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    Category: Staff

    Can’t Engineer A Solution

    | Sacramento, CA, USA | Sports, Staff, Students

    (I am going through my incoming orientation at my new college. They have grouped us by year and major so everyone in my group is transferring in as third year computer engineers. Our orientation guide is showing us the various buildings around campus.)

    Orientation Guide: “And here we have our campus’ athletic center. This is where all of our sports teams meet and train. Are any of you planning on joining one of our teams?”

    Our Group: *silence*

    Orientation Guide: “Come on, aren’t there any athletes here?”

    Our Group: *more silence*

    Orientation Guide: “No one wants to play football or wrestle?”

    Me: “We’re engineering majors.”

    Taking Artistic License With Enrollment

    | Baltimore, MD, USA | Art/Design, Crazy Requests, Staff

    (I work for an online charter school that enrolls students K-12. The program is funded by individual states, so the rules are exactly what you’d see in regular, physical public schools. A lot of people have a hard time understanding that. Applications are almost always done by parents for minor children, but we did occasionally get 18 year old students enrolling themselves in the 11th or 12th grades.)

    Caller: “Hi! I wanted to start the application for enrollment.”

    Me: “Sure! How many students will you be applying for?”

    Caller: “Just one.”

    Me: “All right, then. What grade is your student applying for?”

    Caller: “Well, is it possible to take specific subjects?”

    Me: “No, I’m afraid not. This is a state-funded program, so it does come as a full package. You would be able to take specific classes through our private school, though.”

    Caller: “But the private school costs money, doesn’t it?”

    Me: “That’s correct.”

    Caller: “Okay, then I want to go with the regular version… It’s free right?”

    Me: “Yes, the program is free as long as your state pays for it.”

    Caller: “Oh, good! I want to apply for the 11th grade, then.”

    Me: “Okay. What state do you live in?”

    Caller: “Pennsylvania.”

    Me: “Yes, your state does participate and will even pay for a laptop for your student to use while they’re enrolled in the program with us.”

    Caller: “Ooooh, I get a laptop?”

    Me: “Are you going to be the student?”

    Caller: “Yes.”

    Me: “Okay, that isn’t a problem. Are you 18?”

    Caller: *laughs* “I was 18 YEARS ago.”

    Me: *pause* “How old are you?”

    Caller: “36.”

    Me: *face-palm* “Your state will not pay for you to attend the 11th grade.”

    Caller: “WHY NOT?!”

    Me: “Ma’am, your state has a cap on the age allowed for students. In this case, the maximum age is 21. If you do need to complete your GED, there are many adult education programs that should be listed on Pennsylvania’s board of education website.”

    Caller: “But, I don’t WANT to do those. I only want to take art! I just want to do the one class!”

    Me: “You could take a class at your local community college instead. Taking a class with us is not going to be an option for you.”

    Caller: “But you already do the classes for free! It wouldn’t hurt anything if I just snuck in there.”

    Me: “No, ma’am, that is not how this works. We are paid by the STATE for each student in our classes. We do not allow members of the general public to attend our classes.”

    Caller: “But it’s ONLINE, so it’s not like it costs you anything!”

    Me: *face-palm harder* “We maintain the website, equipment used, pay the teachers, and manage the curriculum… It is not even close to costing nothing.

    Caller: “OH, MY GOD! It’s not even a big deal! I just want to take art! Why are you discriminating against me?”

    Me: “Because you are over the age limit.”

    Caller: “THAT’S AGEIST. THAT’S DISCRIMINATION. I KNOW MY RIGHTS. YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”

    Me: “It is the same as if you showed up to a high school during the day and demanded to attend their art class. They wouldn’t let you because you aren’t a student and you can’t enroll because you are over the age limit.”

    Caller: “I WOULDN’T WANT TO ENROLL ANYWAY, IDIOT. I ALREADY GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL!”

    Me: *pause* “Then why do you want to take 11th grade art so badly?” *exasperated*

    Caller: “I don’t know! I just remember it being really fun! What’s the big deal?! You got an issue with people having fun?!”

    (This went on for several more minutes, but she was just not satisfied with what I was telling her and refused to enroll in a community college art class because it would cost money. She wound up calling back several more times and her number was eventually blocked by the company.)

    Not Even Technically Correct

    | Scotland, UK | Bigotry, Staff, Students, Technology

    (My best friend and I are arranging things for a short drama play she’s putting on. She needs a projector to play videos in it, so we have to go along to the school technicians to arrange to have one set up. We knock on the door to the technician’s office and wait. The new technician, a fairly young and pretty woman, answers the door.)

