Some People Shouldn’t Work With Children

, , , , , | Learning | July 4, 2021

I am a single father with an eight-year-old son. My wife was killed in a car accident when my son was three. My son’s second-grade teacher is the kind of teacher we all pray that our children can avoid; she takes great joy in yelling at children for such heinous crimes as “writing with your left hand” (which my son deals with every day, because this is the twenty-first century and I refuse to force my son to be uncomfortable when he’s writing) or “girls playing with boy’s toys” and vice versa, or “having a nickname that is different than the name on my class roster” (such as going by Katie when the class roster says Katherine).

Not only does she regularly yell at children for these oh-so-dangerous acts, but she also calls their parents afterward to ask what they will do to “fix” their child, and she often belittles their parenting skills. Several parents, including myself, have petitioned the school board to have her removed, but the school board keeps giving her “one last chance” to improve. The school principal has also voiced his belief that [Teacher] should not be in class, but he cannot fire teachers without the school board’s approval, so he’s in the same boat we are.

The final straw is when the teacher calls me with this.

Me: “Hello, [Teacher], how can I help you?”

Teacher: “Hello, Mr. [My Name]. Is Mrs. [My Name] available?”

Me: “No, she’s still in the grave, as I’ve told you many, many times now. If this is about [Son], what is it?”

Teacher: “Oh, well… [Son] was fighting with another student today.”

Me: “[Son]? Today?”

Teacher: “Yes. I have informed [Principal] of the fight, and [Son] will be given recess detention for one week as punishment.”

Me: “[Teacher], I can guarantee you that [Son] was not fighting anyone at school today. He—”

Teacher: “He certainly was! Now, please speak with him tonight about his behavior, because this is clearly unacceptable. You know, you really should find a wife. [Son] clearly needs a mother figure.”

Me: “Goodbye, [Teacher].”

I hang up before she can say another word, and the next morning, I head to the school to speak with the principal. The principal calls [Teacher] down to his office, as well.

Principal: “[Teacher], I understand you called [My Name] last night about [Son]’s fight?”

Teacher: “Yes, I did. You have my report on the fight.”

Principal: “Well, then we have a few problems. First, are you aware that [Son] was not in school yesterday? According to [School Secretary]’s notes, [My Name] called in yesterday morning because [Son] was sick and would be staying home.”

Teacher: “That’s impossible! I very clearly remember yelling at (Son) for fighting.”

Principal: “[My Name], can you verify that [Son] was at home yesterday?”

Me: “I can go get the T-shirt he puked on while we were cuddling, if that works.”

Principal: *Chuckling* “Understood. Please accept my apology for [Teacher]’s behavior. I’ll let you get home and take care of [Son]. I hope he feels better soon. [Teacher], can you stay behind for a few minutes, please?”

I said my goodbyes and headed home. A few hours later, I got an email from the school to the parents of all students in [Teacher]’s class. [Teacher] was finally fired! I later heard from other parents that, while there had been a fight, [Teacher] had knowingly falsified her report by including my son’s name, despite her own attendance records showing that she knew my son was absent that day. This prompted the school board to investigate other reports she had filed, and enough reports were found to contain false information that she was fired.

As of my writing this story, my son has recovered fully and returned to school, and his class is being taught by the school principal until they can find a long-term substitute.

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The Teacher Did Not See That Coming

, , , , , , | Learning | July 3, 2021

My family moved from a small, traditional island community to a bustling city when I was really young because my parents were offered an opportunity they couldn’t afford to miss. This meant changing schools, meeting new friends, etc.

It is the first day of secondary school for my older brother, and he is nervous, to say the least. His name is Natsei, pronounced “Nat-say,” but everyone calls him “Nat” or “Nats” to avoid the obvious. He is in his first class of the day, English, where the teacher is doing attendance.

Teacher: “Erm… Mr. [Our Last Name]?”

Brother: *Raises his hand* “Here.”

