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Honor Them With The Benefit Of The Doubt

, , , , , | Learning | July 20, 2023

There’s a large age gap between my mother and her younger siblings, and I was a surprise baby shortly after Mom and Dad got married. The end result is that I was nineteen when my first cousin was born.

My cousin’s kindergarten had a “graduation” at the end of the year to celebrate the kiddos moving up to the “big school” primary that was next door. Apparently, several of the teachers felt very, very strongly about this graduation.

When Grandma was picking [Cousin] up that day, she had this conversation with his head teacher, who was speaking very loudly in front of the other parents.

Teacher: “[Cousin] says you can’t attend his graduation.”

Grandma: “No, sadly.”

Teacher: “What could you possibly need to do that can’t be rescheduled a few hours?”

Grandma: “I’ll be in [Other City] that week. My granddaughter is graduating, as well.”

Teacher: “Oh… is she graduating from primary? Kids that age have a better understanding of things; I’m sure she’d understand if you only visited after—”

Grandma: “My granddaughter is graduating from the University of Sydney, with a Bachelor of Law with honours.”

Teacher: *Meekly* “…oh.”

If Only You Could Expand Your Screen The Way You’re Expanding Their Knowledge

, , , , , | Learning | July 18, 2023

I help another teacher run a program for seniors learning English. By this point, I’ve been helping for five years, so I can run classes by myself. The other teacher still prepares all the course materials, since I’m not formally trained. The teacher isn’t good with modern technology.

The day before a class, the teacher says she’s double-booked. I need to take over the class. That’s fine. I get the email with the day’s class materials in the afternoon — or most of them.

Me: “The main resource for your class is behind a paywall.”

Teacher: “I sent it to you!”

Me: “You sent me the link to the information page. I need the lesson plan document.”

Teacher: “Oh, right.”

The lesson is designed to work in person. On the morning of class, I get this email from the program manager.

Manager: “Our building’s air conditioning is not working. You should have your classes online. I’ll set up our online conference call.”

Me: “Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll rework the class materials for the new format.”

The students are on different devices; some are on phones, while others are on computers, and a few are on tablets. We take a quarter of the class time dealing with tech issues. Then, I start the class by having them look at a row of six images.

Student #1: “I can only see three pictures.”

Student #2: “I can see all six.”

Student #3: “They’re too small. Can you zoom in?”

I slide the screen around.

Me: “I physically can’t zoom it in more.”

It turned out that the conference call program only showed the top left corner of my screen to everybody, which completely broke the flow of the lesson plan. I struggled through the parts of the lesson that still worked. In the end, I only got through half of the material.

The screen sizing problem probably existed in 2020, as well. Nobody thought to tell me.

Use Your Noodle About The Noodle Food

, , , , | Learning | July 10, 2023

I have a large pet snake. His name is Oliver, and he is a Bredli python, about 2 m long, and ten years old. I adopted him when he was two, and he’s the sweetest boy, though he’s certainly a voracious eater!

I’m a few months into an animal research course and have had no prior experience handling (living) rodents before now. My snake eats frozen-thawed rodents that were humanely killed, as it’s illegal to feed live in Australia without a special permit.

We have about ten minutes to spare at the end of a class, so my lecturer decides to get some of the local fuzzy residents out so we can hold them — in this instance, rats. Before now, we have handled mice and rabbits, but not rats. The rats are very sweet and friendly and used to student handling because they are used for classes.

We are standing around holding the rats when I make what is supposed to be a funny remark.

Me: “I’m not used to holding them while they’re alive!”

Most of the people in the class are aware that I have a pet snake — especially as I have a large tattoo of him on my forearm — but one of the girls in the class either hasn’t gotten the memo or is offended by my implication that rats are not purely pets.

Girl: *Glares at me* “That’s horrible! How could you say that?!”

Me: *Shrugs* “I have a snake. It’s the truth. Rats are cool and all, but my noodle needs to eat.”

Maybe it was undiplomatic of me, but I wasn’t in the mood to argue with someone over what I should and shouldn’t be feeding my pet. She proceeded to move around the small lab bench we were gathered around as far away from me as possible.

I didn’t get into any trouble and no one else seemed at all bothered by what I said.

I still have Oliver, though I’ve since upgraded the size of his terrarium due to him outgrowing the previous one. He’s still a very sweet boy and eats like a champ. Rats can be wonderful pets, but when you’ve owned a snake for a while, you tend to see whatever you feed your snake as, well, snake food. It’s easy to forget they can be pets, too!

I’ve worked more with rats since this day, and they are wonderful, intelligent creatures. I definitely don’t have the same mindset as I did back then, so I definitely think I was a bit of an a**hole in this situation, even if that’s not what I intended.

His Credibility Is In The Toilet

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 8, 2023

My father was a school superintendent and went to a conference with other school administrators. The speaker opened with one of those “super teacher helps out the kid everyone else ignored” stories. The kid in the story was named Pepe. Unfortunately, the speaker apparently didn’t know how to pronounce the name.

Speaker: “Little Pee Pee didn’t speak English very well.”

Speaker: “The other kids made fun of Pee Pee.”

Speaker: “Pee Pee would hide in the bathroom and cry.”

Not quite the encouraging message he was going for.

There’s A Reason Some Call Them “Hellspawn”

, , , , , , , , | Learning | July 4, 2023

Our school district assigns numbers to the bus routes to differentiate them from each other. While most of our students are fine, if not great, we do have a few that make our jobs as bus drivers difficult. Several happen to be on one route, and the driver is currently on an extended leave. We other drivers have been covering her shifts, and we have been talking a lot about them.

Bus Driver #1: “Oh, my word, have you driven [Absent Driver]’s route? The kids won’t stay in their seats, and they yell the whole time!”

Bus Driver #2: “Yes! I did her route yesterday, and my ears are still ringing.”

Me: “I had to pull over three times to remind them to stay in their seats — once on the shoulder of the freeway.”

Bus Driver #3: “That’s route 333, isn’t it?”

Bus Driver #1: *Checking the route sheet* “Um, yes. 333.”

Me: “How did you remember the route number so easily? Did you drive it recently?”

Bus Driver #3: “Not for a while, no. But if you double the route number… Well, it just makes sense.”