Principal Needs To Get With The Program

, , , , | Learning | October 18, 2017

(It’s back-to-school week, and we parents are all listening to a presentation by the teachers about what the school year will be like for our kids. One of the parents asks what the program is like, and the principal replies.)

Principal: “You can go see on our website. We have all the program detailed there in really simple terms, using words even you can understand, as parents: nothing too complicated, no difficult words…”

(She went on and on, explaining how they dumbed down the vocabulary for us. This is a private school; all the parents are high-powered CEOs, bankers, and doctors. I had a good laugh.)

Boy Bothered By Bonus Brother

, , , , | Learning | October 17, 2017

(It’s “Meet the Teachers” night at the high school. Due to a large age gap with our children, we are attending for the first time in a long time. We get to the language teacher’s classroom. He was a favorite with my older children and their friends. The teacher loved these kids, and has an awesome sense of humor.)

Teacher #1: “Welcome. My name is Mr. [Teacher #1], and I teach languages. This should be the parents of the first year German students. It looks like you are all new to the school, correct?” *notices us* “Oh! No, I see some repeat offenders.”

Me: “Yes, you do. I should start by saying I’m sorry. I let my son spend his summer with his brothers and Mr. [Teacher #2]. I’m really sorry.”

Teacher #1: “You should be. He’s been telling horrible jokes and repeating terrible things.”

Me: “Yeah, I suspected as much.”

Teacher #1: “You really shouldn’t have let him spend time with them.”

Husband: “We know, but it’s hard, since he lives in the same house as his brothers.”

Teacher #1: “And Mr. [Teacher #2]? You really owe me for that.”

Husband: “Well, he is our bonus kid.”

Teacher #1: “Fine. But be aware; I take cash, checks, credit cards…”

(We laughed and he turned to look at the rest of the room. All of the new parents were staring and looking very worried. That was the day I realized my kid went to school with the children of humorless people.)

Getting All Goggle-Eyed Over Your Lack Of Pants

, , , , , , | Learning | October 17, 2017

(There’s one guy in my chemistry class who behaves so that we can never tell if he’s being funny or just stupid. It’s usually a mix of both. We are taking a test.)

Question #8: “Which item does the safety contract mandate you wear at all times during a lab? A) goggles B) lab coats C) flip flops D) pants.”

Student #1: *walks up to [Teacher]* “Hey, [Teacher], what’s the answer to number eight?”

Teacher: “We’re in the middle of a test, [Student #1]. I can’t just GIVE you the answer!”

Student #1: “But [Teacher], I honestly can’t tell. Are you sure it’s not a trick question?”

Teacher: *takes test, reads over question* “This is obvious! Did you even read the safety contract?!”

(At this point, the entire class has stopped taking the test to listen to the argument, which is by no means quiet.)

Student #1: “Well, you need to wear goggles, but pants are important!”

Teacher: “Which item is implicitly stated on the contract, [Student #1]?”

Student #1: “But pants are more important than goggles!”

Teacher: *mentally head-desking* “Seriously?! Tell me why you need to wear pants, specifically, in a lab environment.”

Student #1: “I won’t be allowed into school without them, and they’ll protect my legs if I spill chemicals on them, like this!”

(He then proceeds to march back to his table, backhand [Student #2]’s water bottle, and send it flying across the room, spilling partway on [Student #2] in the process.)

Teacher: “Now all you’ve done is spill the chemicals all over [Student #2]’s legs, not yours, AND spilled his water bottle!”

Student #1: “So, he needed pants more than goggles!”

Teacher: “No! That wouldn’t happen unless he worked with someone especially clumsy during his lab, and most people take the chemicals and put the beaker up to their face to measure or examine them!”

([Teacher] grabs an empty, clean beaker from her desk and demonstrates by putting the exposed end close to her eye.)

Teacher: “If you don’t have goggles, you may go blind if you slosh the liquid out of the container!”