Teacher: “Could I ask, how do you pronounce your name?”

Brother: “You can call me Nat; a lot of people do to avoid what I know you’re thinking about.”

Teacher: “For future reference, however, how do you pronounce your name?”

Brother: “Nat-Say.”

Teacher: “I bet your parents didn’t think that one through, did they?”

Brother: “Considering that it’s a traditional name handed down through my family, I would say they did.”

The teacher ended up calling him by our last name for the rest of his time in school.

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Just Try, “I’m So Sorry” Next Time

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 2, 2021

In my freshman year of college, I take an Introduction To The Old Testament course to fulfill a general education requirement. I don’t recall how we got into this discussion, but somehow we get on the topic of how many Christians tend to use variations of “God has everything happen for a reason” when trying to comfort people and how most people don’t like hearing that.

Professor: “You know, I was on the receiving end of one of the worst variations of that I’ve ever heard. It was several years ago now. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and I was obviously devastated about it. It also happened far enough along that everyone already knew I was pregnant. The first time I went back to church after it happened, this woman I had never spoken to before in my life walked up to me, and you know what she said? She said, ‘I’m sorry about your miscarriage, but it’s okay! God did it because he knew your baby would become a criminal!'”

There’s a pause as the whole class “ooh”s in sympathy.

Professor: “You know, I have never hit someone ever in my life, but that’s the closest I’ve ever come to changing that.”

Classmate: “That would have been too kind. I probably would have murdered her in front of the altar.”

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Thanks To ADHD And The ADA, You’ve Been HAD

, , , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: KiSpacePanda | July 1, 2021

When I was a freshman in college, I registered for a basic English 102 course that doubled as a humanities credit. I thought, “Great! Two birds one stone,” despite the professor’s online rating for this class being abysmal at best.

I have ADHD and dyslexia, so I have a hard time reading most times but especially handwritten stuff, even my own. I have an ADA allowance on file, meaning I get some permissions to allow me to take classes and function as normally as possible. These permissions include use of my tablet during class to write notes and about an hour longer on tests.

On the first day of class, the professor strolls in with the arrogance and snobbitude of someone who THINKS they’re getting tenured this year. He starts talking and going over the syllabus.

Professor: “There will be no phones, laptops, or technology of any kind in my class. You will write all your notes by hand.”

That isn’t going to work for me, so I raise my hand.

Me: “Can I talk to you privately about the rule?”

That goes over like a lead balloon and he starts getting snippy.

Professor: “Anything you need to talk with me about can be found in the syllabus.”

Me: “I do need to talk to you; it’s pretty important.”

Professor: “Just say it to the class. I don’t have time to take out to deal with whining of any kind.”

Okay, dude.

Me: “I’m dyslexic and need my tablet to do the notes and read the assignments, and my ADA permissions are on file and emailed to all my professors before class.”

Professor: “Yeah, I saw the email, but I don’t care. You can do the work just like everyone else. You’re not special even if you were in special ed.”

The class goes deadly quiet at that.

I’m absolutely shocked at his bold and completely hilarious lack of awareness and care for his job. I stare at him open-mouthed, and he thinks he’s won. He’s got this smug little face like I’ve just been told and there’re no other options or any way he’ll regret his behavior.

One of the girls in class — whom I’ve never met before — finally finds her voice and calls him out in his ableism and lack of decorum, but he cuts her off.

Professor: “If you don’t like my rules, you can drop the class.”

Classmate: “Okay.”

She pulls out her laptop and drops the class right in front of him, and, taking the cue from her, three other students and I do the same, and we all leave class together.

Classmate: “Do you want to go to the dean about this?”

Honestly, I was really shaken. I said yes and we went straight to the office of the dean of students and explained what happened, and we spoke to the ADA counselor. They took the girl’s statement and mine. They discovered that this professor had pulled this s*** for years but nobody wanted to get involved.

