Redefining “Crunch Bar”

, , , , , , , , | Learning | May 29, 2020

I volunteered to help with the Easter celebration at my grandson’s school. 

After the egg hunt, we herded the kids into their classroom. The teacher made an announcement that candy was not to be unwrapped until later.

While roaming around to help students, I came across the only child who had caused problems. Too late to stop him, I could only watch as he ate a piece of candy… still in its wrapper.

Technically, he didn’t disobey the teacher.

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What A Heartless Joke!

, , , , | Healthy | May 29, 2020

My friend’s dad is a lecturer at a medical school. He has a friend with a rare condition called situs inversus, meaning his internal organs are mirror images of the usual configuration. He likes to pull a prank on first-year students.

Lecturer: “Is it possible for a person to have their organs the wrong way around and still be alive and healthy?”

Students: “No, sir!”

At some point later he brings his friend in as a model patient and has a student try to find his heartbeat.

After muddling around with a stethoscope, one particularly confused student responded, “Sir, this man has no heart!”

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A Lucrative Field Trip

, , , , , , | Learning | May 27, 2020

When I am in high school, I get to go to France on a student ambassador program. One of the rules of this program is that, even though there might be multiple people to a room, everyone needs to have their own bed. Our first night there, we get our room assignments, and my two roommates and I head up to our room.

We get into the room and immediately find two of the beds: a regular queen in the bedroom and a sunseat-esque thing near one of the windows. My roommates snag the two visible beds and then we start searching the room for the other bed. We look in the closets in case it’s a murphy bed situation, tap the walls, again in case of a Murphy bed situation, and just look everywhere we can think of.

We have to call down to the front desk to get sheets for the second bed, so when the employee comes up with those, we ask him to show us where the third bed is because we are clearly dumb Americans.

He looks at me and [Roommate #2] and says, “There are only two of you.” We tell him that the other girl is in the bathroom. He looks at us like he doesn’t fully believe us — why in the heck would we lie about that?! — but tells us it is under the queen.

After he leaves, we go back and look at the queen bed; we initially dismissed it for having anything underneath because there wasn’t a ton of clearance. But I get down on my stomach and crawl around on the floor, tapping on the base, and there’s no bed; it’s definitely a solid base.

By this time, our leaders are doing room checks. They get to our room and I explain that I have no bed. One of the leaders goes down to see if there’s possibly a single room available while the other one comes and does a second glance over the room just to see if we have missed something. We haven’t, and the first leader comes back and lets us know that the hotel is full. 

It’s decided that I’ll room with one of the leaders for the night, so I get my stuff together and move up to her room. She tells me to shower if I want and then I get the sunseat bed. I get cleaned up and I’m all snuggled up in my bed, writing in this journal that the program requires us to keep — we get school credit for this trip — when one of the other leaders comes back and lets us know that they’ve found a bed.

So, I get all my stuff together and move again. Why they couldn’t let me sleep and then just move me in the morning, I’ll never know. This time, I’m in a room with my own bed and things are good and I get to go to sleep.

Before we leave, we have a picnic. There is a donation basket. Once stuff from the picnic has been covered, the leaders convert the leftover money to Franc and Euros give it out to those of us that have done something kind of above and beyond. So, because I moved around and was a good sport about all of it, I get a little extra money.

A few days later, I call home and talk with my mom about things, and I tell her what happened with the money. I find out after I get home that she almost gave my dad a heart attack telling him about it. Here’s what happened:

My mom tells my dad, “[My Name] found a way to make some extra money while on vacation.”

“Oh?”

“Yep! She’s sleeping around!”

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Explaining Himself In Excruciating Detail

, , , , , , | Learning | May 26, 2020

I am a math teacher at an elementary school. In the late 1980s, I had this one fourth-grader who was very brilliant but sometimes took directions a little too literally. One day, I had the class do a special math problem together after the lesson, where they not only had to show their work as usual but also provide a written explanation on the back of the worksheet detailing the purpose of each step taken to solve the problem.

While the class was working, I noticed that the brilliant kid took a little longer to solve the problem than usual. When he turned it in at the end of class, I saw why.

He had written an overly-detailed explanation explaining literally everything he had done. It was so long and detailed that he actually took up not only the whole backside of the worksheet — most students needed only little more than half — but also about a dozen lines on a sheet of notebook paper.

I laughed to myself and gave him a four — the highest score possible — because he had solved the problem correctly and, while very long, his explanation was ”technically” correct. I told him that the next time I gave him a similar problem, he only needed to explain the solution the same way that his math book explained how to solve example problems.

It’s been over thirty years, and he has since graduated from a nearby Ivy League college and gotten a career in statistics. His son now attends my school and will be in my class for the 2020-21 school year.

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You Could Also Blame The Parents

, , , , , | Learning | May 24, 2020

Twenty sixth-grade students from a specialized interest school — in this case, aquaculture — are touring the library in general and the children’s area in particular.  

Most of the kids are well-behaved, but there are four boys who just don’t want to follow the rules. My colleagues and I are not supposed to chastise kids if they are with their (theoretically) responsible adults. We try to guide them back into the activities but they are determined to jump on tables, run up walls, and climb up on the backs of chairs to get at our windows.

I have had it. After I catch one of them trying to pull apart a large stuffed animal that is our mascot, I round the four of them up and march them into the little kids’ room.

“You will sit there, mouths closed, until your bus comes. And if I see you move again, I will get your names from your teachers and you will be banned.”

This is a pretty empty threat as I am a lowly junior librarian, but even my boss doesn’t say anything because she is sick of them, too. They aren’t perfect, but at least they aren’t destroying public property anymore and they aren’t putting any more sneaker treads on the walls.  

It is their teacher who ultimately gets my goat, though.

She comes over with a big smile.

Thank you for talking to them,” she says. “I was getting annoyed with them, too, but it wasn’t my place to say anything.”

I stare at her in disbelief, and then my boss says, “Why not?

“Oh,” says the teacher, “it’s your library, not mine. It’s not my place to discipline them in your space.”

“It might be our space,” says my boss, “but they are your students and your responsibility.”

The teacher just waltzes off with another group of barely-behaved children.

It was a long time before my boss ever allowed that school back for tours and programs.

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