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Teacher Intelligence Exists On A Spectrum

, , , , , , | Learning | December 1, 2021

By the time I take psychology class in high school, I have already had a regular physics course and am now taking an advanced AP physics course. We have just gotten a test back that covered the senses and psychological effects on them. I go to my teacher at the end of the class.

Me: “[Teacher], you marked this question as wrong but I’m pretty sure it’s correct.”

Teacher: “No, violet light is a lower wavelength than red light.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Radio waves have the longest wavelength; that’s why we use them for long-distance communication. Then, they get shorter, going up to infrared, followed by red light, up to violet, then ultraviolet and x-rays.”

Teacher: “That’s not what it said in the book.”

Me: “Regardless of what the book said, I’m pretty confident about wavelength; we’ve covered it numerous times in science classes. I could get [Physics Teacher] to check the question if you want.”

Teacher: “If you think the book was wrong, why didn’t you say something when you read it?”

Me: “I didn’t notice. I already knew plenty about wavelengths so I wasn’t paying as much attention to that section, and it always takes me half a second to remember which is shorter wavelength and which is shorter frequency. I probably wasn’t worrying enough about it to think through whether it was right or wrong while scanning over it.”

Teacher: “Well, we were testing if you learned by the book, so you need to give the answer in the book.”

Me: “But not if the book is wrong. I’m sure my answer is correct. I can get you proof if you want.”

Teacher: “It doesn’t matter. If you had a problem with the book, you should have brought it up before now.”

More than half a year later, it was the end of the year. During our last class, the teacher asked if anyone wanted to share their favorite and least favorite parts of the class. When it was my turn, I gave my favorites before moving on to my regrets.

Me: “My least favorite part is that you still don’t believe me that red light has a longer wavelength than blue light!”

Teacher: “Well, you’re in luck, then, because I believe you now.”

Me: *Hopeful voice* “Does that mean I get my point back?!”

Teacher: “No.”

Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, one point on a test hardly mattered. I still aced the class; it was quite easy compared to some of my other courses. But the sentiment of refuting the truth coming from a teacher has always bothered me.

What I found most confusing, though, was that supposedly, only one other person came to the teacher to refute the incorrect question, which implies most of the students gave the answer the teacher expected. We were all in our last two years of high school, so everyone should have had basic physics, not to mention chemistry and middle school science — courses where they learned about light. How could an entire classroom of students memorize the book’s incorrect answer without any of them realizing it conflicted with everything they had been taught previously?

Forcing Cake On A First-Grader Is Chestnuts

, , , , | Learning | November 29, 2021

When I was in first grade, my school organized a long series of events where each class participated in downscaled versions of typical farmer activities. One of the activities involved families cooking a typical dish from the area. One day, a classmate brought a chestnut cake to class for this exact purpose. The teacher invited everyone in class to cut a slice each, but being a bit of a picky eater still, I took the thinnest slice I could manage and tasted it. Whether because it was done badly, or because I didn’t like chestnuts yet, I didn’t like the taste and sat out from taking more.

When everyone had taken a second slice each, there was still some left.

Teacher: “All right, class, can anyone who has already taken two slices raise their hands?”

Everyone but me raised their hands. The teacher brought the plate to my desk.

Teacher: “[My Name], would you like to finish it?”

Me: *Crossing my arms* “No, thanks. I didn’t like it.”

Teacher: “You didn’t like it? Why?”

Me: “It tastes weird, there’s no chocolate in it, and—”

Teacher: “But do you wanna make your celiac friend over there cry? She can’t eat chocolate cake; it would make her happy to see you eat this.”

If you are thinking this is a non-sequitur or something is missing, don’t worry: she actually jumped directly to random allergy guilt-tripping.

Me: “I don’t care. I don’t like it.”

Teacher: *Sounding irritated* “Oh, c’mon, do it for her. You can’t only eat chocolate cakes; you need to learn to eat other things.”

Me: *Upset* “But it tastes bad. I did try it. Why do I have to eat it two times?”

I, and by extension my parents, got a warning letter for “Uncooperative Behaviour”. Even in hindsight, I fail to understand what she was trying to accomplish with her charade.

Pikachu Deserves Extra Credit

, , , , , , , , | Learning | November 27, 2021

One day in March or April, one of my classmates comes to class wearing a full-body Pikachu costume. The professor is just as perplexed as all of us.

Professor: “Why on Earth are you wearing that?”

Student: “But [Professor], it’s in the syllabus!”

Professor: “Where is it in the syllabus that you should wear a Pikachu costume today?”

Student: “It says, right here, for today’s lesson, ‘Come in costume.’”

They show the professor a copy of the syllabus.

Professor: “So it does.” *Eyes go wide in realization* “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, this is why you don’t just copy the lesson plan from the last semester and change the dates without bothering to read it. When I taught this course in the fall semester, this lesson was on Halloween. I didn’t realize that was still in there!”

Those Teachers Aren’t Green About The Green Stuff

, , , , , , | Legal | November 25, 2021

My mother told me this story. It was teacher training day at the school where she’d been a teacher for a long time, around 1970. A couple of police detectives were running a training session about illegal drugs. They passed around some marijuana so the teachers could learn what it smelled like.

Young Teacher #1: “This doesn’t smell like marijuana at all.”

Young Teacher #2: “I agree.”

Police Officer: *Sheepishly* “The sample really isn’t marijuana. We couldn’t locate any in time for the training session.”

It Really IS The Magic Word!

, , , , , | Learning | November 23, 2021

I walk into class to see several classmates gathered around the teacher’s desk. There are several packages of animal crackers on the desk, and my classmates are trying to cajole the teacher into letting them have some. After a few moments of consideration, I decide to make an attempt, as well.

Me: “Could I please have some?”

The teacher promptly grabs a package and hands it to me. My classmates are shocked and begin whining, begging, and so on. I just eat my crackers happily while I listen in on their further attempts to get some for themselves. One classmate pauses for a moment.

Classmate: “Could I… please have some?”

The teacher handed him a package. Because of the way that classmate had emphasized the word “please,” the others quickly figured out that the way to get the crackers was to ask politely, and soon the teacher had handed them all out.