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Wise Words To Live By

, , , , | Learning | April 21, 2022

One day, when my younger sister was in kindergarten, her class had a field trip. The teacher told everyone to use the bathroom before they left as they had a long bus ride ahead of them. When my sister said she didn’t need to go, the teacher insisted. She said my sister couldn’t go on the trip unless she used the bathroom.

My sister then proceeded to walk into the bathroom, only to come out a few minutes later.

Sister: “You can make me go to the bathroom, but you can’t make me go pee.”

I wish I’d had the confidence to stand up to a teacher at that age.

Attention Means Different Things To Different People

, , , , , , | Learning | April 10, 2022

My high school experience was an exercise in frustration for everyone involved. I was in a lot of high-level classes because my test scores were excellent, especially in languages. I never got less than an A on any language test — English, Spanish, or French. Even scoring under a 95% was a rarity.

However, most of my language teachers found this irritating rather than encouraging because I “didn’t pay attention in class” — I drew during lectures  — and my homework grades were abysmal due to me almost never handing anything in. In hindsight, I think many of them believed I had to be cheating, especially the one who refused to give me a bonus point on a test that would have tipped my average to an A for the quarter because I was “not an A student” due to my study habits, according to her.

My mom tended to have to sit on me during the last week of each quarter and force me to complete my backlog of missing assignments just so I didn’t completely tank my otherwise good grades. Like I said, frustration for everyone involved.

I had exactly one Spanish teacher who I was able to convince that I really was learning in class, regardless of what my pencil was doing at the moment. And it was completely by accident.

One day, she asked a general question of the class. I was the only one to raise my hand to answer. I did so, and she replied in a somewhat stunned tone that I was correct. Why so surprised? Because at no point in this process did I look up from the drawing I was working on with my other hand. I don’t think she figured out that the drawing was actually helping me pay attention, but she at least realized it wasn’t hindering anything and stopped admonishing me when she caught me doodling instead of taking notes.

Fifteen years later, guess who was diagnosed with ADHD-PI?

“Not an A student,” my left buttcheek.

Just What Every Shy Person Loves!

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 9, 2022

When my daughter started high school, she went through a friendless phase. All of her friends from elementary school either attended a different high school or decided not to be friends anymore. Because she was very shy and didn’t make new friends easily at the time, she usually spent her lunch breaks eating quickly in the cafeteria and then reading in the library.

One day, her teacher approached her.

Teacher: “I see you spending every lunch hour alone. It’s not right.”

Daughter: “I don’t mind…”

Teacher: “No, it’s not healthy for a young girl like you to not have any friends, so I’m going to help.”

Daughter: *Alarmed* “Please don’t! I’m fine.”

Teacher: *Not listening* “I’m happy to do it! Starting tomorrow, I’m going to introduce you to some of the other kids. You’ll come out of your shell and will be making friends in no time. All you need is a little push.”

Daughter: “…”

She was very quiet when she got home from school that day. She excused herself to her room after dinner, and I was concerned. When I heard her crying, I knocked on her door and asked what was wrong. After some hesitation, she told me.

Me: “What do you want to happen?”

Daughter: “I want him to leave me alone, but he won’t listen to me.”

Me: “He’ll listen to me. Do you want me to handle it?”

My daughter looked at me with the beginnings of a smile.

Daughter: “Do you promise not to lose your temper?”

I’ve been known to blow my stack in the past, especially when someone I love is upset.

Me: “I swear. I’ll be cool as a cucumber.”

Daughter: “Then yes, please.”

That night, I called the school’s office and left a message asking for [Teacher] to phone me. The next day:

Teacher: “Hello, Mrs. [My Last Name]! I understand that you’re [Daughter]’s mum, and you wanted to talk to me?”

Me: “That’s right. [Daughter] told me about your plans to, as you put it, ‘bring her out of her shell.’”

Teacher: *Happily* “Oh, yes! I’ve done it many times before, and—”

Me: “Let me stop you right there. My kid is fine, and she doesn’t need your help.”

Teacher: “But… she doesn’t have any friends—”

Me: “Not at the moment, no. But she’s more than capable of making them on her own.”

Teacher: “I really think—”

Me: “Mr. [Teacher], I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but your help is neither wanted nor needed. I’m going to ask you politely to back off; otherwise, I’ll escalate this to the principal.”

Teacher: “…”

Me: “Are we good?”

Teacher: “Yes.”

Me: “Awesome. Thank you so much for your understanding. Have a great day!” *Hangs up*

My daughter “came out of her shell” just fine on her own and started making friends when she was ready. That was almost fifteen years ago. Today, she works in theatre, primarily as a director, because, as she puts it, “I love bossing people around.”

Language Is Complicated

, , , , , , | Learning | April 7, 2022

I’m working at a summer camp.

Second-Grader: “My dad watches adult movies in the living room after I go to bed.”

Some of the fourth- and fifth-graders start laughing.

Me: “What do you mean?”

Second-Grader: “He watches movies that I’m not allowed to watch because they say bad words and there’s too much fighting and guns.”

Me: “Let’s call them ‘grown-up movies,’ instead. ‘Adult movies’ means something really bad.”

In Fairness, “Shades Of Gray” Has Been An Expression For Decades

, , , , , | Learning | April 2, 2022

When I was in fourth grade, we had to write a poem about a color. I did green, and the title was 50 Shades Of Green.

I didn’t know what 50 Shades Of Gray was, and I had just heard someone mention the title somewhere.

My mom had to write my teacher a letter explaining this.