Student #1: “But if you -”

Teacher: “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE ANSWER IS GOGGLES! NOW PLEASE SIT DOWN AND FINISH YOUR TEST!”

(The entire class starts cracking up, and [Student #1] walks back to his desk in defeat. The next day:)

Teacher’s Aide: *wasn’t here yesterday* “So, this goggles vs. pants question–“

Teacher: “NO.”

(The entire class cracked up again.)

Time To Adopt Plan B

, , , , | Learning | October 16, 2017

(I balance my course load like this: Every semester I choose the highest-intensity class that I can get access to, and balance that class out with the lowest-intensity class available to me toward my degree. That way, I have a consistent workload all four years — I have half of my classes that require a lot of focus and time, while I can breeze through the other half of my work, instead of knocking out classes “in order” and burning myself out by junior and senior year with an increasingly difficult workload with no break. Because I did this, by my last year I am frequently the only senior in a 100-level class full of freshman, like this particular class. I have known this professor for over three years, while my classmates were meeting him for the first time. The professor assigns us into groups for a project with a loose schedule for presentations to be finished over the next two class periods. The day of the first presentations, many of us are in the classroom early before the professor arrives, and I hear muttering all around the room.)

Student #1: “Uh, hey, we’re not ready to present today; can we switch with you and go Thursday instead?”

Student #2:No! We’re not ready, either. Maybe Group D wants to go—”

Student #3: “No way! We’re scheduled to go Thursday, and we need that extra time!”

Me: “Oh, for Pete’s sake.” *addresses the whole room* “Who’s ready to present today?”

(One kid puts his hand up slowly, but his partner slaps it down. No other hands raise.)

Me: “All right, guys, I’ve got this. Watch and learn.”

(Everyone settles down in their seats and the professor arrives in the room.)

Me: “Hey, [Professor’s First Name], does [Professor’s Son] know he’s adopted?”

(The professor whips his head at me with a scandalized look on his face, and the class freezes, wondering what h*** I unleashed.)

Professor: “Does he… know? Are you serious? Of course he knows! He’s black! Look at me; I’m white and Jewish! And you’ve seen my wife… well…” *turns to class* “—you guys don’t know my wife, but [My Name] took my wife’s class last semester. She’s Irish! [Son] knows he’s adopted; are you crazy?”

Student: “Wait, you have an adopted son?”

Professor: *beaming* “Yeah! Actually two of our kids are adopted…”

(My professor then goes off on a string of stories about the foster kids he and his wife have raised and the two they’ve adopted and how much of a nightmare the foster system is, their biological kids, a few trips to Ireland they’ve taken as a family, and several anecdotes about the kids in general.)

Professor: “Oh! D*** it, it’s already 2:30. Who was supposed to present today? Well, we’ve got fifteen minutes left… Nah, screw it. I don’t want to rush you guys presenting; there won’t be time for feedback discussion after if we do that now. Tell you what. I’m shifting everyone forward a day; we’ll just cut class early. See you Thursday!”

(As we filtered out of the classroom, the “kids” and I exchanged a nod.)

Their Writing Is A Write-Off

, , , , , | Learning | October 14, 2017

I am a writer for a magazine with a large, general audience. We publish a lot of profiles of college professors, and we always send them the final draft for “source review.” They can make sure their information is correct and that they are okay with any speech quotes that we’ve included. Many forget that the magazine’s writers are not their students and return the drafts without doing what we ask, but instead leaving comments, adding citations, and applying academic styles.

One took the cake, though.

I sent the profile for his review and he returned it with large sections completely cut, others rewritten to match his diction, footnotes added, and longer quotes from him that constituted half of the piece. It was essentially a list of block-quotes with a few citations and PhD-level vocabulary. To top it off, he sent me the document in an email that said, “Don’t be worried about using my writing; I don’t mind!”

We did not use his writing, his footnotes, or his giant block-quotes.