Graded A Bee Plus

, , , , , , | Learning | June 15, 2017

(During my senior year of high school, I sign up to take a class called ‘Preschool Lab.’ It is a class where we teach pre-schoolers between the ages of three to five, and create weekly lesson plans. This class is mainly for students who are either planning on going into early childhood education or are thinking about it. Although this class is a lot of fun and I enjoy working with the children and seeing them grow, the teacher can come off as rude every once in a while if we do something that is beyond her expectations, especially when it comes to their art projects. It is the first day of preschool class during the spring semester and we have two new students who have just turned three years old and are also twins. They are the youngest while the other students are between the ages of four and five. A lot of my classmates and teachers are frustrated with the twins because they do their own thing but they begin to become attached to me and only want to work with me. One day we are working on creating bumblebees and I am helping one of the twins create hers. She puts one eye near the top of the paper and the other eye near the nose. Since my teacher likes all of the projects to be the exact same way and “perfect,” I open my mouth to correct her but when she smiles proudly and is so excited that she put the eyes on by herself, I don’t have the heart to tell her it is wrong. I don’t think it will be a big deal, since she did everything else correctly, so I decide to praise her.)

Me: “[Twin #1]! I love your bumblebee. It’s so good! Well done!”

(As I say this, I notice the classmate next to me look over at it and frown, then get up to talk to the teacher. The twin begins laughing and turns around to show her sister, who also did the eyes a little unevenly but is also really proud of herself. When I hear my teacher clear her throat behind me, I look up and to my surprise, she looks furious.)

Teacher: “[Classmate], help [Twin #1] and [Twin #2] fix the eyes while I talk to [My Name] outside.”

(My classmate tries to help the twins fix their artwork but they immediately put their hands on their artwork to prevent her and start to cry. When I get in the hallway, my teacher glares at me and I know what is about to happen.)

Teacher: “[My Name], you know all of the pre-schooler’s projects have to be exactly the same. Why on earth would you encourage those twins to do their projects incorrectly?”

Me: “They are proud of their artwork and I wasn’t going to discourage them just because it isn’t the same as the other classmates.”

Teacher: “But I expect you to! If the parents saw that their artwork were different from the other students, they will start to think their children are stupid and can’t do a simple task!”

(I have met the twins’ parents multiple times and I know for a fact they would want me to encourage their children, no matter how different their work turns out from their classmates.)

Me: “I’m sorry but they were proud of themselves for finishing their artwork and when [Classmate] tried to correct them, they got upset. Not every student’s artwork has to be the exactly the same as each other and it doesn’t mean they are stupid. I’m not going to discourage them over a little mistake when they did everything else correctly.”

Teacher: *sighs* “I don’t think the twins are adjusting to the preschool. I think it’s time for me to talk to the parents to consider pulling them out and when they see their bumblebees I’m sure they will see where I’m coming from. In the future, [My Name], make sure that EVERY project is exactly the same as the other students and that they are perfect. I’m afraid I’m going to have to deduct points from you today for not following instructions.”

(When we go back into the classroom, I notice the twins are still crying and refusing to let my classmate fix their bees, and when my teacher instructs my classmate to let it go, she moves on to the next kid. When I sit back down next to the twins, they show me their bees again and I smile at them and tell them they did a very good job while ignoring the glares my classmate and teacher are giving me. When the class is over, my teacher pulls the twins’ parents aside to talk to them about how the twins aren’t adjusting, but when they see their parents, the twins grab their artwork and run over to them.)

Twin #1: “Mommy, Daddy! Look, I made a bee!”

Twin #2: “Look at my bumblebee, Mommy and Daddy!”

(The parents look at the bumblebees and look at the teacher, and back at the twins, and say:)

Mother: “Oh, [Twin #1] and [Twin #2], these are beautiful bees! I love the way the eyes are!”

Father: “Wow! These are perfect bees and are going right on our fridge! Good job, girls!”

Teacher: “But do you see why I don’t think the girls are ready for preschool? See how uneven the eyes are compared to the other student’s bees?”

Father: “Of course they are going to be different from the other students! They just turned three. It’s not going to be perfect but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready for preschool!”

Mother: “We are very proud of our girls for attempting it and we want our daughter’s artwork to stand out from the other students. If you don’t believe in our children like we do then I don’t think this is the right preschool for us.”

Father: “Come on, girls! How about we take you out for a little ice cream for doing a good job today at preschool?”

(Before my teacher could open her mouth to argue, the parents grabbed their stuff and left the classroom. Surprisingly the twins did come back the next day and by the end of the semester, they were probably the most creative students out of the entire class. Even though my teacher never apologized to me or gave me my points back, the twins still insisted to only work with me and she never again criticized me or deducted points from me for letting them do their own thing!)

