The Dangerous Right

, , , | Learning | August 21, 2017

Substitute: “You! Stop doing that!”

Me: *looking around* “What?”

Substitute: “THAT!”

Me: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Substitute: *storming up and taking my pen out of my hand* “THAT!”

(She puts the pen in my right hand.)

Me: “But I’m left-handed.”

Substitute: “No, you aren’t. You’re an abuse survivor who needs to learn how to live in the real, NORMAL, world.”

(I stare at her in total confusion.)

Substitute: “Your parents are drug abusers who had nothing better to do than torture their son. Now, it’s all right; it will take time to adjust, but you will soon realise that those year of neglect and pain will ease, and that you have been right-handed all along! *goes back to the whiteboard*

(I kept switching back to my left hand, but she kept coming over to scold me. She eventually gave me a detention, but I didn’t go. I’m so happy she was just a substitute and I thankfully never saw her again.)

A Miserable Teacher

, , , , , | Learning | August 18, 2017

(I’m 12 and in seventh grade when my history teacher takes us to the school library. I see ‘Les Miserables’ on the shelf, and since my big sister in college is in a performance of it, I’m interested, and pull it down to take a look.)

History Teacher: “You can’t read that.”

Me: “Huh? Why not?”

History Teacher: “You’re twelve. It’s way too hard for you. Put it back.”

(I’ve never gotten along with this teacher. He tends to be pretty misogynistic, and when I told him that some of the information in the textbook about Christopher Columbus was wrong, he told me to shut up and follow the book. Defiantly, I take Les Miz up to the check-out counter.)

History Teacher: *following me* “I told you, you can’t read that! Put it back!”

(I check it out anyway — only to return it a week later, after ordering my own copy, so that I can annotate it and highlight. It’s dense stuff, so I start taking meticulous notes in order to get through it. A few months later, I’m reading it in class when my teacher spots me.)

History Teacher: “You’re still reading that?!”

Me: “Yes. I’m four hundred pages in.”

History Teacher: “I told you not to read that, and you’re deliberately disobeying me! Go to the principal’s office!”

(Given that I’m usually a very quiet, straight-A student, the principal is very surprised to see me.)

Principal: “[My Name]? Is everything okay? Are you sick?”

Me: “No. [Teacher] sent me here.”

Principal: “Um… why?”

Me: “I was reading Les Miserables.”

Principal: “During class?”

Me: “No. During silent reading time.”

Principal: “…”

Me: “He doesn’t want me reading it. He thinks it’s too difficult for me, but so far, I like it.”

Principal: “Don’t… read it in front of him, then, I guess? Go back to class, [My Name]. I’m still not sure why he sent you here.”

(Eight months after picking it up, I finish Les Miz, and I take great pleasure in handing the teacher my annotated copy and my two notebooks full of notes on it, right as we’re about to start French history. Needless to say, he fumes, and starts complaining about me at parent-teacher conferences. Thankfully, my parents take my side.)

Teacher: “[My Name] is disrespectful and headstrong. I told her not to read that book, and she did it anyway!”

Dad: “You told her it was too hard for it, but honestly, she seemed to be enjoying it. Wouldn’t you rather have your students challenge themselves?”

Teacher: “No, I want them to listen to me! The textbook is right, and so am I!”

Mom: “Frankly, with that attitude, I’m not sure I’d listen to you, either.”

(I will credit that incident with one thing — ten years later and starting medical school, I still take fantastic notes!)

Having A Psychyatric Breakdown

, , , , | Learning | August 17, 2017

(It is the pre-Internet days of reference books and slide projectors. A lecturer is discussing health emergencies and displays a slide about “psychyatric” emergencies. It’s also important to note that the lecturer is very short.)

Professor: “Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with the figure on this slide?”

Student #1: “Well, uh, you spelled psychiatric incorrectly.”

Professor: “No, I was looking for issues with the approaches to care. And for the record, I spelled it correctly.”

Student #2: “I don’t think so…”

Professor: *turns and stares at the slide* “Maybe… Luckily, this is why we invented dictionaries.”

(She goes to get a dictionary off the shelf, but it’s too high for her. Despite students offering to help, she stands on a chair and retrieves the dictionary, but immediately slips and falls. Students rush in to help, but she waves them away.)

Professor: “I think the lecture is going to have to wait. I believe I’ve broken my foot. Could someone run down to the office and fetch [Medical Professor]?”

(The medical professor shows up, confirms her suspicion, and starts to help her out of the classroom. Just before leaving, though, he looks back at the slide.)

Medical Professor: “You know that’s not how you spell psychiatric, right?”

Professor: “If one person tells me that, I’m going to give a practical demonstration of a psychiatric emergency. Can we go to the hospital?”

(Years later, this was told by Student #1 as a professor at a medical school lecture when asked if he thought the Internet had improved health.)

Your Professor Is Not Professor. X

, , , | Learning | August 16, 2017

(During every lecture, our professor gives us a two question quiz on paper, which you hand in at the end. You would think after successfully completing thirteen years of school, students would know to put their name on anything they are handing in, but alas, they apparently have not learned. At the end of lecture:)

Professor: “Make sure you put your name on it! I do hold it up to the light and try to feel your psychic signature, but if that doesn’t work… it goes straight in the bin.”

Life Lessons

, , , , | Hopeless | August 9, 2017

I am a college sophomore. I am back home for winter break so I decide to visit my old high school to catch up with some of my former teachers. There was one teacher in particular who had made an extremely significant mark on my life when I was younger and I am excited to see her. She’s one of those really energetic teachers who jumps on desks and stuff. She’s teaching a class when I show up so I wait for the bell to ring.

As soon as she sees me in the doorway, she actually SCREAMS my last name and sprints across the room to give me a hug. Her next English class starts to filter in, and to my surprise, she skips the lesson and asks me to talk to them about college instead. We have a long and fun lesson where I assure them of the merits of learning MLA and proper writing skills, which pleases the teacher immensely.

After the class we have a long private discussion about life and politics and such, and she gives me some much-needed advice. I was a bit of a rebel in high school and didn’t get very good grades, but now I’m about to graduate college having been on the dean’s list almost every semester and already working in my intended field. It all goes to show what an impact some teachers can have on your life long after you leave their class.

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