    Technician: “Hi, girls, what can I do for you?”

    Friend: “Um… er… Is there a technician there I can talk to?”

    Me: *cringes*

    Technician: *blinks* “I am a technician!”

    (My friend eventually talks to one of the other technicians and asks about the projector and we sort something out. As we’re walking a back to class I turn to her.)

    Me: “Seriously, [Friend]? Women are just as capable to be technicians, you know!”

    Friend: “It’s not my fault; I thought only old men were technicians!”

    Email Fail

    | Denver, CO, USA | Crazy Requests, Staff, Time

    (My phone rings at 6:20 am.)

    Me: *struggling to grab and orient the phone* “H-hello?”

    Administrator: “Oh! Did I wake you?”

    Me: “Uh, yeah.”

    Administrator: “You didn’t get my email?”

    Me: “Huh?”

    Administrator: “I sent you an email, telling you I’d be calling at 6:20!”

    (She told me what she needed to tell me, and we hung up. An hour later, when I was actually up, I logged into my email and found:)

    Email: “I’ll call you at 6:20.”

    (It was time-stamped 6:01 am!)

    Making A Bad Compression Impression

    | Omaha, NE, USA | Staff, Teachers, Technology

    (I work for the help desk at a college of education. One part of student teaching has students taping themselves teaching. Our office checks out iPad Minis for students. We require an instructor to sign off for them just so we have someone connected to the university to call if someone doesn’t return a checked out item. Most practicum professors understand that students can only reasonably hand in 8-10 minutes of video to make it fit on the online portfolio and have decent quality. The ones that don’t are sadly in charge of student teachers.)

    Boss #1: “Hey, [My Name], I have a student out here that says someone came up here and told us that they didn’t need an instructor sign off to student teachers.”

    Me: “I haven’t heard anything.”

    (I go over to check on what’s happening.)

    Student: “They told us at orientation that everyone in this office had been told that student teachers would be coming and we didn’t need our supervisors to sign for us.”

    Boss #1: “I don’t ever remember agreeing to this.”

    (He checks with the other two bosses and neither of them remember being notified either.)

    Boss #2: “We can sign off for you, I suppose. Just write down who your supervisor is, too.”

    (She takes the iPad and we don’t hear much more about it until the day she’s scheduled to bring it back. She’s nearly in tears.)

    Student: “I can’t get my video to upload.”

    Me: “All right. Let’s take a look.”

    (I realize she’s trying to upload a twenty-five minute video. It’s no surprise that loads halfway and then crashes because the file is far too big.)

    Me: “I’ll try compressing it. It’s going to be very poor quality though.”

    Student: “I was told we weren’t supposed to compress it.”

    Me: “There’s no way they can view this unless it’s under 50 MB.”

    Student: “Just do it. I don’t even care anymore.”

    (She proceeds to call her supervisor and puts her on speaker so I and my three bosses can hear.)

    Student: “Dr. [Supervisor], this is [Student]. I was trying to upload my teaching video to the site but it kept crashing. I went to the tech office and they said that I have to compress the video.”

    Supervisor: “No, no, no. You’re supposed to leave it as is. We gave you directions.”

    Student: “And I’m telling you that didn’t work. I’ve been trying to upload it for hours and it just crashes.”

    Supervisor: “You’re uploading it now? How are you going to get your reflection paper on there? You’re only allowed to upload once.”

    Student: “You’ll have to open it up, because I am not doing this again.”

    Supervisor: “You’ll have to call [Professor]; she knows this better than I do.”

    (The student does so and re-explains the situation.)

    Professor: “Go to the tech office. They can help you.”

    Student: “I told you, I’m calling from the tech office.”

    (At this point, Boss #3, who is new and a bit of a pushover, asks for the phone.)

    Boss #3: “[Professor], this is [Boss #3], just downstairs. I would like you to walk down one flight of stairs and down to this office and explain how you conveniently forgot to notify us how fifty plus student would be needing iPads and how you gave every one of them faulty directions.”

    Professor: “I gave them the right directions.”

    Boss #3: “No, you told them to tape entire lessons and load them up without trying to lower the file size. We’re going to have panicking students in this office because you couldn’t take the five minutes to check with us on the proper procedure. I also understand that they can only submit items in once.”

    Professor: “Yes, to keep them from changing things.”

    Boss #3: “I see. So they have to submit a video on an iPad and a paper on a computer magically at the same time.”

    Professor: *silence*

    (In the end, the student managed to get her video up and they changed the amount of submissions each student could put up. All of us agreed not to check out iPads next semester until every professor and supervisor made a video and uploaded it themselves to see what they made their students go through.)


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