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Firing Up A Passion For Science

| Vienna, VA, USA | Awesome, Math & Science, Teachers

(My chemistry teacher in high school is a bit of a pyromaniac.)

Teacher: “Today, we’re going to learn about endothermic and exothermic reactions. [Student #1], can you hold this jar for me?”

(Student #1 holds the plastic jar that has two nails driven into the sides. The teacher pours a chemical into the jar, and closes the jar with a rubber cork.)

Teacher: “Okay, [Student #1], I can take the jar. [Student #2], can you take this copper coil and touch one of the nails?”

(Student #2 does as directed, and the rubber cork shoots across the room, putting a dent into the whiteboard.)

Teacher: “Okay, that was an exothermic reaction, caused by electricity. As you can see, the chemical is still on fire. Watch this.”

(The teacher pours the chemical out onto the floor, where it continues to be on fire.)

Teacher: “I love having tile floors. Now watch this.”

(The teacher pours more of the chemical into a line, connecting to the line that is currently on fire. The flame starts to crawl along the line.)

Teacher: “This is also an exothermic reaction.”

Student #3: “Um, Ms. [Teacher], you got some of the chemical on the table leg. Isn’t the table made of wood?”

Teacher: “Oh, crap. Does anyone have a bottle of water handy so I can cause a quick endothermic reaction?”

(This teacher also set fire to an M&M, made Dragon’s Breath for fun, and showed us how marshmallow Peeps inflate and deflate in a vacuum chamber.)

Common Sense Having An Off Season

| CA, USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Students, Theme Of The Month

(It’s in the middle of June, and my last day at my student job before I leave to study in Germany for a year. Technically, my shift is over, but I’m waiting for my coworkers to end their shift and close up, as it’s likely the last time I will see them.)

Coworker #1: “So, like, Germany is in the Eastern hemisphere, right?”

Me: “Yup, that’s right. Nine hours ahead of California.”

Coworker #1: “So, if you’re in a different hemisphere, that means, when you arrive, it’ll be winter there, right?”

Me: “…seriously? Both Germany and California are in the Northern Hemisphere. The clock changes, not the season.” *looking to [Coworker #2]* “Did he really just ask me that?”

Coworker #2: “I’m pretty sure he’s right. You’re changing hemispheres; you’ll want to be sure to pack winter clothes.”

Me: “I will. I’m going for a year, but… You know what? Never mind. I’m just going to go home now. Good luck on your graduations next year…”

Have A Problem With A Non-Problem

| CO, USA | Parents, Teachers

(It is parent-teacher conferences. Afterwards, my mom tells me about her conversation with my history teacher. My mom is also a teacher and education has always been important in my family.)

Mom: “Hi, I’m [My Name]‘s mother. It’s nice to meet you.”

Teacher: “Wait, you’re [My Name]‘s mother?!”

Mom: “Yes…”

Teacher: “Then, why are you here?”

Mom: “I’m sorry. I don’t know what you mean.”

Teacher: “[My Name] is an excellent student. She has the top grade in the class and always participates. You don’t need to be here. Conferences are just for the problem students’ parents.”

Mom: “Excuse me? That is exactly why I am here. [My Name] is a good student, in part, because my husband and I are involved in her education and take these conferences very seriously to ensure her continued success in school.”

(My mom continues to outline why parental involvement was important for both ‘good kids’ and ‘problem kids.’)

Teacher: “Oh, I guess I never thought about it that way. Well, either way, I don’t have anything more to say about your daughter. Have a good night.”

(The teacher barely looked at me the next day.)

Can’t Follow The Paper Trail

| CA, USA | Extra Stupid, Students, Technology

(I work as a lab supervisor in a small private college. My lab has about 80 computers split into four rooms sharing two printers. Many students there are very computer-challenged.)

Student: ”My paper didn’t print.”

Me: ”Which printer?”

(The student names the printer so I direct her to the room its in. Thirty seconds later the student returns.)

Student: ”It’s not there. The printer says it’s out of paper but I don’t think that’s the problem.”

Me: ”Let’s take some paper just in case.”

(It was out of paper.)

Stupidity Come In Many Languages

| Denmark | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Teachers

(I’m in Mandarin class doing some work with two of my classmates. Despite being Danish, it is not uncommon for us to speak English, which we are currently doing.)

Classmate #1: *in Danish* “Why do you guys do that? Speak English?”

Me: *in English* “It’s easier, I guess? We don’t really think about it.”

Teacher: *in Danish* “[Classmate #2], [Classmate #3], [My Name], you are in Chinese class! You should be speaking Danish, not English!”

(The entire class giggled while the teacher just walked away, completely oblivious.)

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