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    Gives Teaching A Bad Name

    | IL, USA | Bigotry, Teachers

    (It is my first ever day of school. My name is a common Spanish name.)

    Teacher: “[My name]?”

    Me: “Here!”

    Teacher: “Oh, no sweetie! I asked for [My Name].”

    Me: “But that is my name!”

    Teacher: “No, dear, that’s a [racial slur for Mexicans] name, and you’re not a [racial slur].”

    Me: “But that’s my name!”

    Teacher: “No, it’s not. Now, what’s your name?”

    (I keep trying, but the teacher refuses to believe me. Parents’ night is that Wednesday, and my parents attend.)

    Mom: “Hello. We’re [My Name]’s parents. I understand you don’t think that’s her name?”

    Teacher: “Well, she’s not a [slur]!”

    Mom: “Have you met my husband?”

    (My Polish mother gestures to her husband, my father, a six-foot, dark-haired, brown-skinned, Mexican. His family crossed over the Rio Grande shortly after the Civil War to work the railroads, settled in Texas, and have been there for at least four generations. All five of his children take after their mother. The teacher at this point is looking pale.)

    Teacher: “I… uh…”

    Dad: “My daughter’s name is [My Name] and she is not a [racial slur]! None of my children are! And if I ever hear you call her or any of them that again, you will deal with me!”

    (Sadly, as the only child with a Spanish name, I had to put up with this same routine, as well as other prejudices from the rest of the village, until seventh grade, when the family relocated to Florida.)

    Teaching These Students Will Be A Battle

    | USA | Extra Stupid, History, Students

    (I am a student teacher in a first grade classroom. I’m leading a book group, and we are about to start reading ‘Revolutionary War on Wednesday’ by Mary Pope Osbourne. I’m trying to see how much about the war I have to explain so they have some context for the story.)

    Me: “What do you guys know about the Revolutionary War?”

    Student #1: *in a “duh” voice* “Well, it happened on a Wednesday.”

    Student #2: “Yeah, in the 1900′s, I think.”

    Student #3: “And we beat the Russians!”

    About To Go To Wario

    | Milwaukee, WI, USA | Geeks Rule, Teachers

    (I’m doing a long-term subbing assignment for a kindergarten class. While practicing a writing exercise, this conversation follows:)

    Student #1: “I’m gonna be Mario!”

    Student #2: “No, I wanna be Mario!”

    Me: “Well, let’s try this: Whoever finishes writing those h-words gets to choose who gets to be Mario and who gets to be Luigi.”

    (The kids do their work and there’s a little bit of time left. By this time, everyone is a certain Mario character, except for me.)

    Me: “So, if you’re Mario, he’s Luigi, he’s Toad, he’s Yoshi, and she’s Princess Peach, then who do I get to be?”

    Student #1: *thinks for a moment* “Bowser!”

    Was Born Back In The Future

    | Seattle, WA, USA | Field Trip, Movies & TV

    (We are on a field trip to a court room in the late 1980s.)

    Bailiff: “All rise for the Honorable Michael J. Fox.”

    Judge: “Okay, everyone. Thanks for coming today. Let’s start with any questions you might have.”

    Me: *really excited* “Were you named after the actor?”

    Judge: “Uh, well, since he was born approximately 30 years after me, I think it’s probably a safer bet to say he was named for me!”

    Nothing Halts A Lesson Like A Spot Of Rabies

    | CO, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Students

    (I’m teaching a class of kindergarten students how to read with some old ‘Dick and Jane’ books. They are taking turns reading individual sentences.)

    Student: “See… Spot. See… Spot run.”

    Student #2: “Run… Spot, run.”

    Bored Student: “Spot has rabies. RUN, JANE, RUN!”

    (The students actually believed that’s what it said! I had to escort him to the office, and the principal was actually just as amused by that as I was!)


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