Oh, It Is (Tamp)On!

, , , , | Learning | September 14, 2017

(It is coming to the end of our lesson, and our teacher makes this big deal about us all leaving in silence, in one uniform line. He literally barricades the door with his body until we conform. We also have a new girl, who has been waddling for a couple of minutes.)

Student: “I can’t take this.”

(She leaves the line and goes to the teacher.)

Student: “Excuse me.”

Teacher: “BACK IN LINE!”

Student: “I can’t wait any longer. I’m—”


(She huffs, opens her bag, and goes around one of the tables.)

Student: “Everyone turn around.”

(She crouches down, and it instantly becomes obvious to the girls that she’s using a sanitary item. Some of the boys don’t clock on, including the teacher.)


Student: “I’m putting a tampon in, you idiot.”


Student: *standing back up* “My period just started. I can already feel it’s a heavy flow, and I’m wearing a skirt. Either you move, or I do it here. Your choice.”

(The teacher blushed and excused everyone. He reported the new girl, and she was suspended, but after everyone found out why, a lot of our parents tore the staff a new one, and she was brought back. The teacher was suspended instead. When he came back, he wouldn’t teach our class, but we also learned he didn’t do his routine anymore, either.)

That Opinion Is Always With Me, Always With You

, , | Learning | September 14, 2017

(My English & Literature teacher for my sophomore year of high school tells us we will have to write a research paper on an American person who had a significant impact on American pop culture. I mishear the time-frame and get to work on it the next week, and turn it in the following week. It isn’t technically assigned for another month, but my strong motivation to do the assignment isn’t what my teacher cares about; she cares about my choice of topic.)

Teacher: *as class is starting* “This is really early. And who is this about? Who is Joe Satriani?”

Me: “He’s a famous guitar player.”

Teacher: “The assignment was that it has to be an American who impacted American pop culture. I don’t think this Joe Santorini guy is famous enough.”

Me: “He’s actually pretty famous. And American.”

Teacher: “What has he done of significance?”

Me: “He was a major name in the rise of ‘virtuoso’ guitar playing from the 80’s, for one.”

Teacher: *to the class* “How many of you have heard of Joe . . .”

Me: “Satriani.”

Teacher: “…Satriani?”

(About two-thirds of the hands go up.)

Teacher: “How can I not have heard of this guy?”

Classmate: “He’s a famous guitar player. He also taught a bunch of other famous guitar players how to play.”

Teacher: “Well, I’ve never heard of him, so you’ll have to pick someone else. Everyone else has to clear their topic with me before starting that paper.”

When The Cloud Evaporated

, , , , , | Learning | September 13, 2017

I’m a teacher. Our school has a cloud that holds all of our lesson plans, grades, everything. We are required to use it, and can even get in trouble if we don’t. I keep resources on my home computer. The finished product gets uploaded to the cloud. I’m not technically supposed to do this, but I have had these since before I worked here, and they’re too messy to sort.

My first year at this school was okay. I didn’t have the problem I had with another school- kids being forced to take my class instead of the one they wanted- so, most of my classes actually wanted to learn! My boss was okay, too.

Two weeks before the next new school year, I looked online, and everything had been wiped. I received an email saying that the grades and other personal data had been wiped for privacy reasons, but they wiped my lesson plans, too! This had to be a mistake. I called my principal.

He told me, “We have new standards for teaching every year, so you wouldn’t even be able to use them! It’s easier to wipe them all so teachers don’t have to go through a revision process when they submit old plans.”

I was stunned. First of all, plans can be modified, and it’s easier to modify than to create an entirely new thing from scratch. Secondly, TWO WEEKS?! Two weeks to plan an entire year? Thirdly, I was no longer ashamed of my secret resource stash (which would have been deleted, too)!

After somewhat of a breakdown, I picked through the mess of resources and cobbled together the first semester. At the first teacher’s meeting, I was the only one who had gotten that far.

Everyone Gets An “A”!

, , , , , | Learning | September 12, 2017

(We’re coming up to the first exam of a summer class, for which I’m a TA. We’ve been discussing the importance of study design and accidental influence.)

Professor: “Often, these kinds of things can be hard to predict. Let’s look at a real-life example: when you take exams, there’s always an empty seat between each student. But here in this classroom, you’re all packed in. So, we split you into two rooms. We do this by randomly assigning each student to room A or B. There’s no room actually called, “Room A,” you see, it’s just what we call the two rooms. As you might recognize, both those letters are grades you can get on a test, and we were worried that this might influence the outcomes of the exam. What do you think we found?”

Student #1: “Well… if you’re primed to think you’re going to do well, maybe you’re more relaxed, more confident. So, better exams in room A?”

Professor: “Good! Any other ideas?”

Student #2: “If I’m coming into an exam thinking I’m already in the worse-off group, I’m going to read all the questions carefully, double-check my work, and so on. But if I think, ‘Look at me; I already got an A,’ then maybe I’ll be sloppy.”

Professor: “Also good! Both make sense, both are intuitive. So, [Other Professor] and I got together to study this. We looked up all the grades by room assignment to see what the difference was. We isolated students to switch rooms between midterms and finals to see if they improved or worsened. We even looked into how long they knew their room assignment to see if there was a dose effect. And what do you think we found?”

(There’s pandemonium for a while, while the students argue. Finally, we put it to a vote: 42% think A did better, 14% think B, and the rest don’t think there was a difference.)

Professor: “Despite your votes, the room B students had a higher average! Now… how many of you are checking your emails right now to see who’s in what room tomorrow?”

(Most students sheepishly raise their hands. The rest are too caught up in their laptops.)

Professor: “[Student #3], which are you in tomorrow?”

Student #3: “Uh… 1102? Is that A or…”

Professor: “See, we forgot that the students are just sent the room numbers, and not our little A/B system. So, here’s my last two pieces of information: statistically, flukes do happen occasionally, and we’ve gotten rid of our A/B system entirely!”

(On exam day, I saw that the A/B column I was used to now sorts students into group “A” and group “Other A.”)

Surprisingly No One Was Fired

, , , | Learning | September 12, 2017

(In my school there is always a fire drill shortly after the beginning of the school year. In my very last year, we are a class without a teacher when the drill was announced. Usually we would just leave through the door, but directly in front of our door is the “fire”, a teacher saying fire over and over again.)

Fire: *flapping arms* “Fire, fire! It’s hot; go back inside!”

Classmate #1: “But we don’t have a teacher! Are we supposed to burn?”

Fire: *thinking, shakes his head* “Bad luck! Go back!”

(We go back inside. The other escape route is a wall-door to the next classroom, which can be opened fully, and is usually opened by the teacher. So, of course, we have no idea how to open it. Since we know it is just a drill, we decide to just stay there, instead of bothering with opening the door. About half an hour later, someone knocks on the door.)

Fire: *winks* “Someone’s here to see you!”

Our Teacher: “You’re dead!”

Principal: “Would you please try to open the wall-door? I had hoped you, as the oldest, would be able to, but it doesn’t seem so.”

(We then spent another quarter hour opening the door. Our principal was new and didn’t quite believe in the effectiveness of the wall-doors in emergency situations, especially if there was no teacher available. She was right. Luckily for us, there were no real fire alarms until we were gone and new doors were installed. A fairly large amount of people had “the time we burned to death in class” quoted as funniest moment in the yearbook.)

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