Moo-ved By Bonnie’s Plight

, , , , , | | Learning | May 21, 2018

(I attend a small, private college and because there are some courses they don’t offer, they have a deal with the local state university that allows us to opt into courses required for our majors, etc. that [Small College] doesn’t have. One day, I have just finished my last class of the day, which happens to be at [State University]. [State University] has huge agricultural and veterinary programs, and there are often exhibits or even animals in the quad area for presentations to get undergrads interested. As I walk through the quad, I see a group of people gathered in front of a few older students wearing agricultural program t-shirts, and a fully grown cow inside of a small, portable pen. I walk over as one of the students is giving their presentation.)

Presenter: “Cows like Bonny, here, allow both the agricultural and veterinary students to have a better understanding of how bovine digestion works, and also how to better breed and treat cattle in general.”

Guy In The Crowd: “What’s so special about her?”

Presenter: “I’m glad you asked! If everyone will please step around to Bonny’s other side?”

(We all move around the pen, and immediately my jaw drops.)

Me: “Is that a window?

(Yes, Bonny the cow has a porthole-like window surgically installed in her side. You can actually see her digestive organs working.)

Guy In The Crowd: “Whoa! That’s so cool!”

Girl Next To Him: “Oh, my God! That’s awful! How could you do that to her?”

Presenter: “I promise, Bonny has had her window for a few years now and doesn’t even notice it. It functions much like a prosthetic limb would. We keep a close eye on it and replace any parts as needed for her. As our observation cow, she pretty much is living in the lap of luxury.”

(The girl is still angry and stomps away, yelling something about reporting them to the University.)

Me: “Doesn’t she realize the University would have had to authorize and pay for this procedure in the first place?”

Presenter: *shrugs and pats the cow’s head* “I guess not. Now, who wants to pet Bonny?”

(I’ll admit, the whole porthole-in-a-cow thing freaked me out when I first saw it, but Bonny did seem pretty content. She let us all pat her and munched away on some snacks the agriculture students had brought for her. Even after I graduated, she continued to be the [State University] “observation cow” until she hit retirement age. Whatever age that is for a cow.)

They Have A Major Gap In Their Knowledge

, , , | | Learning | May 18, 2018

(I work at a university with a department for students who want to be teachers. It’s the middle of registration season, and we regularly have students coming in to get help figuring out who their advisor is, as we have just switched to a new system. They also come in for many other reasons than registration, which can make it tricky to help them at times. I don’t have access to the system to look up students for some time due to a screw-up in another department. Some of the students who come in are rude or just plain dull, but this one takes the cake.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Student: “Um… I’m not sure; they just told me to come here.”

Me: “Well, where did they send you from?”

Student: “I spoke to some lady in that office in… [Administrative Building]… I wanted to sign up for some classes.”

Me: “Oh, the registrar’s office? Are you looking to find your advisor to pick out classes with you?”

Student: “Uh… I think so?”

Me: “Okay, great! Well, your advisor is assigned by your major and your class standing. What’s your major?”

Student: “Uh… Education.”

Me: “We actually offer quite a few specializations in education; which one specifically are you enrolled in?”

Student: “Oh… I’m not sure.”

Me: “Well, what is your class standing?”

Student: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Are you a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior?”

Student: “Oh… I’m not sure.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t direct you to an advisor without knowing these things. Can you log into [Student Portal] on your phone and check? I can help you find that information if you need.”

Student: “What’s [Student Portal]?”

Me: *sighing internally* “The system where you log in to check your classes, financial aid, and such.”

Student: “Oh, that. Yeah, hang on.”

(The student takes a good five minutes to log in and check. They are a junior-level student working towards a teaching degree in a STEM field. I direct the student to the right advisor, and they wander out of my office. A staff member who was sitting in my office waiting for a meeting with one of my bosses for the entire ordeal looks bemused.)

Me: “You’d be surprised how often we get students like that who don’t know simple things. That one was just excessive, though.”

Staff Member: “But… They were a junior! How? Just how? How do you get that far and not even know your own major? And they want to be a teacher?”

Me: “I really don’t know. I don’t get half of these people, either.”

Staff Member: “I’m glad you didn’t ask the student what their name was. They probably wouldn’t have known that, either.”

A Poetic Injustice

, , , , | Learning | May 10, 2018

(For one English class, when we start the poetry unit, the teacher arranges the chairs into a circle around the room facing the middle instead of the usual rows. We are told to just sit in “any of the chairs.” Immediately thinking of a loophole, I sit in the teacher’s chair behind her desk instead of one of the chairs arranged in the circle. A few of the students start laughing.)

