War Is A Cartoon Joke

, , , , , | Learning | December 9, 2019

(I live in Israel where military service is mandatory and there’s no shortage of conflicts. But as a mostly non-political cartoonist, I tend to stay away from this subject when drawing, except for this one time. I am sitting in the house of a thirteen-year-old kid to whom I am giving private lessons in illustration. While he works on the comic I assigned him to draw, I sit down to work on my own comic series, which is about stories from my life. He leans over and reads the page I’m working on. It talks about me preparing to get on a bus and head to fight in a war.)

Student: “You were in a war?”

Me: “Yeah.”

(He takes a moment to process this, since this isn’t something I typically talk about, nor do I look like much of a typical “fighter.”)

Student: *now poking my shoulder with his stylus* “I’m just imagining you walking up to enemies on the battlefield and kind of… poking them with your drawing pen.”

(I stare at it for a moment before turning my sight back to my drawing.)

Me: “You’re joking, but I’ll have you know it was a pretty aggressive war.”

Student: *immediately looks regretful and withdraws the stylus* “S-Sorry.”

Me: “We lost a lot of–”

Student: *interjecting with guilt* “I apologize.”

Me: “–good pillows that day.”

(It was silent for a moment. Even though I was not looking directly at him he was glaring at me so hard I could basically feel it on the side of my head. He got up, threw his hands and stylus in the air, and noped out of the room as I burst out laughing.)

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Undermined By Underwear

, , , , , , | Learning | November 7, 2019

(I work as a part-time tutor because I need some extra cash and I enjoy working with children. This evening, I am working with a ten-year-old girl who is known to be very bubbly and intelligent. She also tends to be very talkative and I doubt she has ever had a thought she has not vocalized. I am helping her through her study packet when, out of the blue, she says this.)

Girl: “I’m not wearing underwear!”

Me: “W… What?!”

Girl: *giggling* “I don’t have any underwear!”

Me: *takes a moment to process this bizarre declaration* “Uh… yes, you are?”

Girl: “Nuh-uh!”

Me: “Yes, you are.”

Girl: “How do you know?”

Me: “Because you’re wearing leggings and your panties show through them.”

Girl: *sheepish at being caught in a lie* “Oh…”

Me: “Now, stop making up silly things and let’s finish your work.”

(We finish the session without further incident and I think nothing more about it, save for chuckling a couple of times at how odd it is. The next time I come into work, the assistant director asks to speak with me.)

Assistant Director: “I got a very strange report about your conduct from another teacher.” *looks more perplexed than concerned* “She said you were discussing inappropriate topics with your student and… and that you are a peodophile? Something about talking about the underwear she was wearing?”

(I stammer dumbfounded at such accusations, but then I explain to him the full story.)

Assistant Director: *chuckling* “That sounds like something [Girl] would say. I’ll have a talk with the accuser. This is an extremely serious accusation to make for such trivial reasons.”

(I worked with my assigned student that night without incident. There was only one other tutor with me on the floor the night in question, so I knew who must have made the report. I am not sure what was said to her, but she refused to make eye-contact the rest of my time there. There’s a good reason men are under-represented in the field of childhood education. It is far too easy to ruin someone’s life with false accusations. Think before you report!)

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Tutoring Is A Science

, , , , , , | Learning | October 7, 2019

(I go to a religious private school up until high school. Then, I go to a public school, instead. To supplement my religious learning, my parents hire a private tutor. As I really enjoy math and science, I don’t particularly enjoy most of the sessions as a lot of the material is just based on raw memorization. The following dialogue often happens whenever my tutor asks something that I get stuck trying to answer.)

Tutor: “Come on, this isn’t a hard question. It’s not like this is rocket science.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s the problem.”

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This Will Week-End You

, , , , | Working | August 22, 2019

(My company provides English tutoring in Japan, and we are contracted to work a certain number of days each month. If we are unable to work but have no sick days or vacation days available, we are asked to trade a later day off. If we choose not to do that, our pay is docked accordingly as we are not working the contracted number of days. [Coworker #1] does not seem to get this. He’s only been here a couple of months, but he’s constantly calling out, and [Coworker #2], who follows [Coworker #1]’s social media accounts, says she’s seen him posting pictures of himself at clubs or in other cities on some of the days he claims he’s sick. Finally, one day, a few of us are hanging out and he starts complaining about things.)

