Graduating To A New Level Of Stupid

, , , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: Brandilio | June 18, 2021

Back in 2013, I was a senior at a high school I had just transferred to. I had moved earlier in the year because my parents got divorced, and I made the deliberate choice to leave my old high school and move in with my dad, attending a new high school.

Normally, switching schools isn’t a huge deal, but it was sort of an abrupt move; I wasn’t able to take any of the AP classes I normally would have taken because they all had mandatory summer projects that I wouldn’t have been able to do in a week.

Additionally, a week into the school year, we were told about this stupid senior project they wanted us to do. In a nutshell, there was some acronym — IMPACT or something — and each letter represented a value of the school. They wanted us to write about how IMPACT had influenced us in our time at the school. We were then told that, should we NOT do the senior project, we wouldn’t be able to walk for graduation. Oh, no!

I heard this and thought it was stupid for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I had only just gotten there, so their dumb acronym didn’t mean anything to me. I brought this concern up to the lady telling us about the project, and her response was that I just “figure something out or don’t walk.”

Well, okay, then.

I brought it up with my dad, asked if he gave a hot s*** whether or not I walked for a high school graduation. He did not. So I just figured that I wouldn’t do the project. End of story, right?

Wrong.

You see, a few months into this senior project, they did a checkup on every senior. We just lined up in our homeroom to talk to some lady from the principal’s office and told her how close we were to being done. When I walked up, I told her that I wasn’t doing it.

Lady: *Confused* “You’re not going to do it? You have to. It’s non-negotiable.”

Me: “No, it’s not. I don’t have to do it.”

Lady: “But you won’t walk if you don’t do it.”

Me: “Yeah.”

Then we just sort of stared at each other, and she wrote my name down and shooed me away. I correctly assumed that this would not be the last interaction I had regarding this non-issue. Several weeks later, my suspicions were confirmed when I was pulled out of class and brought into the main office.

They ushered me into the vice principal’s personal office, where she made a bit of a show of pulling out some papers. She told me that the meeting was regarding a misunderstanding I may have had regarding the senior project. She was apparently told that I didn’t know what to do for the assignment and I had chosen to boycott the whole thing as a result. I quickly corrected her.

Me: “I very clearly understand what you want me to do, but I think it’s stupid and I’m not going to do it. I understand the penalty for not doing it and I’m fine with that.”

She, like the first lady, seemed confused by this course of action and just let me leave, since there wasn’t really much of a conversation to be had.

A few more weeks later, I got pulled out of yet another class for this same thing. Again, I was brought up to the vice principal for a one-on-one. When I got there, she looked like the cat that ate the canary.

Vice Principal: “So, I know you were in here a while ago, and you said you didn’t want to do your senior project—”

Me: *Interrupting* “No. I said wasn’t doing the project.”

Vice Principal: “Well, we had a chat with your mother over the phone earlier this week. She told us that she really wants you to walk at your graduation.”

I was quiet for a moment.

Me: “Um… I live with my dad.”

Vice Principal: “Right, but your mom said she’d like to attend the ceremony and see you walk.”

Me: “I don’t think you get it. I live with my dad for a reason.

If ever there were an expression that perfectly exemplified the dial-up tone, that’s the face she made. After she collected herself, I was released and headed back to class.

By this point, I was mostly just not doing the project because it was dumb. But them calling a family member to strong-arm me was crossing a line. On top of that, they tried to strong-arm me using a parent with whom I was no-contact. I decided right then that, no matter what, I wasn’t caving into their bulls***. F*** the project, f*** the school, and f*** the weird tactics they were trying to use. However, in my anger was also confusion. Why did these people care so much about one guy not doing an optional assignment? I had made myself very clear, so was that the end of it?

Spoiler: it wasn’t.

A few more weeks later, I got pulled into the actual principal’s office. The principal, for reference, was one of those guys that tried to make a show of being overly friendly and goofy but to the point where it came off as superficial. When I got to his office, he was his usual extroverted self, greeted me, and sat me down.

