This Teacher’s Confusion Will Make You Sweat

, , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2020

My private school has some strange rules about sweaters and jackets that students can wear in the building. They have to be in school colors, they can’t be sweatshirts, they can’t be “outdoor jackets,” they can’t have any kind of logo, and only sweaters can have a zipper.

My mother and I find a sweater at the beginning of sixth grade that seems to fit the bill. I get it approved by the lead middle school teacher — my science teacher — and wear it all winter with no problems.

The next winter, I bring it out again on the first cold day. I go to my first couple of classes with no issues. Then, I get to computer class, where there’s a new teacher. He’s very strict. A few minutes into class, he calls me up to his desk. Please note that I’m a very quiet, sensitive kid who literally never gets into any kind of trouble at school.

Me: “Yes, sir?”

He hands me a dress code and detention slip. I stare at him, mouth agape.

Me: “But… why?”

Teacher: “No zippers on sweaters, [My Name].”

Me: “But… but I wore this all last year! And [Science Teacher] said—”

Teacher: “I know you don’t ever get in trouble around here, but you need to learn that the rules apply to you, too. Sit down.”

I walk back to my desk in tears. My nearby classmates get up to sympathize until the teacher death-glares them and they return to their seats. I put my head down on the desk. I sit near the front, so I overhear the teacher making a call.

Teacher: “Hi, [Science Teacher]? It’s [Teacher], and I have a problem.” *Pause* “I have a student crying in my class because of a dress code detention.” *Pause* “[My Name].” *Pause* “Yes, really! She’s not immune to rules.” *Pause* “Sweater with a zipper.” *Pause* “Yes, it’s in school colors.” *Pause* “Yes.” *Pause* “Oh.” *Pause* “How was I supposed to know that?” *Pause* “Okay, okay, okay! I didn’t know.” *Pause* “Yes, I will.” *Pause* “Bye.”

He hangs up and calls me back up. I shuffle back up to his desk, still sniffling.

Teacher: “Give me the dress code and detention slips, please.”

I hand it over. He rips it up and throws it in the trash.

Teacher: “And I do owe you an apology. [Science Teacher] explained the dress code to me. I didn’t realize that this sweater was approved. I’m sorry. Please stop crying…”

I sat down. He didn’t issue any more dress codes the rest of the year. When I got to science class, my teacher pulled me aside to assure me again that I didn’t have detention.

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