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Practice Taking What You Can Get

, , , , , | Learning | July 12, 2021

At the university where I work, I teach a library research methods course. Since the final exam is a skills test, I prepare a take-home practice exam with different questions that cover the same techniques as the final. If the students can work out the answers to the practice test, they should do well on the final.

Two students approach me.

Student: “We want to leave a couple of days before the final. Could we take it early?”

Me: “You can’t take the final itself, since you could potentially pass the questions on to other students, but I’ll let you take the practice exam in class the day before everyone else gets it, and I’ll grade you on that.”

Student: “But that’s not fair! We should get a practice exam, too.”

Me: “Let me get this straight. As a favor, I am letting you take the exam two days early, but you also want me to create an extra practice exam just for you two?”

Student: “Yes?”

Me: “No.”

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Sometimes A Nosebleed Is Just A Nosebleed

, , , , | Learning | July 6, 2021

My whole life, I’ve always been prone to getting nosebleeds. Thankfully, the issue has gotten better as I’ve grown up, but as a kid, anything from stress to a drop in humidity, to the lightest bonk on the nose was enough to set it off. After being assured by my pediatrician that, as long as the bleeds didn’t last too long or happen too often, I was fine and would likely grow out of it, my parents and I quickly learned how to properly take care of them and how to get them to stop more quickly.  

One year, when I’m about ten or so, I attend a local summer camp. I can’t recall the exact catalyst for this nosebleed — if there even was one — but I’m stuck in the bathroom for several minutes trying to get it to stop. Eventually, a counselor finds me and goes pale.

Counselor: “Oh, my God! What happened?!”

Me: “Just a nosebleed. I get these sometimes. I’m all right.”

Counselor: “I’m going to bring you to the front office, just to be safe, okay?”

Not really given a choice in the matter, I’m begrudgingly pulled up to the front office after I clean myself up.

Camp Director: “Okay, [My Name], I think we’re going to call your mom about this.”

Me: “Really, you don’t have to worry about this. It’s normal for me and she knows it!”

Camp Director: “We just need to make sure, kid.”

I can hear my mom through the phone as they talk.

Mom: “Hello?”

Camp Director: “Hello, Mrs. [Mom]. It’s [Camp Director] from [Camp]. I’m just calling because [My Name] had a nosebleed?”

Mom: “Is he not able to get it to stop?”

Camp Director: “No, no, it’s stopped.”

Mom: “Did it ruin his clothes? Do I need to bring extras over?”

Camp Director: “No, those are fine, as well.”

Mom: “Did he not tell you that these are normal for him and that he knows how to deal with them?”

Camp Director: “Well, he did but we just wanted to be sure—”

Mom: “Well, you can be sure by actually listening to the kids sometimes.”

She hung up and I was sent back with my group.

Looking back, I see that my mother was a lot ruder than she needed to be to a woman who was just worried about my health, but at least it taught her to note my nosebleeds whenever she signed me up for anything else so that we were both left alone after that!

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What If You Hate Rugby AND Running?

, , , , , | Learning | June 30, 2021

I always hated playing rugby. Unfortunately, it was mandatory at my secondary school, unless I was prepared to take a hockey stick home every week, which wasn’t practical on a bike.

That was, until the first games afternoon of the year I turned sixteen. A games master quickly organised a game for the group I was in and cheerfully announced:

Games Master: “And anyone who argues with the ref will be sent on a run!”

That sounded a much better prospect, but I didn’t want to get into too much trouble. So, I trotted up to him.

Me: “Excuse me, sir. Did you mean what you said about people who argued with the ref?”

Games Master: “I don’t know. What did I say?”

Me: “You said people who argued with the ref would be sent on a run.”

Games Master: “Oh. I suppose I did.”

Me: “Please, sir, can I have an argument?”

He burst out laughing.

Games Master: “Go on, then.”

I hadn’t actually expected this to work, so I didn’t have anything prepared. I came up with something like, “I think rugby is the stupidest game I have ever played.”

I was sent on a run. And they never tried making me play rugby again.

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The Science Of Silence

, , | Learning | June 29, 2021

In eighth grade, we have this science teacher who is known for being a bit eccentric. She is fairly relaxed usually, but often our classes get really rowdy and she gets upset. This is one of those days, and to try and control the class, she tells everyone that the next person who talks is getting expelled from class.

A few minutes pass in total silence — from our end, anyway. I — a good student, but really scatty and talkative, by no means innocent of talking in class — spend that time admiring my friend’s ruler, which has “Wind In The Willows” characters on it.

Then, it happens.

Me: “This is a cool ruler—” *gasps*

Yes, I was the ONE KID who got expelled that day — and for a totally innocuous comment! I expected my Mum to FLIP, but for once, she was really un-Mum-like and just laughed it off as me being my usual inattentive self.

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That’s A Fair Question

, , , , | Learning | June 28, 2021

In eighth grade, we had a really young English teacher. She looked and acted so young, a rumour spread across the class that she was eighteen, which, of course, was impossible, but hey, we were thirteen. What did we know? Predictably, all the boys developed huge crushes on her.

One day, we were in class and somebody was passing a note, and the teacher intercepted it. She took it from the person who had it, unfolded it, and read it out loud.

Teacher: “‘The teacher’s really hot, but she wears white socks.’”

Not missing a beat, and entirely deadpan, she turned to the class and asked:

Teacher: “What’s wrong with white socks?”

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