Principal: “I’ve heard about this whole senior project problem you’ve had going on. And I get it. Trust me, I really do; you’re new here, so our motto hasn’t had as much of an impression. So, after talking about it with the folks grading the projects, we think it’d be just fine if you had a modified project. Just do a project on one letter of IMPACT, and you’re golden.”

He gave me a big warm smile.

Me: “No.”

Principal: *Smiling* “Sorry?”

Me: “I’m not doing it.”

His smile was slowly fading now.

Principal: “But you only have to do one letter. It’s really not that much.”

Me: “Yeah, I got that. I’m still not going to do it.”

Principal: “But you won’t be able to walk on graduation day.”

Me: “Yep.”

Principal: “So what’s the issue, exactly?”

Me: “You called my mom.”

His mouth was open like he was going to say something, but I guess nothing came to mind, as we sat in silence for a good twenty seconds — him trying to formulate an argument and me staring back blankly.

Me: “If that’s everything you need to talk about, I’ll be heading back to class.”

He didn’t protest, so I just left.

It was after this meeting that I eventually got some context. Apparently, California schools will shuffle principals around every few years for some reason that probably makes sense, but I don’t care enough to research. Our principal was going to be switching schools after the 2013 semester had ended, and one of his big plans was to leave that high school with 100% participation in the senior projects that would otherwise not affect any final grade.

He used the threat of preventing students from walking at graduation to bully everyone into doing the dumb project — almost everyone. I stuck to my guns and refused to do it. And sure enough, after the deadline had passed, they made a big deal about how happy they were that 99.6% of students completed their senior projects, even though they were hoping for 100%.

And the absolute dumbest part about this exercise in stupid? After everything was said and done, I was called in one last time to the VP’s office. She told me that, despite my refusal to do the senior project, they were still going to let me walk, and they gave me five tickets for friends and family. I laughed, walked out without the tickets, and didn’t attend my own graduation.


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We’re Too Uneducated And Inexperienced To Title This

, , , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: jayda92 | May 7, 2021

When I was a teaching assistant, I used to work as a substitute teacher for very unruly classes — the classes licensed teachers wouldn’t accept. I had full responsibility and worked all hours, and my numbers showed that my class was making great progress. I just had some bad luck that caused me to not finish teaching college at that time.

Because I didn’t have my license, my boss came to me one day and told me that I was actually “too uneducated and inexperienced” to teach and that I “must have had someone telling me what to do” behind me. I told her I didn’t, but she didn’t believe me and told me she’ll be watching me like a hawk to see if I was fraudulent, changing grades and stuff.

I never did anything to my students. I’m not a cruel person and I didn’t want anyone implying that I wasn’t doing my job as expected. They all got to the next year with scores higher than we would’ve expected beforehand.

But. I started to behave like a beginner student teacher, to my boss only! I asked really stupid questions like, “How can I make my class quiet? I’m really too uneducated to know, so can you please help this teacher out by showing me?” I knew fully well that my formerly disruptive class wouldn’t ever listen to her. I called her for anything and everything: a parent wanting to talk to me, a kid who fell down and needed a band-aid… anything. I made sure to tell her I was too uneducated and inexperienced to handle such a task and I needed to observe a true pro work.

My colleagues got in on it, too. They started pointing out everything I wasn’t allowed to do but expected to do, and they told my boss that she was being very hypocritical by expecting me to do so.

In the meantime, I was discussing gamification, the need for programming and English in primary school, showing older colleagues new teaching methods and digital assistance… All the goodies.

After six weeks, my boss was done. She called me to her office and apologized to me for saying that I was too uneducated and inexperienced. She said she was renewing my contract and got some budget to pay for half of my studies.

I was happy to tell her that I gotten a new job that would pay for everything to get me my license and I would get full creative freedom… without being watched like a hawk.

This was two years ago. I almost have my license now and I still work at that awesome school that hired me after the allegations of being “uneducated and inexperienced” at my old job.

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A Mono-Track Mind

, , , , , , | Learning | May 3, 2021

In my freshman year of high school, I have some pretty bad luck with my health early on in the year. Somehow, I manage to catch strep and tonsillitis AT THE SAME TIME, so I miss about two weeks of school. I am okay for a while after the full course of antibiotics, but I start feeling sick and groggy again pretty quickly so I go back to the doctor. This time, I have mono. Not only that, but I have TWO DIFFERENT STRAINS of mono.

