Music Always Crosses Bridges

, , , , , , | Learning | September 20, 2020

I am a teaching assistant for students on the autism spectrum. I am assigned to one specific student. She is nonverbal, but she loves music, and part of our daily schedule is to sit in on one of the chorus rehearsals. She gets excited, stims by flapping her hands, and sometimes approaches soloists to hear their voices.

That summer, I spend some more time with her, including taking her out to the local mall for lunch and window-shopping. While we are eating lunch, she suddenly smiles and starts to stim. I look up and see one of the chorus students who has just graduated approaching.

Chorus Student: “Hi! I hope I’m not interrupting anything, but I wanted to say hello to [My Student].”

Me: “Well, I can tell she’s happy to see you.”

Chorus Student: “I’m glad she enjoyed our rehearsals! Even on the days when it felt like we weren’t making any progress, [My Student] was there smiling and having a good time. Knowing someone liked listening to us was really encouraging. It was great that she and her parents were able to attend the end-of-year concert.”

She talked to [My Student] for a few minutes before leaving, and [My Student] was delighted for the rest of the day. I am glad to this day that they both made a difference to each other.

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At Least He Didn’t Say “I”

, , , , | Learning | September 11, 2020

My high school US history class has an abnormally high population of dim bulbs, much to the frustration of our teacher. We’re playing a trivia game.

Teacher: “What is the capital of Iran?”

Guy: *With complete confidence* “IRAQ!”

For a second, the teacher just stares at this guy, along with most of the other more intelligent people in the room.

Teacher: “May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.”

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Who Doesn’t Love A Good Book Burning?

, , , , , | Learning | September 7, 2020

I am behind the tills at a bookstore. A few schoolchildren from a high school come in and look around dizzily. I realise they’re with a teacher and have come from a trip.

Me: “Welcome to [Bookstore]; can I help you?”

Girl #1: “Yeah, where is Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Teacher: “[Girl #1]! You are not old enough for that!”

Me: “It’s okay.” *To the girl* “I’m sorry, but you have to be over eighteen to buy it.”

They leave. Then, [Girl #2] and [Girl #3] come up.

Girl #3: “Has the Hunger Games number two, like, got any sex in it?”

Me: *Bewildered* “No.”

Girl #3: “Can we have it, then?”

Girl #2: “I thought all books had sex in them now. Why are we buying it?”

[Girl #3] shushes her as they take the book from a pile on the side, pay for it, and go.

They giggle as they go. A few minutes later, the fire alarm goes off. After the children and the other customers and employees are evacuated, and a small fire is put out by firemen, one finds that a book in the garbage bin started it. It was coated in nail polish, shoved in with newspapers, and set alight. I recognise it as the book the girls brought.

Me: “Those girls set it on fire!”

Teacher: *To the girls* “IS THIS TRUE?”

Girl #3: “Well, it was a dumb book! And there’s no sex in it!”

Fireman: “What?!”

Girl #3: “And anyway, it’s a stupid book. Who cares? Everyone who actually isn’t a dork uses Kindle!”

Fireman: “Even if that is true, young lady, you began a fire in a public area, with people inside! You are so lucky the fire didn’t get more serious. You’re under grounds for prosecution!”

The girls are sent away in a police car. The next day, one of the other students from the school comes in. I prepare myself for more trouble, but she asks…

Girl #4: “Can I get a copy of TimeRiders?”

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The Love Of Teaching Runs Deep

, , , | Learning | September 5, 2020

I’m a teacher. One of my students has recently started a part-time job and is celebrating their first payday.

Me: “Congratulations! Even after years of having them, I still find payday exciting. “

Student: “Wait, they pay you?”

Me: “Um… yes. I mean, I do love the job, but I don’t do it for free. Why did you think I’m here?”

Student: “I don’t know. I thought this was like a hobby or something.”

Every single student around him dissolved into laughter.

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You Don’t Deserve The Refund On Those Textbooks

, , , , | Learning | August 29, 2020

I work at a university in Canada. Our campus has been closed to students since March because of the health crisis. Since then, we’ve sent out at least seven emails to students’ personal and school-issued email addresses, asking students to contact me to make an appointment to retrieve their belongings from their lockers so that we can maintain social distancing and make sure our staff and students are safe. We have also posted this information on our website and on our social media platforms.

It is now mid-August. Our facilities team asks me to send out one final email to students telling them that they need to get their things this week or locks will be cut and unclaimed belongings will be donated or thrown out. At this time, like many other schools and businesses, we are only open certain hours to make sure our facilities team can clean our large building every night. We are open from 8:00 to 4:30 Monday to Friday.

I get a phone call.

Me: “Hello, student services, how can I help you?”

Student: “I just got your email. The hours you are open are very inconvenient. Are you telling me I can’t come in at night or on the weekend?”

Me: “I apologise. I know it’s frustrating, but due to the health crisis, those are our hours of operation at this time.”

Student: “Well, that’s not fair. I need to get my stuff!”

Me: “I apologize. Would someone be able to come on your behalf? With all due respect, we have sent out numerous emails in the five months reminding students to connect with us to gather their belongings.”

Student: “Well, the last one I got was in June!”

It’s taking all of my strength to not ask her why the h*** he didn’t come in or contact me then back when she got that notification. 

Me: “Sorry if you didn’t get the other notifications. Maybe you missed them in your school email? Again, would someone be able to come get your belongings on your behalf? We have given students almost half a year to come get their things. We need to cut the locks now if people can’t come in so we can sanitize lockers in preparation for the new academic year.”

Student: “No! No one can come in for me! And I just talked to two of my classmates; they didn’t get many notifications, either!”

Me: *Pause* “Again, I apologize. Even if you didn’t get all of the notifications, some students have just called us anyway because they wanted their things and we made arrangements.”

Student: “Fine, then! Just throw out my stuff! Just like [School] to have poor communication and no accountability!”

Me: “Again, students have had almost half a year to get their things; we’re still giving you a chance to come in. I’d be happy to work with you, but we’ve sent out numerous emails and I don’t have authorization to just open the school on the weekend for you. I’m not supposed to do this because we don’t have the means to do it for every student, but do you want me to get your things and set them aside for you to pick up in the coming weeks?”

Student: *Click*

The entitlement of some people is just insane.

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