Chemically Imbalanced, Part 10

, , , , , , | Learning | April 21, 2021

Back in the early 1990s, two other male college freshmen and I were studying for an upcoming quiz for a chemistry class.

Student #1: “I’m really not feeling it. Think I should just skip the quiz entirely?”

Student #2: “Sodium hypobromite.”

Student #1: “What?”

I wrote out the chemical formula for sodium hypobromite: “NaBrO”.

Related:
Chemically Imbalanced, Part 9
Chemically Imbalanced, Part 8
Chemically Imbalanced, Part 7
Chemically Imbalanced, Part 6
Chemically Imbalanced, Part 5

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Like Turning Down Your Radio To Read The Street Signs

, , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2021

I am a teacher working with kids and teenagers ages ten to nineteen. Because of sensory processing issues, I sometimes struggle with auditory and/or visual input if the environment I am in is too noisy or crowded. However, this usually does not affect my job much, except for having to ask students, “Could you please repeat what you said? My brain didn’t get that,” every now and then. I am also very open about this and explain my situation to new students at the beginning of the school year.

One day, I am walking through a crowded hallway at school, when I suddenly hear some yelling behind me. I turn around to see two of my students who are in twelfth grade approaching me.

Student #1: “Ms. [My Name]! Ms. [My Name]!”

Me: “Hey, guys, what’s up?”

Student #1: *Pretending to be offended* “We just wanted to say hi! You walked past us several times. We’ve been waving and saying good morning every time, but you keep ignoring us! That’s not nice!”

Student #2: “Idiot! Stop bugging her! You know she can’t see anything when it is too loud!”

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Trouble Comes In Many Forms

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2021

When I was a teenager, I went to a boarding school for “troubled teen girls” for a short period of time. I was physically ill after finally being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and my missing school was leading my grades to drop to the point where I was on the verge of being kicked out, so they enrolled me for a few trimesters as a way for me to catch up. A lot of the girls were suffering from severe behavioral issues and returning from wilderness camps, so it was a pretty intense group of kids.

Most Internet use was forbidden except in connection with schoolwork, and all of our computers in the computer lab faced inward so the teacher who was running the computer lab could see our screens. There were also very strict blocks that blocked almost everything except for educational websites. They’d never had any issues, until me.

I was annoyed at these restrictions and wanted to talk to my friends via email and post on forums. It was nothing malicious at all; besides my health issues, I was a pretty good kid. Unfortunately for the school, I was the first student that happened to know about using proxy servers to get around these restrictions.

I was constantly alt+tabbing, using tiny windows, and being on the lookout for when the lab monitor looked my way. This went on for months before a couple of students found out and asked me about it. I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to cause trouble, and I knew that everyone suddenly having access would be impossible to hide. Of course, that meant that they went and told the principal about it.

They had no idea how I managed to do it. Even the so-called IT people for the school had no explanation! Frustrated, the principal forbade me from entering the computer lab again until I told them how I managed to get around the restrictions.

Unfortunately for them, I was leaving the school soon after anyway, so it didn’t make a difference. Amusingly, they wound up calling my parents because of the “trouble” I was making and complained that I was being uncooperative.

I don’t remember if anyone else managed to figure out what I was doing, and years later, my mom admitted that she was so proud to find out that the “trouble” I was making was being the first person to outsmart the school just so I could check my email and post on some gaming forums.

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It’s A Dragon! It’s A Kangaroo! No, It’s… Actually, It IS A Dragon!

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 17, 2021

I’m the same person from these two stories. My Japanese teacher, who I’ll call Sensei, quite likes origami. I have a tendency to start speaking in English during speaking tasks due to nerves. She helps me overcome this by building up my confidence, and she gifts me with a pack of origami paper the first time I succeed.

During a lesson, a friend and I are chatting, and I offhandedly mention the origami prank I played earlier. Sensei jokingly interjects.

Sensei: “I hope I won’t find rabbits all over my desk, [My Name]!”

I laugh and we move to another topic.  

When I get home, I examine the pack of origami paper I was given and realize just how many pieces of paper there are in the pack. That’s when I get ideas.  

I carefully extricate one piece of each color and fold them all into dragons. I spend the next few days with a pocket full of paper dragons, waiting for an opportunity where I can get to Sensei’s desk.

A week or so later, that opportunity comes. I dash right in and get to work placing the dragons. Once I am done, I run back outside to find Sensei.

Me: “Sensei, Sensei, come quick! There’s an army of miniature dragons invading your desk!” 

Sensei: “Miniature dragons?”

Me: “Yeah, miniature dragons!” 

We walked back to the staffroom where her desk was located. As soon as she opened the door and spotted her desk, she started laughing.  

True to my word, there were eight miniature dragons in various comical positions on her desk. There was one tapping at her keyboard curiously, one climbing up the side of her desktop monitor, one on top of her monitor entirely, one swinging from the cord for the vertical blinds by its forelimbs and holding on for dear life, one running on her tape roll mounted in the desktop tape dispenser, and three more sitting around on her desk, watching the show.  

Judging by how the eight origami dragons are now carefully lined up on her desk, I think this prank counts as a success.

Related:
It’s A Dragon! It’s A Kangaroo! No, It’s A Disappearing Teacher!
It’s A Dragon! It’s A Kangaroo! No, It’s A Whole Mess Of Rabbits!

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Set Your Expectations Higher

, , , , , , , , | Learning | April 15, 2021

I briefly worked as a teacher in one of the worst schools in the country. There were all kinds of social problems, including rampant drug abuse. One of the pupils decided to smoke cannabis to calm himself down before an exam; unfortunately, he smoked a rather large amount, so he was barely conscious when he filed into the exam hall.

Some minutes in, the teacher invigilating the exam observed that the boy’s exam paper had fallen on the floor and he was busily writing on the table. There was some anxiety as to whether this might mean that the table would have to be sent in to be marked, but thankfully, on examination — pun definitely intended — it was ascertained that what he had written on the table had nothing whatsoever to do with the exam paper or even its subject.

That was good, because the exam board would not have appreciated having a tabletop sent in for marking.

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