Emperor Of The Ridiculous

, , , , , , | Learning | May 8, 2018

(My state requires all highschoolers to take a class about money management, getting insurance policies, etc. It’s basic life stuff that most of us know already. We used to be able to opt out of it, but we can’t anymore, and the teachers hate it almost as much as the students. The teacher I have it with is a language and literature teacher I’ve had before, so she’s used to me reading and doodling through class and still getting the right answers, and she’s too annoyed by the class itself to bother demanding I pay attention.)

Classmate: “The book report on a businessperson is due next week! I’m doing mine on Steve Jobs! Who are you doing yours on?”

Me: *still drawing* “Emperor Joshua Norton the First.”

Classmate: “Who’s that? I never heard of him.”

Me: “He lived in San Francisco in the 1850s, and when he went bankrupt, he went kind of nuts and declared himself the Emperor of the United States, and the rest of the city totally went along with it, and treated him like the emperor.”

Classmate: “That doesn’t count! He went bankrupt; he wasn’t a good businessman!”

Me: “Show me where in the assignment it said they had to be good at business.”

(My classmate immediately appeals it to the teacher, who smirks and takes my side, on the basis that the guy WAS a businessman, and that would be more entertaining to read that than the endless reports on Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett. Our next assignment is to fill out a fake insurance claim.)

Classmate: “I’m claiming a branch fell on my car. What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m a rancher, and a herd of zombies ate my cattle.”

Classmate: “You can’t do that! Zombies aren’t real!”

Me: “Yeah, I’m not sure whether to file it as an act of god, or animal damage. Good thing I got comprehensive coverage on my cows, so they’re covered either way.”

(Yet again, my classmate complains to the teacher, and yet again, she takes my side, since I am doing the assignment. This goes on until the end of the year, when our final assignment is to give ourselves an entry-level job, find an apartment listing we could afford on that salary, and write a budget for the month, with things like electricity and taxes.)

Classmate: “There’s no way you can screw this one up! What’s your job?”

Me: “Assassin. Or hitwoman, if you want to be technical.”

Classmate: “You can’t f****** do that!”

Me: “Sure I can. It’s an entry-level job that I have the skillset for, and I can’t find a median salary for American hitmen, but I found it for Canadian and Australian hitmen, so I can extrapolate a rough US salary from that, and round down for a beginner. I found a great apartment that’s well within my budget, and since it’s an under-the-table job, I’m paid in cash and I don’t have to worry about taxes or a checking account. I’m burning the building down and faking my own death at the end of the month to avoid prosecution and improve my career prospects.”

Classmate: “THAT’S NOT F****** FAIR!”

(Surprise, surprise, the teacher sided with me again, and told me later that my assignments were at least entertaining to read, in a lowest-common-denominator class. Ridiculous answers for ridiculous questions.)

Happy Birthday To Whom?

, , , , , | Learning | May 6, 2018

(I’m in class. A classmate shows up carrying balloons and some gifts.)

Me: “I feel like it’s someone’s birthday?”

Classmate #1: “Yeah, I thought so, too.”

Birthday Girl: “Yeah, it’s my birthday.”

(We both ignore her and continue musing out loud that we feel like it’s someone’s birthday. My teacher is known for being silly.)

Teacher: “It’s someone’s birthday?”

Birthday Girl: “Yeah.”

(Our teacher then points to a shy girl that sits in the back.)

Teacher: “[Shy Girl], it’s your birthday! Everyone sing her happy birthday!”

(The shy girl has a bewildered look on her face. The whole class of 26 kids start singing the birthday song, and at the end everyone claps. Throughout the song, people get really into it and start wishing her a happy birthday.)

Shy Girl: “It’s not even my birthday.”

Birthday Girl: *upset look* “It’s my birthday.”

Teacher: “Fine. Everyone sing her happy birthday.”

(Only four people start singing, start seeing that it’s not going anywhere, and just stop mid-song.)

Teacher: “Well, now that it’s over, we can start lecture.”

Birthday Girl: “OH, COME ON!”

That Went Down The Tubes

, , , , , | Learning | May 3, 2018

(I’m a teacher’s assistant. A physics teacher has a demonstration that he’s used for years: he draws a cello bow across a glass tube, making it hum, and shows how gradually dipping it in water changes the pitch. This year, the demonstration takes a different turn.)