Coworker #1: “Man, I’m so broke… I have to go pay my electricity bill tonight, but I don’t know if I’ve got enough money to buy food next week…”

Coworker #2: “Didn’t you just go to a club last night? Maybe you should cut down on things like that until you’ve got a little more money saved up.”

Coworker #1: “But this job is just so boring! I have to have something fun to do on my days off. But yeah… I guess you’re right. It just sucks that they tell you that you’ll be getting [salary] and then they do everything they can not to give it to you.”

Coworker #3: “What do you mean by that?”

Coworker #1: “You know, they tell you they pay [salary], but then they cut your pay when you get sick.”

Me: “They only cut your pay if you’re working fewer days than you’re scheduled for. Didn’t you call out like eight times last month? How many of those did you use sick days for? Or make up later?”

Coworker #1: “Well, yeah, but I wasn’t feeling good! I’m all out of sick days. I didn’t make them up, but that’s another piece of bulls***! They tell you that you get 117 days off and then they don’t want you to use them!”

Coworker #2: “Uh, dude. You realize those are your regular days off, right? Not vacation days.”

Coworker #1: “What?!”

Me: “That’s weekends and holidays. We get a total of 117 regular days off during the year. Then, we get [number] sick days and [number] vacation days. Did… did you think you got 117 vacation days to just take off whenever?”

Coworker #1: “Well, yeah, that’s what the contract makes it sound like!”

Coworker #3: “No. No, it isn’t. Go back and read your contract again.”

(We’ve been trying to give him advice and encouragement from the start, but between how often he calls out and how unenthusiastic he seems about the job in general, we’re not expecting him to last much longer.)

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The Devil’s In The Details

, , , , , | Working | April 2, 2019

(I work as a manager in a tutoring center. At first, the owner makes it very clear how much she values me, but as time goes on, she begins to micromanage and scapegoat me whenever she feels stressed about the state of the business — it isn’t doing well. She writes me up for putting a pen in the cup next to the one designated for pens, one of the rugs having a corner folded over, and a canister of wet wipes being left slightly ajar by someone else.)

Manager: “If you were detail-oriented, you would have noticed and closed it.”

(She writes me a schedule for the day broken into thirty-minute increments with every individual task allotted a certain amount of time. She does this because I “need structure,” but she often completely ignores the appointments I have set with parents or school officials when she puts the schedule together. Also, she has a very limited understanding of our computer system, so her time breakdowns are often completely arbitrary. I do my best to complete the tasks set, often staying an hour or more after closing, but she isn’t satisfied. She demands that I give her a detailed written explanation of what I have done — and why it has taken so long — because I obviously am not being efficient with my time. One of her favorite things to do is to tell me that she is looking for someone more organized to help take over some of my duties, because she knows that isn’t my strong suit.)

Manager: “You know I want to make this work, but I need to have someone who’s detail-oriented.”

(One day, she lets me know that she’s hired someone who she hopes will be able to “pick up the slack.”)

Me: *cheerily* “I think that’s actually great timing since I am giving my two weeks’ notice.”

Manager: *gulps and stares at me* “T-two weeks?”

Me: “Yes, my last day will be on [date]. I’ll be happy to help train the new staff member.”

(She gets up and walks out of the office for several minutes before coming back and saying:)

Manager: “I— I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack.”

(She proceeds to beg me to come back and help, even if only for an hour at a time, after the two weeks are over. After a moment’s thought — and the offer of a considerable raise — I decide that I’m not opposed to pitching in every so often. First, though, I plan to take several weeks off after my official “last” day. When I come back from my vacation, she says:)

Manager: “Thank you for coming, [My Name]. We were lost without you!”

(She wasn’t exaggerating; they were failing to collect tuition, missing meetings with parents, and under- or overbooking teachers’ schedules. And the new person she hired? She showed up late, begged off early, and demanded a vacation one week into working for the center. But at least she was detail-oriented.)

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