Sounds Like Some Bullying Bull To Me

, , , , , , | Learning | November 30, 2019

(I am the small, quiet kid in school. One day, a known bully walks up to me out of the blue and throws a punch. I go down instantly, and the bully then proceeds to kick me and swagger off. I hear the monitor blow their whistle and chaos erupts. I end up in the office with a bloody nose, a lot of pain, and… a three-day suspension from school.)

Me: “But he threw the punch and kicked me while I was down!”

School Official: “[My Name], you were in a fight. It doesn’t matter who threw the first punch–“

Mom: “Excuse me… The bully did this in front of multiple witnesses, all of whom said [Bully] attacked my daughter, kicked her, and walked off. My daughter was completely the victim.”

School Official: “[Mom], we have a zero-tolerance policy for fighting in this school. That means that if you’re in a fight, you get punished.”

Mom: “So, what you’re saying is that [Bully] can beat up whoever he wants, knowing that his victims will be punished just as severely as he is. You realize that you are reinforcing his bullying, by then bullying innocent children on his behalf.”

School Official: “Ma’am, it is not bullying to enforce a policy against fighting.”

Mom: “If the policy punishes the innocent, then it absolutely is bullying.”

School Official: “I’m not going to argue with you any further. Your daughter was in a fight. She’s suspended.”

(My dad taught me how to defend myself, and my mom told me that regardless of what the school said, I was not in trouble with my parents. I ended up staying in a large group of friends, which helped protect me from the bully, but every year I attended that school, bullies would pick fights, and the victims would be punished, too. The zero-tolerance policy did not stop fights; it just taught kids that if they were going to be punished anyway, they might as well earn it. Fights got a LOT messier before I graduated.)

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This Tale Is Maud-lin

, , , , , , | Learning | October 31, 2019

(At Halloween, my seventh-grade social studies teacher is reading us scary stories from a book he apparently hasn’t read himself. This story deals with a woman who shows up for church, but something seems wrong.)

Teacher: “’Christy slipped into a back pew. She didn’t recognize anyone else in the congregation. Finally, she noticed kindly old Maud Flemming. She smiled at her. “Wait,” thought Christy. “Maud died last month.” Christy began to feel a little nervous…’”

(The teacher pauses.)


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Not United In Their Definitions

, , , , , | Learning | October 29, 2019

(My seventh-grade history teacher spends about two weeks teaching us world geography. She starts off by having everyone find out where our ancestors came from, and then she posts our pictures on a world map with strings pointing to our nations of origin and the year our families immigrated to America. Then, we do basic exercises with every continent. The final project of the unit involves using latitude, longitude, and rulers to find out where we are in the world and where we are going based on coordinates. If you are in the USA, you have to name the state. If you are in Canada, you have to name the province. If you are anywhere else, you have to name the country. I do this assignment successfully, except for the last question. I follow the coordinates and wind up in London. I write “England” as my answer and turn in the sheet.)

Teacher: “It’s not England. Do the calculations again.”

(I try again, this time ending up in the Irish Sea, so I write “Ireland.”)

Teacher: “It’s not Ireland. Do it again. Remember, you’re looking for a country.”

(I try yet again, and again I end up in London. This time, I write “Great Britain.” My classmates are also struggling with this question. The teacher keeps telling us we’re looking for a country. As a class, we come up with England, Britain, Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as possible answers. All of these are wrong.)

Teacher: *fed up at this point, addresses the class as a whole* “The country you are looking for is the United Kingdom.”

Classmate: “Is that actually a country?”

Teacher: “Yes.”

(On the actual geography test later that week, the UK is the correct answer for “Which country is London in?” My school system is very small, with only one middle school and one high school. The middle school has maybe three teachers per core subject per year with fewer teachers for the elective classes. This means a third of the student body population has this teacher tell them the UK is a country. Two years later, in ninth grade, I’m taking a required world geography class for my history credit that year. We go into much greater detail than we did in seventh grade. When we reach Europe, the teacher starts off with this:)

Geography Teacher: “Who in here had [Seventh-Grade Teacher]?”

(Almost half the class raises their hands.)

Geography Teacher: “Right. I’m going to tell you this now. The United Kingdom is not a country. I know what she told you, but she’s wrong. Please do not write down the UK as a country on tests.”

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Let’s Hope This Problem Doesn’t Repeat Itself

, , , , , | Learning | October 28, 2019

(I’ve always been very nerdy and a lot of my friends have also been nerds, which is not always easy on our poor teachers. When I’m in middle school, my friend and I come to our science teacher to resolve something we’ve been arguing about for almost two days straight.)

Me: *walks into the classroom with my friend* “Hi, [Science Teacher].”

Science Teacher: “Hey, [My Name], hey, [Friend].”

Friend: “Can you answer a question for us?”

Science Teacher: “Sure. What’s your question?”

Me: “If you cloned yourself, would that clone be more like your sibling or your child? I think it’d be more like your child and [Friend] thinks it’d be more like a sibling.”

Science Teacher: *looks at us, clearly questioning the sanity of these two little nerd girls* “Probably sibling, since they’re still a mix of your parents’ DNA.”

Friend: “I told you!”

(I still wonder what exactly was going through his head when we asked that question.)

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They’re Really Desperate To Get People Into Writing Club

, , , , , , | Learning | October 15, 2019

(I am a middle school teacher. We have announcements every day at the end of school. The principal is making an announcement about our new writing club and this is what I hear:)

Principal: “Do you like writing or kind of like writing? The join our writing club! Join others to create short stories, p*rn, and other fun things!”

Me: “WHAT?!”

Students: “Poems. She said poems.”

(The students definitely heard the same thing I did, too. The principal might want to enunciate a bit more!)

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