Those Instructions Don’t Float With Me

, , , , , , | Learning | December 1, 2019

I have Asperger’s and take instructions very literally.

My infants’ school had its own swimming pool, so we had mandatory swimming lessons as part of PE. In one of the first lessons, we had to do an exercise where we were told to hold on to one edge of the pool, and then push off from it and glide across to the other side. The teacher repeatedly emphasised that we were not allowed to paddle or kick. We had to keep our arms and legs completely still and just glide across from the initial push.

I made it about halfway across before I started to sink, but I did exactly what I was told and kept my arms and legs completely still even when I was almost at the bottom of the pool. A fully-clothed teaching assistant had to jump in and rescue me.

Funnily enough, the school never thought to tell my parents about this. They only found out years later — when I was no longer at that school — when something reminded me of it and I told them the amusing story of that time I nearly drowned.

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Apparently, She Can Eat Tarmac

, , , , | Right | November 29, 2019

(I am working outside collecting money for graduation parking. I’ve never had this conversation before.) 

Me: “Five dollars, please.”

Driver: “Five dollars? I don’t have five dollars.” *starts to look through her purse*

Me: “If you could please move to the side and I—”

Driver: “Wait! Do you accept food stamps?”

Me: “Uh… what?”

Driver: “Do you accept food stamps?”

Me: *shocked* “No, I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is an ATM.”

Driver: “But you could get more stuff with food stamps!”

Me: “I don’t get the money; the school does. There’s an ATM and you can buy—”

Driver: “No! I’m not paying for this. Take the food stamps.” *tries to shove the food stamps at me*

(My supervisor came in and the lady went to the ATM.) 

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As If You Were Thrown Under The Bus

, , , , , | Learning | November 29, 2019

(I’m in seventh grade. I ride the bus to and from school, which leaves at 3:20 sharp every day. One day, my homeroom teacher doesn’t let us out until 3:20 — which is a whole other frustrating story in and of itself, believe me — and, of course, this causes me to miss the bus. So, I go to the office and meet with one of the secretaries.) 

Me: “Excuse me. [Teacher] didn’t let us out until pretty late, so I kind of missed the bus.”

Secretary: “Well, I’ll call and have them send in someone to pick you up, but I’m not gonna be able to bug them every time. It’s your responsibility to get down to the bus on time.”

Me: “But I just told you, my teacher let us out really late. I didn’t really have a choice.”

Secretary: *deadpan* “Okay.”

(She goes into her office and talks with the bus company on the phone for a few moments before coming back out.) 

Secretary: “They’ll send someone to pick you up as soon as they can.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Secretary: “No problem, but next time, it really is important that you get to the front door on time.”

Me: “I tried to, but once again, my teacher let the class out ten minutes late.”

Secretary: “Well, okay, but still.”

(The bus comes a few minutes later, so I gather my things and go down to the front door.) 

Secretary: “Have a good rest of your day, [My Name]. But remember, you need to manage your time better. It’s your responsibility to be down here on time for the bus.”

Me: *giving up at this point* “Yes, ma’am. I’ll keep that in mind.”

(Luckily, both my dad and the bus driver understood the concept of “teacher error” a lot better than the secretary.)

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It’s The Teachers That Need To Be Graded

, , , , , , | Learning | November 29, 2019

My friend is a teacher at a private high school. He’s one of two science teachers, as the school is pretty small. The other science teacher has been there for years and is very set in her ways. She believes there’s one way to teach, and if students don’t pick up on the material, too bad for them. She prides herself on the fact that “only a few students get As” in her class. Apparently, the teacher who was there before my friend also had a similar mentality, so it was very difficult for most of those students to get good grades in science.

My friend, on the other hand, believes that everyone is capable of getting an A if they’re willing to put in the effort, and is willing to help students during free periods and after classes, while the other teacher is not. My friend is new to teaching, so after he submitted his first-quarter grades, he got pulled into a meeting with the principal and the other science teacher. Apparently, the students in my friend’s class had “too many As” and he was being reprimanded for not making his class rigorous enough. The whole time, the other teacher kept giving him smug looks and making comments about how some people just weren’t cut out for teaching, if they didn’t have a firm enough hand for it. Basically, it came out that when his class’s grade average was way higher than hers, she threw a fit insisting it must be because he was giving his students easy As, because there was no way that many high schoolers could master the sciences to that extent.

He asked for a copy of her tests for the next units they were going into, and said he wanted to administer those to his class, since she thought his weren’t rigorous enough. The principal agreed and told my friend that he should use this as a learning opportunity, so he could “determine the level of difficulty” he should be striving for.

My friend taught that unit the same way he taught every single unit prior to it. He took time with students who were struggling, was always willing to repeat and review difficult concepts, and made himself available for whenever they could meet with him for extra help. At the end of the unit, both he and the other teacher administered the same test. 

In his class, the average grade was 92%. In the other teacher’s class, the average was 76%. The principal called him back in and checked that he hadn’t given extra credit or special help during the test. My friend swore he hadn’t, and then, in the most respectful way possible, told the principal that he thought that maybe the problem wasn’t that his class was too easy.

The other teacher is currently being retrained.

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Something Fishy About That Name

, , , | Learning | November 27, 2019

(I am an American teaching English in China. Sometimes there are extra one-off classes that parents can sign their children up for outside of their regular classes. I am teaching one of those this morning. For regular classes, I have a roll sheet with all the students’ names. This is very helpful when I cover a class for another teacher. Unfortunately, the one-off classes do not come with roll sheets, so I have to ask the students for their names, which I write on the board. This one-off class has a range of kids from different classes in the lower to middle levels for the seven- to ten-year-old classes. One of the students has recently started the first-level class for that age group, so he only knows some of the basics and his pronunciation is not always very clear.)

Me: “What’s your name?”

Student: “Salmon.”

Me: “Salmon? Your name is Salmon?”

Student: “Yes.”

(A lot of parents pick strange names for their kids. I’ve met Run-Baby, Dinosaur, Lemon, the list goes on. So, I write Salmon on the board and continue on. During the class, I ask the students about his name.)

Me: “You know salmon is a kind of fish?”

Student: *doesn’t seem to understand me*

Me: *brings up a picture of some salmon on my phone* “It’s a salmon.”

Student: *looks surprised* “No fish! No fish!”

(I chuckle and move on with class, but for the remaining of the hour, when I call on him, before he answers, he always first says, “No fish!”)

Me: “I know. You are not a fish, but your name is a fish.”

Student: “No fish!”

(The class ends and I gather my materials for my next class, which is a first-level class for the same age group which I am covering for another teacher, so this time I have a roll sheet. I walk into class, and to my surprise, who do I see there? Salmon! I realize something is not right, because I would have remembered seeing a name like Salmon on a roll sheet of ten students. I look down at my roll sheet and see a single S name: Simon.)

Me: “Oh! Your name is Simon!

Student: “Yes!”

Me: “Not Salmon.”

Student: “No!”

Me: *face descending into my open hand* “That’s why you kept saying, ‘No fish.'”

Student: “No fish!”

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