Six months later, I heard that not only had the professor not gotten tenured, but he was fired and blacklisted from teaching at the collegiate level.

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There Are Many Ways To Reach Your Students

, , , , , | Friendly | June 30, 2021

Over a decade ago, when I was nineteen, I attended a college in which the various buildings were quite spaced out through the downtown area; there was no real central campus. This meant that, one summer day, as I stopped to get lunch while walking to my next class, I passed a city bus stop just outside the sandwich shop I was heading for. A man at the bus stop saw me approach, smiled in a casual, friendly way, said something like, “Hey, looking good!” and held up one hand for a high-five.

Call me clueless, but without thinking, I high-fived him back. Maybe it just seemed the path of least resistance, or maybe as a girl who had literally never been hit on once in her life, it was a bit flattering. Either way, it was over in a moment, and I was off into the sandwich shop for my lunch.

Then, halfway through the “What else would you like on that?” process, the employee making my sandwich paused, his face suddenly serious, as he looked past me out the restaurant window.

Employee: “Hey, uh, don’t look now, but there’s a guy outside who’s, like, really staring at you.”

Without turning to fully look, I worked out that the guy I’d high-fived was indeed staring nonstop at me through the window behind me, and I informed the employee that, no, I did not know him, and we both proceeded to act as though we hadn’t noticed him. Internally, I was now extremely nervous, of course. What the heck had I just set off? What was I going to do now? There was only one door to the place, so I would have to pass this guy if I left. As the minutes passed and I paid for my sandwich, the guy apparently did not intend to enter the restaurant, content to just watch me through the glass, probably waiting for me to leave.

Panicking a bit, and having no prior experience with directly creepy men, I chose to sit inside the mostly empty restaurant and eat, facing away from the guy and pretending I didn’t see him. The whole time, he never came inside. I believe the employee kept an eye out for me, too, but there were no further actions taken. After finishing my food, I stayed put and looked at my phone, still steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the guy’s presence, but with that deep sick feeling of panic in the pit of my stomach.

Then, I got a text from a classmate. I’d spent so much time in the sandwich shop that class had started, and my professor was wondering where I was. They were small classes, my professor was a sweetheart, and it was not like me to be late or miss class. I filled them in on the situation, told them I was too nervous to leave the shop, and was immediately told:

Classmate: “Hang on for just another minute! [Professor] is coming to get you!”

And now I must explain a few things about this professor. He is probably the kindest, gentlest soul I have ever known. He once described himself as “Bobby Hill” — from the show “King of the Hill” — a sweet, sensitive, non-athletic, creative child from a family of incurious rednecks. He was fairly short and somewhat overweight, and he kept his hair quite long. He was beloved in his department for encouraging his students and nurturing their creativity and growth, and he was also well known for being a huge fan of a certain very cutesy cartoon character mostly aimed at young girls. He would even dress as this character every Halloween.

So, this is the man who did not hesitate to hop in his car and drive the four or five blocks to my location and charge into the sandwich shop. His timing could not have been better. Since I was watching out for him, I gathered my stuff as I saw him coming, and as soon as he entered, I stood to leave. Together, we started walking right back out the door, just as the guy from outside decided to finally come in. We passed him on the way out and booked it down the sidewalk.

The guy actually followed us, staying a few feet behind, through crosswalks and down the block. After less than a minute of this, my professor turned on a dime, got up in this dude’s face — which was about a foot higher than my professor’s — and spat out, “Can I help you?”

The guy mumbled something and FINALLY backed off. My professor later said the guy had reeked of booze, something I’d never picked up on. We made it safely back to my professor’s adorable little Prius, where I got to deep-breathe through the remains of my scare while enjoying [Character] seat covers and floor mats on the way back to class, and I was about the most grateful to someone I’ve ever been.

I always feel like such an idiot looking back on that incident, and I’m fully aware it could have been much worse! That professor will always be my hero!


This story is part of our Best Of June 2021 roundup!

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