Left To Giggle For A Punishing Amount Of Time

, , , | Learning | December 9, 2018

(I am in fifth or sixth grade. About nine out of every ten teachers at my elementary school are the same general mix of authoritarian, power-tripping, prone to yelling and handing out punishments for extremely minor infractions, and borderline neglectful of the kids in their charge. My friend and I, both of us students who never get in trouble, unexpectedly get called out by the teacher for something trivial during the lesson, possibly for something like saying a few words to each other without permission.)

Teacher: “Leave the classroom, you two, and stand outside by the door until I call you back in!”

(This is a frequent “punishment” for less serious misbehavior; it’s supposed to last five to ten minutes at the very most — any seriously disruptive conduct gets you sent to the principal. We do as she said, all while thinking how stupid of a punishment this is, since we now get to miss part of a lesson that bores us to tears AND stand around unsupervised in an empty hallway together while talking as much as we like. Ten minutes pass as we stand around chatting and laughing quietly. Then fifteen minutes. Then twenty minutes. The teacher never calls us back in. We slowly realize she must have forgotten about us. Another teacher passes by us in the hallway and notices us.)

Other Teacher: “What’s going on? Why are you two standing around here on your own?”

(My friend and I look at each other, briefly consider telling her that it looks like we were forgotten there, and immediately decide, “Nahhhh.”)

Us: *innocently* “We were ordered to wait out here by Ms. [Teacher] as punishment, Ms. [Other Teacher]!”

Other Teacher: “Oh, right. Well, carry on, then.” *leaves*

(We giggle to each other and go on talking and playing in the hallway. About twenty more minutes later the lesson ends, and our teacher opens the door to the classroom to let the other kids out. She sees us standing there and makes an incredibly surprised face.)

Teacher: “Oh. Um… What?”

Us: *very innocently* “We’ve been waiting out here for you to let us back in, just like you told us to, Ms. [Teacher]!”

Teacher: *clearly flustered* “Umm… Well! Right! Just go ahead and get in the room and get your things. And go on to your next class. And I hope you’ve learned not to disrupt the class anymore! Yeah…” *very awkward expression, plainly trying to cover for her mistake and hoping we don’t realize what happened*

(We pretended ignorance but started giggling at her expense as soon as her back was turned.)

Proof(read) Of A Conspiracy

, , , | Learning | December 4, 2018

(We are going to the library with the guidance counsellor and my civic education teacher to look for information on career guidance. Onisep is a French organisation under the authority of the Ministry of National Education, whose vocation is to offer information on studies and professions.)

Guidance Counsellor: “You should go to Onisep, and you can search in the fields you are interested in or look at the profession you want to do.”

(I type in “proofreader” because it is the job I want to do, but the site does not have a job sheet for a proofreader.)

Friend: “Have you tried [website of a French monthly magazine specialized in training information]?”

(I go to this website and find the description for “corrector.”)

Guidance Counsellor: *looks at us* “Go back to Onisep!”

Me: “But I can’t find the information about the job of proofreader on this site.”

Guidance Counsellor: “But you must not leave the Onisep site!”

Teacher: “They’re on a guidance site! They’re not playing on the computer! They’re not doing anything wrong.” *turns to us* “You can stay on this site if you have found the information you are interested in!”

(At the time, there was a rumor that our guidance counsellors were paid by the number of times they advertised for Onisep; that didn’t reduce the rumor.)

Their Criticism Of You Is Very Animated

, , , , | Learning | December 3, 2018

(My teacher assigns our class a project using a clunky slide-making app that barely functions on a good day. I ask her if I can draw an animation instead of the slide project, and I use one of my YouTube videos as an example of the work I can do. She agrees, but says I have to work in the back of the classroom, and I must record my audio at home. The next day, I have recorded the audio, but I still need to match it to my animation, and draw more stills. When my teacher finishes with the day’s lesson, she tells us we can work on the slide project, or catch up on other schoolwork, so I take my phone and headphones and sit in the very back of the classroom to finish my animation. Several rows away, a new classroom assistant is helping a small group of her own students work on the project.)

