A Fun Update To “My Dog Ate It”

, , , , , , , , | Learning | June 22, 2020

The one time I don’t turn in my work for my senior English class, I have a legitimate excuse. 

Teacher: “Where’s your homework?”

Me: “My cat dragged it into the other room, and…”

I don’t know how to say that she peed on it. 

Teacher: “Half points! Best excuse I’ve ever heard!”

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This Teacher’s People Skills Are A Bit Flabby

, , , , , | Learning | June 21, 2020

I’m in PE class. I am not a very sports-inclined student. I’m struggling to shoot a basketball into the hoop, so I ask my PE teacher for help.

In response to this, she reaches out, squeezes my upper arm, and shakes her head.

PE Teacher: “Not much up here, is there?”

I was speechless. I did not ask this teacher for help again.

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Follow Your Dreams! Just Not Those…

, , , , | Learning | June 19, 2020

I am in the “Gifted And Talented” program in my school. Everyone in this program is expected to study more “academic” subjects. There’s an assembly that those in the program are meant to attend about university, which is years away for us; I haven’t even decided whether I want to go yet.

I happen to arrive first and see a teacher who I haven’t spoken to properly in a while.

Teacher: “Oh, hello, [My Name]! How are you?”

We exchange pleasantries.

Teacher: “So, what GCSEs are you taking?”

Me: “Well, I’m taking Computer Science, French—”

She nods approvingly.

Me: “—and then Drama and Fine Art. Those are my real passions, and I love studying them.”

When I mention the arts, she gives me a shocked and horrified look.

Teacher: *Waveringly* “Oh, that’s nice, dear… What are you thinking about for university?”

Me: “I haven’t really decided. If I do go, I’ll be studying the arts, of course. I most likely won’t go to any of the more famous ones, and I may not even go at all. I’m not too sure if it’s really for me. I want to go into freelance illustration when I’m older, and maybe performance work, too.”

As I spoke, her shocked and horrified expression grew more and more comically intense, and when I finished speaking, she excused herself from the room. Perhaps she’d prefer it if I wanted to be a software engineer.

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God Forbid A Teenager Changes Their Mind About Their Future

, , , , | Learning | June 18, 2020

I’m a seventeen-year-old student about to do my A levels. I’m having a career consultation with a teacher from school. For impartiality’s sake, students are assigned a teacher they do not or barely know.

Teacher: “I see that you have put medicine down as your first choice. Strange. I thought that you had previously expressed zero interest in medicine.”

Me: “Things are different now. I’m now serious about pursuing medicine.”

Teacher: “Are you sure about this? I’ve had students say they want to do medicine because their parents forced them to.”

Me: “I understand, but I will have you know that I’m committed.”

Teacher: “That’s what they all say. Are you sure this is your decision? You don’t need to follow your parents’ will, you know.”

Me: “Doesn’t matter. I will admit that my parents are involved, but I agree with their decision to pursue medicine. It makes the most sense.”

Teacher: “I see here on your entrance interview for this school that you expressed an interest in accounting. Are you sure that you are willing to change that? You don’t have to obey your parents, you know.”

Me: “Yes. I selected accounting back then as it seemed like the path of least resistance. Times have changed since then. Now, medicine is the path of least resistance.”

Teacher: “May I ask what prompted you to change your mind? And what do you mean by ‘path of least resistance’?”

Me: “I haven’t found a job I particularly like, so I’m selecting the job that I hate the least. If I enter medicine, I will be able to inherit the family clinic within a decade. Then, I just need to cruise along until retirement. No need for pain or suffering. No need to worry about losing my job or being fired. As long as I don’t mess anything up, I’ll be set for life.”

Teacher: “That seems like a superficial thing. What’s your passion in life? Are you sure you can endure all that work just for a job you don’t like?”

Me: “Sir, I now realise there’s a cultural difference at play. I’m Asian. A job for us isn’t about following our passions or doing what we want. It’s about earning money. What money we earn can be spent on our passions as hobbies.”

The teacher opens his mouth to speak.

Me: “Case in point: my oldest cousin was set up to inherit the very clinic I mentioned. He completed a full medical degree and threw that all away to pursue his passion of being a dance instructor. He was literally disowned and is now destitute. I really don’t want to be disowned.”

Teacher: “But surely you don’t want to work a job you hate? Can’t someone else inherit the clinic?”

Me: “Who else will? My older cousins already have stable jobs in different fields. My siblings lack the grades to become a doctor and my younger cousins live in different countries. I’m the last one left. It’s my duty to keep the family business going.”

Teacher: “You don’t need to listen to your family. And they’re just bluffing. They won’t disown you. Surely you don’t need to do a job you don’t have a passion for. Are there any jobs you have a passion for?”

Me: “If I had a choice, I’d laze around all day doing nothing, but I don’t have a choice. My family needs an heir and I don’t want to be disowned. And yes, they can and will disown me. I’m becoming a doctor and inheriting that clinic. No matter what.”

Teacher: “Yes, but surely we can find a job you have a passion for.”

I’m really frustrated with him.

Me: “I’ve made up my mind and nothing can change it. Don’t try to convince me otherwise. No offense, but I’m going to find another teacher for career consultation.” *Gets up to leave* “Thank you for your time, sir.”

In the end, he wrote a report that, while quoting me verbatim, twisted my words the worst way possible. It severely torpedoed my medical career. It took me three years of hard work just to overcome it and get into a medicine course at university. I’m now a medical student and have since realized I like medicine more than I ever thought I would.

I get that following one’s passions is the western way, but that doesn’t mean it’s the way I want to follow. Asians have their own way, as well, but you won’t see me forcing it on others. The other teachers I spoke to were supportive of me, even if they disagreed, so how come it was so difficult for [Teacher] to do so?

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Teacher-Parent-Principal Relations Are Hardly Elementary

, , , , , , | Learning | June 17, 2020

At one point in my career, my family and I were moved to an oil town in west Texas. There were lots of non-natives constantly moving into and out of the city; we contrasted with the locals who’d been there for years. At first, it seemed there were no issues, but I turned out to be wrong.

We lived in a higher-income part of town primarily for the elementary school. We moved in the summer and our daughter entered second grade on time. There were three second-grade teachers of about equal and above-average ability so we would have been happy with any of them. My daughter had a great year.

Third grade was a different story. As with second grade, there were three teachers. One was roughly equivalent of the ones we’d had before and she’d be fine. One of them was God’s gift to education. Her classes did enormously creative things, homework was both practical and fun, and people would kill to get in her class.

The third teacher, though, was the antithesis of the great one. Her classes were dull, kids learned little, and she tended to belittle her students. She was colloquially known as “The Blonde-Haired Witch” and we wanted to avoid her like the plague.

My wife had spent our daughter’s second-grade year volunteering at the school and got to be friendly with the office staff. Knowing what she knew, she tried to ensure that our daughter got into the great teacher’s class, or at least avoided the BHW. Alas, the principal got wind of what she was trying to do and called her into his office.

The principal was a weaselly piece of work. He had a Ph.D. in education from one of the lesser universities in the state and insisted upon being referred to as “Doctor [Principal],” which gives you an idea of the pomposity of the man. He laid into my wife, informing her in no uncertain terms that the class lists would be put together in late July and she wasn’t to ask about it again.

My wife was humiliated and angry, and got even more so when one of the office staff took her aside and told her in confidence that the super teacher’s class for the next year was already set; all the students were children of the local movers and shakers, with no one with our transient status allowed.

To make things worse, our daughter ended up with the BHW. We ended up pulling her out and homeschooling her for a year before moving again.

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