Canvassing For A Cult

| PA, USA | Art/Design, Musical Mayhem

(While discussing how we chose the subjects of our paintings in art class:)

Classmate: “I was listening to a song at the time about overcoming one’s obstacles in life, so I thought, ‘Let’s paint something like that!’”

Me: “I was listening to a song about a cult burning down an orphanage full of children, so I thought, ‘Let’s NOT paint something like that…’”


Donald Trump Is Bad For The Spanish

, | CA, USA | Politics, Students

(I’m in an online Spanish class the day after US Presidential Election day, working with two other students to create a recorded phone call; this entails an answering machine and a message being left. We are unsure what to say until I just randomly spit out the first thing I think of.)

Me: “Why not just make it Donald Trump?”

Student #1: “YEEEES! And the caller can be Hillary Clinton!”

Me: “And it can just entirely be Hillary insulting Donald!”

Student #1 & #2: “Let’s do it.”

(We then write out the call in Spanish. In English it is essentially:)

Donald Trump: “Hello, you have reached the phone of Donald Trump. Leave a message after the tone, and remember MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” *beep*

Hillary Clinton: “Hello, RONALD DUMP! You are ugly and stupid and your hair is very ugly! I’m giving the phone to Bernie.”

Bernie Sanders: “Hello, Ronald Dump! It’s Bernie! You are bad for America! Very bad, bad, baaad! Goodbye, Trump. Goodbye, America. Goodbye!”

(We got a A+ on that assignment, and we got to read it in class.)


During Science Their Head Was In The Clouds

| Germany | Art/Design, Extra Stupid, Teachers

(Our art teacher hands out to everyone a black and white photo of a pretty normal landscape with some grass hills, mountains, a few clouds, and an otherwise clear sky. Our task is to repaint the landscape realistically with water colors, emphasis on ‘realistically.’ After a few hours of work, the first students come to her to turn in their finished drawings.)

Teacher: “Yes, it looks quite good so far, but you all forgot one thing. The clouds need a taint of green on the bottom.”

Students: “Why?”

Teacher: “Because the green grass gets reflected in the clouds.”

(Even trainee teacher who was there at that time agreed with her, so most students reluctantly started adding green taints to the clouds to not risk a worse grade. I, as a passionate scientist, came up to her.)

Me: “Excuse me, but could you please come with me to the window?”

Teacher: “Sure.”

(At the window I pointed at the clouds outside.)

Me: “What color do those clouds have in your eyes?”

Teacher: “Oh, I get what you mean. But of course those are not green. They are over the city, not over grass.”

Me: “Shouldn’t they be tainted red, then? Because 99% of the roofs in the city are red?”

Teacher: “Oh, you see, it’s not the red roofs that get reflected in the clouds, but the grey streets.”

(At this point, I just gave up on arguing with her and added some green taint to the underside of the clouds for a better grade. Others were already finishing that part and wanted to turn in their revised drawings.)

Teacher: “Yeah, looks much better now. But you all should also add some blue taints in some spots of the grass.”

Students: “Why?”

Teacher: “Because the blue sky gets also reflected in the grass.”

(And that point, I couldn’t reconcile it with my scientific conscience anymore and just turned my drawing it, not caring about my grade. Needless to say, I dropped art class as soon as I could.)


Conversation Stopper

| Antwerp, Belgium | Health & Body, Students

(The school I teach at is exclusively for autistic children. They’re divided in three grades and spend three years in each grade (on average). One of my students is highly intelligent but has severe problems interacting with others and has anger management issues. This day, just before a one week break, we’re having a games day, to avoid starting on a new subject just to interrupt with a week of vacation. He’s doing various 3D puzzles and brain training games, going through them faster than the whole class can do solo. We also have a teacher-in-training,  who is observing and helping me teach. She decides to try having a conversation with him.)

Teacher: “Hey, [Student], you’re pretty fast at those.”

Student: *after a couple of uneasy seconds* “They don’t talk, so they’re easy. You talk; you’re hard.”

(You could almost see her good intentions drain away as she wished him good luck.)


That One Time In Band Camp

| Wamego, KS, USA | Musical Mayhem, Teachers

(Over the years my band teacher has had to say some pretty crazy stuff, including, but not limited to:)

Band Teacher: “Get that trombone off your head!”

Band Teacher: “How the heck did you get your arm stuck in a trumpet?!”

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