Classroom Assistant: *walking towards me angrily, and pointing* “YOU! You put your phone down. Now! You’re supposed to be doing your work!”

Me: “I am, Miss [Assistant]. I’m making sure the audio matches my animation.”

Classroom Assistant: “Pffft. You’re just listening to music. Headphones off! Now.”

Me: *takes out an earphone* “Ma’am, I’m using [popular free animation app], not listening to music.”

Classroom Assistant: *looking over my shoulder* “Really? What’s that moving at the bottom of the screen?”

Me: “The audio track that goes with the animation.” *shows her my last drawing*

Classroom Assistant: “You’re just drawing! That is not an animation!”

Me: “What?! How… How, exactly, do you think animations are made?!”

Classroom Assistant: *ignoring me* “Hmph! Well, we’ll see what your teacher says about this!”

(The assistant scoffs again, and takes my phone directly from my hands! She then walks through the middle of the classroom to hand it to my teacher. Many of my classmates have already stopped working completely, and are whispering among themselves, wondering what was going on.)

Classroom Assistant: *loudly* “[My Name] is not working on the slide project! She’s just drawing things on her phone!”

Teacher: *calmly* “Yes. I told her she may animate her project, instead of using the slide app. ‘Drawing things’ is how animations are made. You know, drawing the same thing, with small differences in each drawing, a thousand times or so? Now, give [My Name] her phone back… *pauses* “Actually…” *a little louder* “[My Name]! Come to my desk, please?”

(I walk over to her desk, where the assistant looks at me smugly. I smile, knowing what my teacher will say.)

Me: “Yes, Miss [Teacher]? What’s going on?”

Teacher: “This is a really cool app; how does it work?” *looks at the assistant* “Oh, [Classroom Assistant], you’re still here? Your students need your help.”

Classroom Assistant: *visibly deflates and walks away*

(My teacher handed me my phone, and we started going through the animation for her lesson. I told her about the animation style I chose to use, and explained how the app works. As I showed off some of my favorite features, she downloaded it onto her own phone. The classroom assistant has tried since then to get reassigned to a different group of students.)

When The Teacher Is The Antagonist

, , , , | Learning | November 30, 2018

Since I was in high school, I’ve made some money on the side by helping my neighbors’ children — and later, children of their relatives and acquaintances, as well — with their homework. This mostly consisted of reading over written assignments for spelling and grammar mistakes, since most of them had Portuguese rather than English as their first language.

Recently, one of the girls I tutor started high school with a teacher who apparently didn’t expect his students to have much of a vocabulary, because she was constantly bringing her papers back with comments from him saying that they “didn’t sound like her own words.” I want to emphasize that I didn’t write the papers for her, and while I’ve always loved learning rare or unusual words and can give plenty of synonyms off the top of my head, the ones she was told to change seemed pretty basic to me — “protagonist” instead of “main character,” and such.

The cherry on top was an instance where one of the sections she was told to edit was a quote from a source she was required to have in her paper! I don’t recall the subject matter, but the sources were from the 1800s, so of course their language was a bit more flowery than how people speak today. We ended up changing it to the shortest quote we could find in the source material, which apparently satisfied him. You can bet there was plenty of disbelieving laughter from both of us at the irony of a teacher having his students dumb their work down!

Don’t Even Think About It

, , , , , , | Learning | November 29, 2018

(I am taking an Abnormal Psychology course. Our professor is discussing delusions of grandeur.)

Professor: “There was a man who said he could turn his fridge on and off, just by thinking about it.”

(The class chuckles. When the professor starts speaking again, his microphone has shut off.)

Professor: “It sounds odd, and we snicker, but it makes you wonder—” *pauses, looks down at his microphone*

(Everyone laughs.)

Student: “I did that!”

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