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You African’t Say That

, , , , , , | Learning | September 1, 2015

(It’s the first class of the year. We’ve got a drama teacher who’s completely new to the school and makes a big deal of having studied drama at a prestigious performing arts school in Perth, a city in the country’s west with a significant South African population. My girlfriend, who moved to Melbourne from Johannesburg two years ago and still talks with a noticeable Afrikaner accent to this day, is reading out some lines from a short acting scene the teacher brought in with him.)

Classmate: “But now, my dear, I must go.”

Girlfriend: “You can’t!”

(With her accent, it sounds like something completely different. Quite a few of us, me included, have a bit of a laugh at this. The teacher puts a halt to the acting and walks up to her on the stage.)

Teacher: “[Girlfriend], what did you just call him? That word isn’t appropriate for people your age to say.”

Girlfriend: “Um, I was just reading off the script. See here? It says, ‘You can’t!'”

(She points it out to the teacher, but her repeating of those words triggers another burst of laughter from the class.)

Teacher: “But that word isn’t pronounced like that. You’re getting the vowel sound all wrong.”

(At this point, my girlfriend starts looking like some bizarre combination of embarrassed and offended. The laughter stops. One of our friends, who’s just been laughing along with the rest of the class thus far, interrupts the teacher.)

Friend: “You do realise she’s not swearing at [Classmate], right? It’s just her accent. She’s from South Africa.”

Teacher: “Really? It doesn’t sound like any accent I’ve heard.”

(By this point, the classmate with whom she was acting at the start of the class has had enough, and he goes off at the teacher.)

Classmate: “Hey, [Teacher], you said you studied at [Arts School], right? If I’m correct, that’s in Perth. How the h*** can you spend that long living in Perth and not be able to recognise or understand a South African accent?”

(The teacher just dodged the question and ordered us back to our work. He was easily the worst drama teacher at the school, and I don’t think anyone was sad to see him go when he left the school at the end of the year.)

This story is part of the South Africa Roundup!

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Needs To Go On A Pop Culture Odyssey

, , | Learning | July 30, 2015

(I am doing homework in the lobby while my sister is doing her class; namely, she’s reading the Odyssey. My karate teacher notices this, and talks to me about it while we’re stretching.)

Teacher: “So you’re reading The Odyssey?”

Me: “Yup.”

Teacher: “What part are you on?”

Me: “The part where Odysseus goes to the kingdom whose name I can’t pronounce.”

Teacher: “Are you at the part of the sirens yet?”

Me: “No. Don’t spoil it for me!”

Teacher: “That’s like the oldest book! Asking for no spoilers is like asking for no spoilers for The Lion King!”

Me: “…”

Teacher: *face turns to shock* “You haven’t watched The Lion King!?”

Me: “Nope.”

Teacher: “You had a sad childhood. Did you at least watch Toy Story?”

Me: “Nope.”

Teacher: *stares* “…You had a dark, sad childhood…”

Me: *attempting to make him stop mock-pitying me* “I watched Toy Story 3, though.”

Teacher: “…You mean you watched it without watching the first two?”

Me: “Yeah…”

Teacher: *makes some sort of plus sign with his fingers, or perhaps an X, and shakes his head disapprovingly*

Me: “What’s that supposed to mean?!”

Teacher: *walks away* “Don’t talk to me.”

Teaching Me To Feel Normal

, , , , , , | Learning | July 1, 2015

(My service dog goes to school with me. My medical issues leave me with a specialized schedule in a dark classroom with my teachers rotating out instead of me moving. My favorite teacher is on his way when I pass out. This happens when I come to.)

Teacher: “How ya feeling?”

Me: “My head hurts.”

Teacher: “Well, you did fall out of your chair and it seemed like you made it your goal to hit everything on the way down. I thought you’d died. Spent fifteen whole minutes trying to bribe the dog not to tell anyone if I buried you behind the football field and denied knowledge of your existence. He’s a tough negotiator. Demanded a lifetime of royal treatment for his silence.”

Me: “Doesn’t sound too horrid. He’s a good boy: goes to the bathroom on command, even knows how to do laundry.”

Teacher: “My wife would have killed me if I brought home another dog. I would have had less of a fight bringing home your corpse.”

