In China, Buses Come Fully Equipped!

, , , | | Learning | August 24, 2019

(I work in an overseas school teaching English. I also tutor after school. I am working with one of my students one afternoon.)

Me: “What did you do on Saturday?”

Student: “I went swimming on Saturday.”

Me: “Very good. What else did you do?”

Student: “I took a bus.”

Me: “Where did you go on the bus?”

Student: “No, I took a bus.”

Me: “Yes, where did you go?”

Student: “No… I took a shovel!”

Me: “Okay… What did you do with the shovel?”

Student: “I got clean.”

Me: “Say again?”

(She was trying to say, “bath,” and, “shower.”)

This Student Is Just On Fire Today!

, , , , , | | Learning | August 22, 2019

Some years ago, when I was in seventh grade — ages 13 to 14 — we had physics and chemistry as a combined course. One day, we were all sitting in the lab while the teacher was talking. Suddenly, we all heard a “woosh” and people screaming. One of the boys was apparently bored and had built a small bonfire of matches, doused it with turpentine, and set fire to it! The flames were huge but thankfully died out quickly with a little help from the fire extinguisher. 

Everyone was thankfully okay, but one girl got some of her long hair burnt off, and her T-shirt had no back anymore. It was the only time my class got sent home early.

The girl had to get a bob haircut to save her hair. The boy’s parents had to pay for the haircut and a new T-shirt. The boy had to sit at the teacher’s desk every time we had physics/chemistry from then on. When asked why he did it, he just stated that he was bored and didn’t know how much damage he would cause. The burn mark from the fire was still on that table when I graduated.

Outlapped Your Thinking

, , , , , | | Learning | August 19, 2019

(I’m in eighth grade when my class gets a very young, inexperienced teacher. Since this is a small school, he teaches several of our classes. One of the classes he has to teach is PE. I do not like this teacher or gym class.)

Teacher: “All right, we’re doing volleyball today. I’ll break you into teams. Losing teams will run laps.”

Me: “Why do the losing teams have to run laps?”

Teacher: “Because it means they’re not trying hard enough.”

Me: “Even if both teams do their best, there will still be a loser. Why punish them for something out of their control?”

Teacher: “Go play with your team.”

(No one had to run laps. A few weeks later, my teacher brought it up at parent-teacher conferences. My parents told me that when he mentioned the incident, he said, “And the thing is… I can kind of see her point!”)

You’ve Got To Face It Eventually

, , , , , | | Learning | July 26, 2019

(I am an American working as a foreign English teacher in China. I have high-functioning Autism and it causes me to be face-blind. This evening, I am in our kitchen cooking some treats with a class of five- to six-year-old boys while their regular teacher has a progress meeting with their parents. Towards the end of the hour, the teacher comes to visit us. It is then I notice something about two of the boys.)

Me: “Wait… Why are these two boys wearing the same clothes? Are they identical twins?”

Teacher: “Yeah, you didn’t notice?”

Me: “No. I’m face-blind, remember?”

Teacher: “Oh, yeah.” *points to two other boys* “They’re identical twins, too.”

Me: “Seriously?!”

(Yep, I went through a full hour of class with eight boys without realizing that I had two sets of identical twins.)

The Truth Hurts

, , , | | Learning | July 23, 2019

(I have just been elected Shop Steward in my local union, so I have been sent to a Shop Steward training class. This happens shortly after class begins.)

Instructor: “Can anyone tell me what you need to do in order to successfully negotiate with a company?”

(I look around the room. I really don’t want to be the first person to speak up, but I can see everyone else drawing blanks. As a side note, I am a fairly cynical person and have a somewhat jaundiced view of most of humanity. Reluctantly, I put up my hand.)

Instructor: “Yes, [My Name]?”

Me: “You need to be able to hurt them.”

Instructor: *making a sour face* “We weren’t supposed to get to that right away.”

Me: “But that’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it?”

Instructor: “Yes. You must have some form of leverage.”