The New Student Teacher Is A Hit!

, , , , | Learning | December 18, 2019

(I am 22, but owing to my high voice, short stature, and general babyface, some mistake me for 15 or 16. I am a student teacher at a middle school. For those who don’t know, that means that I am a student at a university earning a teaching degree, but this semester I basically intern at the school and teach a few classes, observing the teacher for the rest of them. The teacher I normally work under is on a field trip which I declined to go on, so I am shadowing another teacher for today. He doesn’t really feel the need to introduce me, though, so I am sat in the back of the classroom, and for the most part, the students ignore me. There isn’t much room to sit, so I have to sit at one of the students’ desks, which is possible thanks to my aforementioned short stature. After the last class before lunch, a — very adorable — seventh-grader and two of his friends are talking in the corner. The boy’s friends seemed to be encouraging him to do something in my general direction, and eventually, he walks up to me.)

Boy: *very shyly* “Um… I know you’re new here… and I think you’re kind of cute… doyouwanttositwithusatlunchtoday?”

(It is worth noting that I am also quite awkward and not the best at conflict resolution.)

Me: “Oh… I’m actually 22. I’m a student teacher for–”

(The boy’s face and ears grew very red indeed and he ran out of the room. One of his friends ran after him, and the other one just stood there, silently laughing like a mime’s impersonation of a hyena. I walked up to the girl and asked her to apologise to her friend from me; in between giggles, she managed to accept my plea, and I walked out of the classroom towards the teachers’ cafeteria with my face pinker than that girl’s pink highlights. And that’s the story of how I was hit on by a kid nearly half my age.)

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It’s Not As White As You Think It Is

, , , , , , | Learning | December 3, 2019

(I’m teaching a lesson on how Latin has influenced English, so the students all have lists of English words with their Latin equivalents. The students need to think about which words from Latin are directly related to English, indirectly related, or not related at all.)

Me: “Okay, what word did you choose?”

Class: “White.”

Me: “What is the Latin word?”

Class: “Albus, alba, album.”

Me: “Does that sound like the English word ‘white’?”

Class: “NO!”

Me: “Does it sound like another English word that is similar to white?”

Boy: *sitting in the back corner of the room* “Yes!”

Me: “Okay, what word is it related to?” *expecting “albino”*

Boy: “ALABAMA!”

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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.)

Teacher: “REALLY, CHRISTY?”

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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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