Teacher: “As you can see, I have a glass tube, a cello bow, and a bucket. Now, we’ve been talking about frequencies and vibrations, and I’m sure you remember the slow-motion video of the violin from last week. I’m going to slowly draw this bow across the tube. What do you think’s going to happen?”

Student #1: “It’s probably going to make a noise.”

Student #2: “No, no, it’s not flexible like the strings. Nothing’s going to happen.”

Student #3: “But remember, we watched the video with wine glasses? Glass can-–”

Student #4: *interrupting* “IT’S GOING TO EXPLODE!”

Teacher: “Well, let’s see.”

(He places the tube in its stand and begins to pull the bow. The tube instantly shatters, and the fragments fall into the bucket that he would have otherwise filled with water.)

Teacher: “[Student #4], very good. The minute vibrations induced by the bow are too much for a fragile glass tube like this to handle. Next week, we’ll introduce tubes of varying thickness to see what happens then.”

(After class, I hear the story.)

Me: “So, I hear your tube demonstration went wrong today.”

Teacher: “Ah, no, it went perfectly. The important thing isn’t the expected outcome; it’s that they got a chance to learn something new.”

(He thinks for a second.)

Teacher: “And that they don’t realize I screwed up a demonstration I’ve done for every class for the past fourteen years.”

Sadly, We Know This Type Of Teacher

, , , | Learning | May 3, 2018

(This takes place in the late 90s just as computers are becoming super common in households, but some low-income families such as mine don’t have one yet. I also have very bad handwriting, which has caused a lot of problems with graded assignments. Most teachers have been understanding, but my English teacher is not. I constantly get bad grades and comments on my work to use a computer so she can read it. One day, she pulls me aside.)

Teacher: “This is unacceptable! Your scruffy handwriting is difficult enough in class, but I will not have assignments like this anymore! You NEED! NEED! NEED! to type them up from now on.”

Me: “I don’t have a computer at home; we can’t afford it.”

Teacher: “Everyone has a computer. Even if I believe you, you could always use the IT department or go to a library.”

(IT does not let students work on non-IT projects in their rooms, and the only library nearby is open nine am to three pm on weekdays, school time, which I explain to her.)

Teacher: “You are just giving me excuses now. I’m sure you are lying! Now, type this up before next week, or I will be having words with your parents.”

(I cannot type it up. IT won’t let me work on it, and the library is always closed, so I have no choice but to turn in a handwritten essay. My teacher keeps me behind and starts screaming.)


Me: “I tried, but nowhere is available.”

Teacher: “Stupid little boy! I will be having words with your parents, and we will see how much of a liar you are.”

(She calls my mum in a few days later with me.)

Teacher: “[My Name] has been turning in some very subpar assignments, and he claims—” *laughs* “—that you don’t have a computer to type them up on. I just don’t believe that, and think it’s simply down to spite.”

Mum: “Well, times are difficult for us, and I’m really trying to save something for one, but I don’t know how much longer that will be. Why are handwritten notes not acceptable, by the way?”

Teacher: *immediate snapping* “What?! How can you not have a computer?! You have to!”

Mum: “They’re quite expensive, and we don’t have the money. But you aren’t answering my question; why are handwritten essays not good enough?”

Teacher: “You irresponsible parent! Your first investment should be in your child’s education. You should have bought it years ago! How could you not plan like that?! Your child cannot pass with this!”

(My mum asks me to leave the room. I just remember a massive shouting match between them. I remember my mum screaming about how she’s struggling to buy food, and the teacher saying she doesn’t care because she wants an easier time reading essays.)

Mum: *leaving* “I’m pulling you out of this school!”

(My mum eventually complained to the principal. Within a month, letters were sent home to everyone saying that handwritten essays were also accepted. A week later, to the shock of everyone, the IT rooms were opened for everyone, and I never saw that teacher for the rest of the year.)

Seeing It From Both Sides

, , , , , , | Learning | April 29, 2018

(In a Shakespeare class, we’re talking about gender presentation in the play, “As You Like It.”)

Professor: “Is sex really symmetrical?”

Classmate: “If you do it right, it is.”

Professor: *dryly* “I’m not talking about f******.”

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