, , | NC, USA | Learning | May 23, 2017

One day, while in fifth grade, we have a substitute teacher. She gets through most of the morning okay, although she misspells at least one word every time she copies our teacher’s instructions onto the whiteboard. But then lunchtime rolls around.

At our school, there are multiple half-hour lunch periods, staggered at 15-minute intervals, and each class is assigned three lunches. Our class has the 12 pm, 12:15, and 12:30 lunch times, which we get to pick at the beginning of each day, and the rest of the 12-1 lunch block we can get out games and crafts and socialize.

Our substitute teacher doesn’t believe us about lunch. She tries to make all of us go at once, which would make the hall monitors and cafeteria workers angry. We try explaining it to her, and  show her the popsicle sticks with names and how they fit into slots on the lunch board on the wall, but she just grows more and more unreasonable.

Finally, she tells one side of the classroom to go to lunch, my side of the room to read silently, and tells anyone who objects to shut up. We cautiously pull out books from our desks and the bookshelves, while the substitute sits down at the teacher’s desk and glares at her written instructions. After only a minute, she lets out a frustrated “UGH!”, gets up, and leaves the classroom without a word.

When she doesn’t return a few minutes later, our half of the class decides that the best thing is to tell the principal what is going on. All fifteen of us walk together into the front office, much to the surprise of the school’s secretary, and explain what has happened.

Turned out, our substitute teacher had left the school, gotten into her car, and driven away without a single word to anybody. Our principal called up the school system headquarters and the substitute was blacklisted from ever teaching in the county again. We were told that we weren’t in any trouble, and one of the guidance counselors acted as our teacher for the remaining three hours of school.

You’re Not Imagining It

, , | St. Louis, MO, USA | Learning | May 21, 2017

In my high school pre-calc class, we had an odd number of students. One day, the teacher announced that we would all be assigned partners for the next class.

I was homeschooled for a long time, and don’t do group work very well, so I asked if I could be the odd person out.

When I got to class the next day, I saw my partner listed on the board…”Imaginary friend”.

I loved that teacher.

School Can Teach You Life Lessons

, , | Miami, FL, USA | Learning | May 15, 2017

(I’m on weekend cruise which is a little different: it’s a music cruise with concerts all weekend, headlined by a famous Irish-American punk band. Also, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Around three o’clock:)

Announcement Over The PA: “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome aboard the ship. We would like to remind you that we will be sailing at 5:00 pm and there will be a safety drill at 4:30. Thank you!”

(At four o’clock:)

Announcement Over The PA: “Hello again, everyone! Just a reminder that there will be a safety drill in half an hour. In the interests of… keeping everyone focused, there will be no alcohol service until after the drill. Repeat, all alcohol service is CLOSED until after the safety drill.”

(At 4:30, my friends and I truck up to our muster station. We’re sober; the same can’t be said for everyone else in our muster group of about thirty or forty people, all of whom are talking and laughing and completely ignoring the young employee trying to get their attention.)

Employee: “All right, everyone! We’re going to go over– Everybody? Guys?”

Cruise-Goer #1: “WHOOO! [PUNK BAND] ROCKS!”

(Various other people are cheering.)

Employee: “Uh, yeah, so if we could just—”

Cruise-Goer #2: *to [My Friend]* “You’re pretty! Are you with this dude? Wanna ditch him? I guarantee, I’ve—”

Employee: “Hello?!”

My Friend: “Clap once if you can hear me!” *claps her hands*  

(A few people also clap.)

My Friend: “Clap twice if you can hear me!” *claps twice*

(A few more people join in.)

My Friend: “Clap three times if you can hear me!” *claps three times*

(And so on. After five claps, the group settles down enough for a headcount and a quick safety lecture before streaming back to the bar.)

Employee: *to [My Friend]* “Thanks for helping out.”

My Friend: “No problem. I’m a high school teacher, so I know how frustrating it is when no one will f****** listen to you and you wanna stab them in the f****** face.” *to me* “Let’s go get a beer and see if we can find [Lead Singer]. Maybe he’ll sign my boobs.”

Employee: “I’m not sure whether to pity or envy your students…”

The Teacher Is Holding Stationary

, , | Littleton, MA, USA | Learning | May 11, 2017

My teacher always wore the same light coat in class. One day, bored, I slip a pencil into his pocket to see how long it takes him to notice. This soon catches on with the whole class, and there are days when he winds up with about ten pens and pencils at a time.

I realized in junior high that he’d probably been onto us within a week of the first occurrence, but it took me a few more years to realize we never got our pens and pencils back…

Nothing To Be Anxious About, Part 2

| OR, USA | Hopeless | April 22, 2017

I’m in my sophomore year of college. I have been diagnosed with general anxiety for about three years, but am not doing anything to deal with it yet. Several things aren’t going well in my personal life and classes. One major problem is that I will get so stressed thinking about all my homework that I literally can not even start it. For my chemistry class, I have already turned in too many lab reports late because of this. One more, and I will fail the class.

I am so anxious from that extra pressure, on top of only having about an hour to write the report, that I can barely do anything but cry and try to keep breathing. Somehow, I get out my phone and manage to text a friend, the only one I can think of who isn’t in class right then. He drops everything and runs to my dorm, even though all he can do is sit there with me. With his encouragement, I manage to get the report done about the time my lab ends, and he also gives me the courage to face the professors. I would not have made it without him. Not only did we stay friends, we are now dating, and he’s the most supportive boyfriend I’ve ever had!

My chemistry professors were also amazing. They canceled the penalty for the late report, and let me make up the lab, on the condition that I start seeing one of the campus counselors. To those three, thank you so much for that!

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