My school, in their infinite wisdom, says I can’t miss any more days or I’ll have to repeat the semester. Great. So I try to just power through, which is made more difficult by the fact that my first class of the day was algebra.

I’m sitting in class, nodding off HARD while trying to pay attention and take notes, pinching my arm black and blue trying to stay awake. Eventually, I decide to take a ten-second power nap to try and recharge a little bit. I close my eyes and count to one…

Teacher: *Shaking my shoulder gently* “[My Name]?”

Me: *Groggy* “Huh?”

Teacher: “Your pencil’s still moving, but your head’s been down for ten minutes.”

Me: “What?!”

I look at my desk and see pencil scribbles everywhere.

Me: “Oh, my God, I’m so sorry. I’m trying to pay attention, I swear I am…”

I frantically try to clean up the scribbles and grab the desk when I get dizzy.

Teacher: *Concerned* “[My Name], you look like h***. What’s wrong?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I have mono.”

Teacher: *Shocked* “What?! What are you doing in school? You should be at home resting!”

Me: “I’d love to be, but the office said I can’t miss any more school since I missed so much last month.”

My teacher is silent for a moment, clearly angry.

Teacher: “Put your head back down and go to sleep. I’ll print the notes for you. Do you need, I don’t know, water or something? Anything I can get you?”

Me: “I’m okay. Are you sure?”

Teacher: “I’m sure. Go to sleep.”

I thanked him and went to sleep. I genuinely don’t remember the rest of the day, or most of the recovery period, but when I got home my parents had gotten a VERY apologetic call from the office saying that I could stay home until I was better and my teachers would email me notes and assignments. Turns out my algebra teacher had gone to the office and demanded an explanation as to why one of his students was being forced to attend class when they were too ill to even stay awake and the vice-principal, who was awesome and way better than the principal, hadn’t heard about this and demanded an explanation, as well. I might hate math, but that was the absolute best math teacher I ever had!


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Get With The Times Or Pay The Fines

, , , , , , | Learning | April 18, 2021

My mother is a long-serving special needs teacher with almost thirty years of experience in the field. After serving in a number of schools, she has spent the last decade and more as an advisory teacher who travels around schools helping them to give appropriate assistance to pupils with disabilities and other educational needs. A lot of what she does involves issuing laptop computers to children who need them, something not all schools seem to understand.

She has been called out to a school that has a headmaster with rather old-fashioned ideas to assess a pupil with motor control issues. Her assessment is that he needs a laptop to enable him to complete his work. She reports this to the headmaster.

Headmaster: “Oh, no. You see, handwriting is one of our key skills here, so we will not allow him to use a computer.”

Mother: *Bluntly* “Well, then, I’ll have to report you to the Equalities Commission.”

Headmaster: *Gasping* “W-WHAT?!”

Mother: “The law says that you must make reasonable provision for pupils with disabilities. You are telling me that you are going to refuse to do that, which means I have no option but to report you to the Equalities Commission.”

Oddly enough, he decided to change his school policy there and then.

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A Tale Of Malicious Compliance And Petty Revenge

, , , , , | Learning | March 10, 2021

There once was a university that made a person dean of a school. This person was unqualified for the post, knew it, and consequently overcompensated with power trips and micromanagement.

When one person didn’t reply to one of his emails quickly enough, he instituted a rule — in a school-wide email — that all emails must have a response sent to all concerned parties, preferably immediately, but at any rate within one business day.

A humble and obedient faculty member began following the policy to the letter. Every email received had responses sent to all concerned parties within one business day. Of course, a simple “reply all” takes care of the “all concerned parties” clause. However, a non-faculty person would be surprised how many department-wide, school-wide, and university-wide emails the average faculty member receives in a day.

Within two days, said humble and obedient faculty member was receiving emails requesting, then begging, and in some cases demanding that they stop replying all to fill-in-the-blank-wide emails. In each case, the requestor/beggar/demander received a prompt reply, explaining the policy and attaching the original email.

The policy lasted approximately four more days. The new dean lasted approximately four more semesters.

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