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They’re Just Hearing Your Pleas For Help

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 25, 2023

This is the first semester of required masking at my college. I have a hearing-impaired student, and I’m getting set up with an office that coordinates accommodations. I’m told that the student would formerly lip-read, but now with masking, they need to use a third-party transcription service to be able to read what I’m saying in real-time during class. I have no idea how this is set up, but I follow all instructions and am willing to be as flexible as I need to be.

First, I’m given a microphone that plugs into the classroom computer. I’m a little unsure how this will go, so I try it out. No good; the way the classroom is set up, I can’t access the board without taking the microphone off.

They tell me I can purchase a wireless microphone, but I’m a part-time lecturer so I wouldn’t be reimbursed. I push back on this; I’ll do what I need to do, but I’m not willing to spend money when the university has the equipment. IT provides me with a wireless mic, so it seems fine.

Then, I ask for help getting the transcribers to work with the microphone: in other words, I have the mic and I have the computer, but who is hearing me to type it in? I don’t know what the transcription service company is, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to connect with them so they can hear me through the microphone.

I ask the accommodations coordinator how I contact the transcription service.

Coordinator: “We’ll send IT down to help you with that. They’ll be there about fifteen minutes before your class starts.”

I’m thinking, “IT connects me with the transcription service? That’s unexpected; that seems like an accommodation office thing.”

The next class meeting approaches. I’m there twenty minutes early, waiting for IT. IT emails that something’s come up and they’re sending a different person. The IT person arrives about ten minutes after class has started.

IT: “Here’s the mic plug. You just plug it into the USB drive here, open up this program, and now talk… Okay, you’re good to go. Your microphone is set up!”

Me: *Pauses* “Yes, but how do I talk to the transcription people?”

IT: “The who?”

Me: “The transcription people? The people listening to me, the reason I have this microphone?”

IT: “I… have no idea. Who are you using?”

Me: “No clue. I haven’t been told. Yeah, I thought it was strange that IT would be in charge of connecting with the transcription service.”

We share an eye-roll.

I email the accommodations coordinator right away that I have the mic set up, but I don’t know how to connect with the transcription people. I get no response until the next day.

Coordinator: “Did IT set up the microphone, though?”

Well, yes, but with no one listening, what’s the point?!

I did wear the microphone during class. With no one listening. For the half-hour we had left.

My poor student also had no idea how to connect with the transcribers; this was their first time using the service. Lip-reading was always sufficient so they never needed transcription.

Also, this NEVER got resolved. I never did find out how to connect with the transcribers. The student passed the class, fortunately.

Your “For You Page” And Mine Are Very Different

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 17, 2023

I’m in a college class with an older professor the year before she retires. It’s a few days before spring break, and she’s quite put out about students missing her — admittedly tedious — class in favor of an early vacation.

Professor: “And you just know that some of them are going to end up on Girls Gone Wild. Does that awful show still exist? It used to be a big thing.”

Student: “Nowadays, we call it TikTok.”

He wasn’t wrong.

When You’re Light-Years Ahead Of The Teacher

, , , , | Learning | January 15, 2023

I am in eighth grade, and we have just completed a test in Earth Science class. It was multiple-choice, and I have been marked wrong on a specific question.

Me: “Ms. [Teacher]. For the question, ‘What is the definition of a light-year?’, I answered, ‘The distance light travels in a year.’ Why did I get marked wrong for that?”

Teacher: “Because that is wrong. The correct answer is, ‘The time it takes light to travel a year.’”

Me: “But… not only is that answer wrong, but it’s also meaningless.”

Teacher: “Don’t be rude, [My Name].”

Me: “But a light-year is a measure of distance, not time.”

Teacher: “Don’t be silly. It’s in the name. It’s a year.”

I give up and take the complaint home. My dad scoffs.

Dad: “Does your teacher also believe that the Kessel Run can be completed in less than twelve parsecs?”

He got it sorted via the Head Of Science, and I got my point on the test. The teacher was upset with me, and I still don’t think she knows what a light-year is.

They’re Here To Clean Up The Trash, Not Your Attitudes

, , , | Learning | January 10, 2023

I am a janitor at an elementary school. I have worked there for several years and am popular with that k-1st grade teachers. I have to move to a different shift so I can work another job, so I swap with another janitor that the 2nd-grade hallway teachers liked.

Apparently, this makes them mad, as they start filing complaints about my work so often that I am suddenly and regularly being called into the office. Each time I am asked to “explain myself” I can only say variations of the same thing:

Me: “I am doing my job, but they want their other guy back I guess. They’re even being rude to me to my face.”

After several months of this, I get called to the office again.

Supervisor: “One more incident and I’m going to write you up.”

Me: Calmly. “That’s okay, I’d like to put my two weeks in.”

Supervisor: *Shocked.* “Uh, don’t you need some time to think about this?”

Me: “I have. Their opinion of me isn’t going to change, and I rather save us some time.”

The look on his face was priceless. It was nice being able to quit like a calm reasonable person. I eventually went back to school (as a student this time!) and got a much better job I enjoy.

Betcha Dollars To Donuts He Flunks Out

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 7, 2023

I am a math teacher in a meeting with a counselor, two parents (only one speaks), and a student who is badly failing my class after one month.

The student has no chance of passing after getting a D in Pre-Algebra and cheating online through Algebra 1 and Geometry, which he has openly admitted (to me, not his family). He lacks every pre-requisite skill.

Parent: “This is the only class that’s going to keep him from going to college. He’s never struggled like this. He did great the last two years; it’s just your class that’s killing him.” *To the counselor* “Is there another teacher we can switch him to?”

Counselor: “Well, yes, but—”

Parent: “Then do it. Get him out and with a teacher who actually does their job.”

This parent hasn’t given me a chance to explain the attendance issues, missing classwork assignments, the student’s refusal to take advantage of the five different tutoring options available at our school, and the fact that, although I offer retakes for every test, this student has done nothing to change the situation.

The counselor agrees to the switch, only timidly asking my opinion; I do not think the other Algebra 2 teacher would be a good match, but the parent talks over me.

The student enrolls in the other teacher’s class for a month before I am summoned to another meeting, this time including the principal.

Parent: “[Other Teacher] is worse, and we want [Student] back with [My Name].”

Principal: “Unfortunately, her class filled up and has no available space. We can reevaluate after the semester ends.”

Parent: “But [Other Teacher] just expects them to watch videos and understand! He won’t help [Student] at all!”

Counselor: “That is what [My Name] was trying to explain last time, if you recall, but you wanted the transfer and we made the accommodation.”

Parent: “Yeah, but I thought she just didn’t want to admit a man was better.”

With that, I excused myself and let the principal deal with it, who later sent a donut my way as consolation.