Twinsies! Sort Of. Not Really.

, , , , | Learning | March 28, 2020

(I am a third grade teacher. I have two students who are best friends who look very different from each other. Though they are the same height, [Student #1] has long, light brown hair that she always wears down and she usually wears shorts or jeans and a T-shirt. Her best friend, [Student #2], is skinnier, has shorter, blonde hair that she usually wears in pigtails, has huge pink glasses, and usually wears a blouse, skirt, and knee-length socks. One morning, the girls show up to school very excitedly.)

Student #1: “Notice anything different?”

Me: “I… can’t say I do.” 

Student #2: “Really? Nothing else? We’re dressed like each other!”

Me: “Really…”

Student #1: “Well, okay. We aren’t dressed exactly like each other. We had a sleepover last night, and we decided to pretend to be each other, but she didn’t have any skirts or… those long leg thingies.”

Student #2: “Socks?”

Student #1: “Yeah. She didn’t have any in my size.”

Student #2: “I actually did, but the socks had holes.”

Student #1: “And then we tried to put her hair up but it didn’t want to do that. And I tried to wear my hair like her, but it was uncomfortable, so I wore a ponytail, instead.”

(I didn’t really notice it until then.)

Student #2: “And then I couldn’t give her my glasses, because then I wouldn’t be able to see anything. And she gave me her shirt.”

Me: “So, the only things that changed were that you’re wearing her shirt and changed your hair.”

Student #3: “Hey, [Student #1]… Woah! You look just like her, [Student #2]. Except for the glasses. And she would never wear a ponytail.”

Student #2: “See, Mr. [My Name]! We look exactly the same.” 

(The girls went and sat down next to each other, and for the rest of the day all of the other kids in the class kept gushing about how much [Student #2] looked like [Student #1], even though the only thing that changed was the hair and a shirt.)

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Bad At Math, Good With Solutions

, , , , , , | Learning | March 27, 2020

At fifteen, I am socially anxious and do not really get along with most of my classmates. We have a math lesson; everyone has to solve an equation in front of the class and then name the person to come and solve the next one. I am good at math and have no problem solving mine; however, as the equations are fairly difficult and the teacher is known for being stern, I hesitate to name the next classmate in fear that they might get upset.

Suddenly, a boy who sits near me yells, “Pick me!”

He has no clue how to solve the equation and earns some strong words from the teacher. 

However, twenty years later I am still grateful that he possibly saved me from at least some hostility and bullying.

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On The Fence About The Club Presidency

, , , , , , | Learning | March 24, 2020

This happened in fencing club at our boarding school. We’re rather laid-back and relaxed, but at some point, another school challenged us to a match, which required us to send a student representative with the coach to help settle the details. So, the coach brought it up in a fencing lesson, stating that he needed someone to become the “club president” and help him with the details.

Our boarding school has a quirk where we call the Year Twelves “Juniors” and the Year Thirteens “Seniors.”

Someone proposed that there be an election, which prompted me to cast my vote for my enthusiastic junior. But that idea was shot down as the strongest fencer in the group decided that we should have a tournament with the club captainship as the prize, which was an even more popular idea.

Then, just when we were putting on our gear and preparing for the tournament, one of my fellow seniors argued that as we seniors were preparing to go to university, club captainship should fall to us as we needed it more on our personal statements than the juniors did. They could have their turn as club captain next year, when they themselves became seniors.

Somehow, they convinced the coach, mostly because other clubs in school had a similar precedent. I wasn’t very happy with the decision, as I considered it childish and the two seniors vying for the club captain position were basically people who joined the club at the same time as the juniors. In fact, they never even held a sword until they joined the club, unlike half of the juniors, who were veteran fencers in their previous schools. They just wanted the position to burnish their personal statements and make themselves more attractive to universities.

Regardless, the coach did not seem to notice that those two were blatantly after the position for selfish reasons and named the only other senior in the club president: me. 

He was backed unanimously by the juniors, leaving the two other seniors stunned. They then tried to argue against my appointment, but the coach shot them down. I was the last member of last year’s team, the oldest and seniormost student and the one with the most attendance, and although I wasn’t the best fencer, I was the only veteran fencer among the three seniors.

I didn’t really want the position, but I could not deny being greatly amused at the way my fellow seniors’ faces fell. Still, I offered the two of them the opportunity to claim club captainship in a mini-tournament between the three of us. Two easy victories later and I was crowned club captain. Somehow they never really came back to the club during my captainship.

The coach used a balloon sword he picked up from a fencing shop to “knight” me and offered it to me as my “sword of office.” After I stepped down as captain after the year, I was allowed to keep the sword as a farewell gift.

According to my juniors, it has now become a tradition for the coach to “knight” new club captains with such balloon swords and that they’re allowed to keep the blade after they retire.

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Wash That Virtue Signaling Right Out Of Your Hair

, , , , , , | Learning | March 20, 2020

(My friend at school is black and I am white. I’ve recently befriended a new girl, who is also white. We’re all three hanging out at lunch, talking about a hair appointment.)

Me: “So, what shampoo do you use? I mean, I’ve never really thought about it, but because you’re black–”

New Girl: *interrupting* “Oh, my God! Don’t say that! She’s African-American, aren’t you, [Friend]?”

Friend: “Uh… I’m not African or American; I’m a Caribbean British person. And yeah, I’m black…”

(The new girl went off in a huff and didn’t talk to us for a few days. I mean, I know appropriate language differs country to country, but she had the same accent as us, so she’s definitely British, too!)

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Right Here In The Vatican City

, , , , , | Learning | March 14, 2020

I went to a Catholic high school, and at the time, all freshmen had to take Latin I. On the first day of class, the teacher went into how a lot of words in English have Latin roots.

“When the word has ‘bi-‘, it means ‘two.’ With ‘tri-‘, you have ‘three.’” He followed with, “And when you have ‘mono-‘ you have…”

A classmate piped up, “Trouble!”

That’s a Latin lesson I’ve never forgotten.

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