher: “Water damage? What water damage?”

Student: “Didn’t anyone tell you about the leaking pipe in our classroom? Looks like we can’t have class today.”

Teacher: “Bummer! I guess we could all go to the cafeteria and have class there.”

(The whole class heads to the cafeteria and we can hardly hold back our laughter on the way there. We’re about to sit down when one of the lunch ladies speaks up.)

Lunch Lady: “Ma’am? What are you doing there?”

Teacher: “There’s a leaking pipe in the classroom, so I figured we could have class here.”

Lunch Lady: “Ma’am, what day is it today?”

Teacher: “April 1st. Why? Ohhh!”