That’s Not How ANY Of These Things Work

, , , | Learning | February 26, 2021

I’m training to be a teacher after spending six years in customer service. I’m late for a meeting with the other trainees, which includes some veteran teachers, because my mentor and I had a meeting that ran long. I finally get to the meeting and settle in.

They are discussing how apathy is a problem and asking everyone around the table their opinions and how they think it can be dealt with.

Everyone gives some suggestions, whether it be better ways to engage students or ways to make the rules clearer until we get to this gem.

Veteran Teacher: “School is like a service and students are the customers. If they don’t like the service, they can go elsewhere. If they don’t like elsewhere, they are the problem.”

There were a few shocked faces and rolled eyes. Clearly, the veteran teacher has never worked customer service.

1 Thumbs
240

The Brains Are Out The Window

, , , , , | Learning | February 24, 2021

I have diabetes and have to take insulin. In high school, I have to stop by the nurse’s office in order to take it, since all medicine must be stored there. We all call the nurse’s office “the clinic.”

One day, I have to stop by the clinic for insulin just before history class, but I know it won’t take long. The history teacher is known to be cool, and since I’m a good student, I know he will be fine with me being a couple of minutes late. I ask my best friend to tell the teacher that I’m in the clinic when she gets to class. 

Friend: “[My Name] is in the clinic.”

Teacher: *Staring* “The dog barks at midnight.”

Friend: “No, [My Name] is in the clinic.”

Teacher: *Eyes narrowing* “The crow flies in from the north.”

Friend: “Mr. [Teacher], you’re not listening! [MY NAME]. IS IN. THE CLINIC!”

Teacher: “The ship has arrived in the harbor?”

Friend: “My friend, [My Full Name], is currently in the clinic with the nurse so that she can take some insulin! She is going to be a couple of minutes late and asked me to tell you! She’s fine; it’s that just someone brought cupcakes in English and now she has to take insulin because she ate one!”

Teacher:Oh! I thought you were speaking in code! We are going over espionage in World War II today, and I thought you were just trying to really feel the subject material! I never submit the attendance until the end of class, anyway, so she’s fine. Thanks for telling me!”

1 Thumbs
574

These Freshmen Are Jumping In With Both Feet

, , , , , | Learning | February 22, 2021

In my freshman World Literature class, one of our units is “1001 Arabian Nights,” not an uncommon choice of study for a high school.

Many of us are surprised by the book’s inciting incident: a king finding out about his queen’s affair, losing all trust in women, and taking a new bride every night only to have her executed the next morning before she can be unfaithful to him. The book is built on the premise of one bride continually telling him stories, causing her death to be put off just one more night until he no longer wants to kill her.

The king finds out about his wife’s affair because he discovers her in their bedroom with a stable boy who is holding her veil, deeply shocking for the original Muslim audience of the early Middle Ages.

Students in the class each have to have their own copy of the book; however, we are confused by the teacher’s unusual strictness about exactly which version of the book we need to purchase. When we ask about this, she tells us this story.

One day, my teacher saw one of her students looking oddly at his book, face pale and eyes wide. He looked like he was about to faint. Before she could say anything, he got up from his desk, shuffled over to her, and squeaked.

Student: “Uhh… Mrs. [Teacher]? Are you sure this is the right book?”

He showed her the page he’d been looking at. Skimming the text, my teacher found what had prompted him to ask the question: a passage about the king discovering the affair, with a long and explicit description of the queen’s state of undress.

The next time she taught that unit, she made sure everyone knew EXACTLY which version of the book to get.

1 Thumbs
351

D***, What A Prude

, , , , , | Learning | February 21, 2021

I work as a substitute teacher. One day, I’m working in a fifth-grade classroom — the students are about ten years old — and it’s story time. Their teacher has been reading a book out loud, and I’m supposed to read the next chapter to the class.

The book is a young adult novel, with a few swear words here and there. For example, a character says, “D***, that was close,” after escaping a bad situation.

The first time I get to a swear word, I pause and ask the kids if they are okay hearing swear words as part of the story. The kids agree that they’re okay with it, so I continue reading, swear words and all.

A few days later, I’m subbing at the same school but for a different teacher. The teacher I subbed for earlier storms up to me before school begins.

Teacher: “Why did you teach my students swear words?”

Me: “Um… I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t teach them any swear words.”

Teacher: “My students said that you swore during story time.”

Me: “Oh, that? I was only reading the story. I even asked the kids if they were okay with me reading the swear words, and they said they were.”

Teacher: “Well, they’re not okay with it! I never use swear words with my students. I make up silly words when I read to them.”

Me: “You never said anything in your lesson plans about that, so I didn’t know.”

Teacher: “They’re fifth-graders! They’re too young to hear swearing. I shouldn’t need to write it in my lesson plans!”

Me: “Mrs. [Teacher], with all due respect, the kids said they were okay with hearing swear words, and they knew what every one of those words meant. I understand that they’re not learning those words from you, but they’re learning them somewhere.”

Teacher: “Then they lied to you! Fifth-graders are too young to know swear words. Now you ruined everything because the kids asked me why I don’t swear when I read the story.”

Me: “Okay. I’m sorry for misunderstanding, and if I sub for you again, I’ll make sure not to swear when I read a story to the kids. I’ll use words like dang or shoot, instead, and—”

Teacher:No! That’s no good, because it’s too close to actual swearing! You have to make up random silly words like dibbydabby or swizzlesticks!”

The bell rang to start for class just then, so I just turned and walked away from her. I never did get called to sub for her class again, so I really hope her students are doing okay.

1 Thumbs
434

Give Students Room To Flourish, And They Usually Do

, , , , , , | Learning | February 12, 2021

I teach gifted kids, and contrary to the stereotype, some of them have academic disabilities compounded by anxiety, ADHD, and autism, to name a few. A student of mine, an eighth-grader, has documented anxiety and ADHD with accommodations. [Student] had a math teacher who insisted that they were playing the system. [Teacher] regularly refused to give [Student] the time allotted for tests in the accommodations, despite begging from me, calls from parents, and being called into the principal’s office.

In one of our go-arounds, [Teacher] claimed not to have the time to allow [Student] to finish tests because of the next classes coming in, and [Teacher] didn’t want cheating by looking problems up between class and study hall. I offered to escort [Student] from [Teacher’s] room to mine, and that was okay.

I set [Student] up in a secluded corner of my room and they went to work… and work… and work. I had students after my prep period, so I warned [Student] that other students would be coming in.

I was about halfway through my lesson with some sixth graders, and I asked a question.

Me: “What were Archimedes’ last words?”

Silence.

Right before I was about to answer, a disembodied voice came from the secluded corner of my room.

Student: “Don’t disturb my circles!”

At least I knew the eighth-grader listened when in sixth grade! And they aced the math test.

1 Thumbs
448