Teacher: “How does sitting in the chair feel?”

Me: “Horrible! I’m feeling underpaid and underappreciated! I think I’ll deal with my frustration by forcing innocent children to suffer by teaching poetry.”

Let’s Kick Start This Camp!

, , , , | Learning | May 7, 2018

(I’m teaching at a summer theatre camp, and the first group I am working with is a group of about 20 seven- to nine-year-olds. It’s a lot. I’m somewhat new to working with kids. It’s in day one and we’re about to have an afternoon snack. Per training, I’m discussing not sharing snacks and why, before we go outside.)

Me: “It’s very important to remember to keep your snack to yourself! Can anybody tell me why?”

(I choose one kid with their hand up.)

Child: “Because it’s mine.”

Me: “Yes! This is true! Your parents packed a snack that’s for you, and not for everyone here! Also, you never know if someone may be allergic to—”

(Mid-sentence, I watch this girl kick an unsuspecting kid next to her, square in the face. Very lightly, but still IN THE FACE.)

Me: *without missing a beat* “NO. NO. You and I are going to talk about this in a second, but let me finish this first.”

(I continue on about snack safety. I finish and check that the child who got kicked is okay, and the camp assistants then begin to lead the rest of the kids in a line out to the playground.)

Me: “[Kicking Girl]!”

(I do that “come here” motion with my finger, like my parents use to do to me before giving me the business. The girl looks down at the floor.)

Me: “You can’t kick people in the face.”

Kicking Girl: *looks away and sighs* “I’m just trying to have a good time.”

Took Note Of Your Kindness

, , , , , , | Hopeless | April 30, 2018

(Chicago is having a particularly nasty cold snap, with temperatures routinely hitting negative ten Fahrenheit, or even lower. One evening, around eight pm, I am heading out of the physics classroom when another student catches up to me.)

Girl: “Hey, you work for the biology department, right?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m a student employee. What’s up?”

Girl: “Do you know if either of the lab managers are still around?”

Me: “No, they usually leave around five. Why? Does your research lab need to borrow equipment?”

Girl: “Oh, crap! No, I accidentally left my coat and mittens in one of the classrooms, and now the door’s locked, and I’m walking home tonight.”

Me: “Which classroom? I might have the key to it. If not, I’m giving you a ride; I drove today.”

(She tells me, and sure enough, it’s a room I have access to. Thirty seconds later, I have the door open and she’s pulling her coat out of the closet at the back of the room.)

Girl: “Oh, my God, thank you so much!”

Me: “No worries, chica. It’s way, way too cold to be without a coat. You sure you don’t want a ride?”

Girl: “Nah, it’s only a ten-minute walk; it’s just too far to go without a coat in this weather. Thanks, though!”

Me: “Fair enough. Have a good rest of the night!”

(We wish each other well, and I think no more about it. Because the lab is smaller than the lecture hall, our physics class will have one early lab section, then the lecture for everyone, then one late lab section. I’m usually in the late lab section, because I’m at work earlier in the afternoon. For lab-based exams, we’re allowed one sheet of notes and formulas. The day of our final lab exam, I take off work, and spend nearly four hours typing up my notes. Two sentences from the end, the computer starts glitching and shuts off, and when I finally get it up and started again, my carefully saved document is nowhere to be seen. It’s only twenty minutes until class, and I’m fighting an anxiety attack and trying not to cry in the middle of the computer lab, when the girl from before comes over.)

Girl: “Hey, you okay?”

Me: “The computer, it ate my note sheet! And I saved the document, but it’s not on the drive, and I don’t have time to copy it out again, and oh, God, oh, God, oh, God, I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

Girl: “Here. Do you want mine?”

Me: “What? Don’t you need it?”

Girl: “No, I take the earlier lab section. I just finished up; I was coming over to print the lecture notes.”

Me: “Oh, my God, thank you! I’ll get it back to you in class Wednesday, as soon as I see you!”

Girl: “No need. You can keep it. Feel free to add any notes you need; I don’t need it back.”

Me: “Oh, man. Thank you so much!”

Girl: “No worries! Fair trade for making sure I wasn’t walking home in January without a coat.”

(I spent the next twenty minutes adding a few of my own notes and shortcuts, and managed to get a high B on the lab exam. That entire physics class was one of the friendliest I’ve ever been in, but the girl who gave me her note sheet when I was on the brink of having a breakdown totally takes the cake!)

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