You’ve Lost Your Marbles

, , , | Learning | June 15, 2017

(I am in the teacher’s staff room during break. Another teacher comes in and sits down on the same sofa as me. She practically goes pale.)

Me: “Are you all right?”

Teacher: *shaking her head* “I… there’s something on the sofa.”

Me: “What? Get up and let’s see.”

Teacher: *shaking her head more* “No.”

Me: “What’s going on?”

Teacher: “I…”

(I lean in.)

Teacher: “I… I’VE S**T MYSELF!”

(She jumps up screaming that she needs to get to a toilet, but not sure how she can without running into students. I stare in disbelief for a moment before looking down at the seat. I start to laugh.)

Me: “[Teacher]! [TEACHER]! It was just a marble.”

(She stops jumping around and stares at the marble for a second before joining me in the laughter.)

Teacher: “That’s a relief!”

(Break ended ten minutes later, and as we stepped outside, every student there screamed “I’VE S*** MYSELF!”)

This Class Just Went Atomic

, , , , | Learning | June 14, 2017

(I’m TAing a freshman physics class. The professor is brand new, and since he’s still learning his way around a classroom, I’ve been asked to write up my thoughts on his teaching. We’re coming up to the end of the semester, and he’s had a rocky year, but has improved a lot this semester.)

Professor: “Now, does anyone have any questions?”

Student #1: “Yeah, uh… can I ask a question that’s not related to the class?”

Professor: “I suppose so.”

Student #1: “You worked for the government before you came here, right?”

Professor: “Yes, I did. I worked for the Air Force, and for National Institutes of Health, and then–”

Student #1: “But what did you DO?”

Professor: *quiet for a second* “I’m afraid I can’t answer that.”

Class: *intrigued murmurs*

Professor: “Look, I decided to teach so I could get away from some aspects of –”

Student #2: “CAN YOU TEACH US ABOUT NUCLEAR BOMBS?”

Professor: “Uh…”

Student #2: “CAN YOU TEACH US ABOUT NUCLEAR BOMBS IF WE DO GOOD ON THE FINAL?”

Professor: “Fine.”

(The last day of class is supposed to be a debrief of the final exam and question-and-answer time. However, when it arrives…)

Professor: *showing a slide that says ‘TOPIC ONE: FINAL EXAM SCORES’* “I’m sure all of you are excited to find out how you did on the exam. The median was a 94. The highest was 100, and the lowest, I’m very happy to say, was an 89. I’m very pleased with these results.”

(He advances to the next slide: ‘TOPIC TWO: HISTORY, DESIGN, AND THEORY OF ATOMIC WEAPONRY,’ and the class cheers wildly.)

Professor: “As [Student #2] would say: you did good.”

(After the class ends, the TAs are helping him pack up the classroom. When the last of the students have left…)

Professor: “If any of them Google my name, they’re going to work out that I spent my life improving the design of safety railings. How long do you think I can keep up the mysterious government agent act?”

(We all scored him well.

That Joke Doesn’t Have A Leg To Stand On

, , , , , | Learning | June 14, 2017

(It’s right after winter break, and I’m chatting with my lab manager, my research professor, and one of the new hires. My research professor is paraplegic; I know it happened the summer he was 19, but he doesn’t talk about it much. I’m describing going skiing with my boyfriend.)

Me: “…he couldn’t get more than ten feet without falling down, even on perfectly level ground, never mind on the hills. I was honestly kind of scared he was going to break a bone or something; ski accidents can get ugly.”

Research Professor: *totally deadpan, and gesturing at his wheelchair* “I know, right?”

(The lab manager and I started cracking up, while the new hire looked horrified. My research professor lasted about thirty seconds before he broke and started cracking up, too. One of many reasons he is my favorite professor ever!)

This Teacher Is A Sleeper Hit

, , , , , | Learning | June 13, 2017

(I’m in one of those “smart people” magnet programs. As a result, I spend three classes a day with the same people, and as part of my magnet program, I have a required three classes that everyone else in the program takes as well. It’s the end of the school year and we’re meeting one of our teachers for the next year.)

Teacher: “No sleeping in my class. If you do, you have to do it in the proper posture, with your back leaning against the back of your chair, your head back, and your mouth open. I’ll also be trying to see how many paper clips I can throw in there. I doubt any of you would be able to sleep through my class.”

Me: *being a known sleeper with a reputation for being able to pass out in the weirdest positions* “Challenge accepted.”

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