Me: “Then I guess it’s a good thing I’m not dead, unless you wanted to add a corpse to the living room.”

Teacher: “Nah, you’re not wearing anything that would match the decor and she’s a stickler for that kind of stuff.”

(He was my favorite because he never made a huge deal about my medical issues. Everyone else freaked and made a scene while he was perfectly comfortable joking about it with me and making me feel normal.)

This story is part of our Service Animals roundup!

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Literally Singing You Praises

, , | Learning | June 15, 2015

(I go to a well-known private high school. Before high school, I was in a junior choir that sang at an international level. Since the demand is so high, the audition is very demanding, and you have to re-audition every year to keep your spot. I consistently do this for five years until I age out of the program. When I enter high school, I decide to audition for both the international senior choir and my high school choir. I audition and get into the senior choir but not the school choir and instead go to the open choir that’s also run at my school. The instructor teaches both choirs and always makes a point to remind us that we’re not as good as the audition choir. Halfway through the year, my choir instructor has an announcement.)

Instructor: “All right, everyone, I want you all on your best behaviour. A conductor from [Senior Choir] is coming in to talk to you all. This will be a good opportunity to see if you can improve enough to join our audition choir.”

(We arrive next rehearsal and, lo and behold, it’s my current international senior choir conductor! He gives us a very good lesson and recognises me halfway through. When the class is over, he beckons for me to stay behind to chat.)

Me: “[Conductor]! How are you?”

(We talk for several minutes until my high school instructor comes over.)

Instructor: “Now, now, little miss. Don’t bother the poor conductor. Run along to your next class.”

Conductor: *frowns in confusion* “But aren’t we going to your auditioned choir next?”

Instructor: “Yes.”

Conductor: “Well, isn’t [My Name] in the auditioned choir?”

Instructor: “Oh, good lord, no!”

Conductor: “Are you telling me that your standards are so high that you’re turning down someone I teach at an international level three times a week? No wonder your other choir only has ten people in it!”

This story is part of our Music In Our Schools roundup!

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This Music Teacher Has No Room For Music

, , , | Learning | June 12, 2015

(At the start of Year Nine, my class gets a new music teacher. Although she is a good teacher at first, as the year wears on, she gets much stricter and meaner to the students. Soon, it becomes common practice for those of us who use the music practice rooms to only use them on the days when the teacher isn’t around. On a day when the teacher is in, a friend and I go to the practice rooms to rehearse for a performance we are giving soon. We find that all of the practice rooms are locked.)

Me: *to teacher* “[Teacher], could you unlock a practice room for us, please?”

Teacher: “No. The music centre is being used today.”

(Ignoring the fact that the practice rooms are not actually in use, we go to the only other available piano in the school, outside the music classroom, and start practicing on that. I put the sound down on it so as not to disturb anyone.)

Teacher: *leaving classroom* “I told you that you can’t be in here! You need to read the SIGN!”

Me: “I read the sign. It says that we can’t use the rooms on Monday or Tuesday for the rest of term—”

Teacher: “—and that you CAN’T use the music centre because it’s IN USE today!”

Me: “But—”

Teacher: “What you need to do is go outside and READ the SIGN!”

(I go outside and read the sign, which is one of several posted on the door. In about two hundred words, it says that we cannot use the centre when the teacher isn’t in – Monday and Tuesday – or when it is reserved for a number of school bands – Wednesday to Friday. I give up on trying to rehearse and leave, accepting that we won’t be able to perform tomorrow as planned, since our first and only practice was yesterday and we are not ready. Later on, my other friend, who has just had a lesson with the music teacher, complains to me about her lesson.)

Friend: “[Teacher] split our group up!”

Me: “What?!”

Friend: “Yeah, she told [Other Group Members] that they couldn’t perform and told me I have to do a solo!”

Me: “Why would she do that?!”

Friend: “She said that [Other Group Members] have ‘confidence issues’ and can’t perform!”

Me: “Oh, lord. Is anyone actually going to take Music GCSE with her teaching it?”

(A few days later, I look at the class numbers for my year in Year 10. Only six people – out of a class of ninety-six – had applied for music! And our music teacher was NOT happy about that!)

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