My Week 89: Summer School Stories 2014

So as you may or may not know, I’m currently recovering from a particularly nasty surgery. I haven’t been able to focus much on anything this week, thanks to the drugs, let alone anything remotely amusing, mostly because it REALLY hurts to laugh. But because I care about you, gentle Reader, I have prepared in advance for your viewing pleasure, a variety of incidents that I was involved in during my tenure as a Summer School Supervisor at a make-up credit site. No, that doesn’t mean the students were there to learn about make-up, which would be all kinds of awesome—it means that they all failed a course and were there to “make it up”. Which also means that I was in charge of a building full of almost 1000 VERY unhappy teenagers. Many of them just put their heads down and powered through, but there were inevitably the kids who had difficulty with sticking to the 3 week program. We had no choice except to remove students for infractions like poor attendance (the Ministry of Education required that they put in so many hours to “make up” the original credit), or for drug/alcohol use, or other inappropriate behaviours. It certainly kept me, my school supervision monitors Donna and Roy (not their real names), and other assorted staff on our toes. So here you go—memories from 2014.

summer school


Fun at Summer School Day 1: And We’re Off!

All things considered, a pretty quiet day by our usual standards.

Favourite conversation of the day:

Student: I have to go get my cast fixed. I broke my arm two days ago skateboarding, and now I’ve wrecked my cast.
Me: That must hurt.
Student: Well, the government’s to blame. They put fresh hot tar on the hill I went down, and my skateboard got stuck.

Damn the government and their hot tar.

Fun at Summer School Day 2: Who’s On First?

Me (to very small blond boy): So why are you outside my office?
Boy: Ask my teacher.
Me: Did she send you here?
Boy: No, I came myself.
Me: Why?
Boy: You’ll have to ask my teacher.
Me: But if you came up yourself, and she didn’t send you, YOU need to tell me why you’re here.
Boy: You should call her and ask her.
Me: OK, let’s just clarify. You came here, she didn’t send you, so I need YOU to tell me why you’re standing outside the office. Are we clear on this?
Boy (mutters sadly): Everything is so stupid.
Me (sigh): Let’s go back to the beginning.

Fun at Summer School Day 3: A Hooker Is A Person In Your Neighbourhood

 This morning, Donna, Roy and I decided to go around the back of the hill surrounding the school’s field to see if any students were lurking in the woods.

Donna (whispering): We’ve got movement–there’s a couple of people over there.
Me (whispering): Are they students? What are they…OH MY GOD!

…As the middle-aged man zipped up his pants, and his elderly female companion got to her feet. Icky icky.

Fun at Summer School Day 3 – Later The Same Day: A Dealer Is A Person In Your Neighbourhood

Little Grade Nine Girl: Um, I thought I should report this. Today, I was eating lunch on the hill and a man came up to me and said, ‘Hello. Would you like to buy some weed?’ It really freaked me out.
Us: What did you do?!
Girl: I screamed NO and ran away. A couple of other students came to help me and see if I was OK.
Me: You go back to class and I’ll call you if the police want to speak to you. If it’s any consolation, I doubt if he would have hurt you. He probably really only wanted to sell you the weed.
Girl: Yeah. I didn’t have any money anyway. It was really creepy. I live in a small neighbourhood.
Donna: Welcome to OUR neighbourhood.

Fun at Summer School Day 5: Horseheads and Mockingbirds

Things continued quietly. Big excitement of the day was confiscating a horsehead mask (which Roy kept unwittingly enunciating as a “whore’s head mask”, much to our enjoyment) from a student who was wandering around at lunch creeping people out. Favourite conversation was the following:

Student: I need to drop my English course.
Me: OK. Do you have any textbooks to return?
Student: No. (pause) I have a book though.
Me: Is it a textbook?
Student: No. It’s just a book. (gives me a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird)
Me: Did you like it?
Student: Meh.
Me: Great. Thanks for the ‘book’.

Fun at Summer School Day 7: The Spies Are Everywhere:

Me (to grade 10 student): So what were you doing out of class for almost half an hour?
Student: Well, I finished my quiz, so I went outside. I was going to have a cigarette, but I saw my mom’s boyfriend drive by. She doesn’t let me smoke.
Me: Yeah, well I don’t let you smoke either. You know how you’re not allowed to leave class to smoke during regular school?
Student looks puzzled.
Me: OK, well maybe you smoke during class at regular school but you know you’re not allowed to, right? It’s just like that here. Except that if I catch you smoking during class time, I’ll remove you from summer school. Got it?
Student (nods enthusiastically and goes to leave): Yep. Have a nice day!

Fun at Summer School Day 7: Best Conversation So Far:

Roy: (over walkie talkie): Hey Suzanne, are you available?”
Me: Yes?
Roy: Meet me out by the dumpster.

Fun at Summer School Day 8: Siegfried or Roy?

While standing on the top of the hill by the school while looking for one of our errant charges, Donna, Roy, and I spotted a figure lying on a blanket in the middle of the grass at the end of the football field where our Grade 8 students were playing games. The figure was mostly nude and glistening in the sunlight. As we approached, we realized it was an older man with a mane of long, golden hair, wearing nothing but a tiny Speedo and a lot of baby oil. Roy offered to make the initial approach.

Roy: Excuse me, sir, but you can’t lie there.
Man: I’m a security guard. I know what I can’t do. This is public property.
Donna: Actually, this is a schoolyard. It’s private property and you can’t be here.
Man (getting up): Well, you can have your opinion. I work in security, so I won’t cause any problems, even though I don’t see why I can’t be here.
Donna (gesturing): There are children playing right over there!
Man (indignantly, gathering up his things): Now you’re making me feel like some kind of pervert!

Then he stalked off, wearing only the speedo, and carrying only a pair of crocs, his blanket, and the baby oil. As we watched him slowly get smaller as he walked down the field towards the road, I said nothing, because I was trying so hard not to laugh.

Fun at Summer School Day 10: Perhaps A Little Claritin Would Help

The day started well, but after break, we were passed quickly on the stairs by a student wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt (go figure) who reeked of marijuana. He disappeared but we followed him to class based solely on the vapour trail he left behind. He took off and left the property, where he dumped his stash into a sewer. We were sad to inform him that we were going to have to part ways. Later, after catching two other students smoking up behind the church during class, we searched their backpacks. After pulling out of one student’s bag a pipe, grinder full of pot, cleaning tools, and so on, this conversation ensued:

Donna: Good Lord, you have TWO bottles of Visine?!
Student (sullenly): Maybe I have allergies.
Me: Or maybe you just smoke a LOT of pot.
Student (sighs, looks down): Yeah.

Needless to say, neither of them would be getting their credits this summer.

Fun at Summer School Day 11: Bank Those Sick Days!

Student: I’m not feeling well. Can I sign out?
Me: Sure. How many absences do you have?”
Student: Only one so far.
Me: No problem–you’re allowed up to two.
Student: Oh…in that case, I’ll stay. I’ll save the other one for a time when I really need it.

Fun at Summer School Day 11: Society’s To Blame

Father of student demitted yesterday for marijuana use: I think you should be more lenient. You’re responsible for his education and now he’s lost his chance to graduate at the end of next year…
Me: I’m sorry but he will NOT be allowed back into summer school.
Father (rants): Too many foreigners at the universities…all white students smoke drugs….recession…John Howard Society will corrupt him by exposing him to more druggies…he’ll be bored at home and get into more trouble…he was fine until he went to high school…there should be more police at the schools because he’s not used to them and he was nervous….
Me: These are bigger issues than I’m prepared to deal with. At any rate, the outcome’s the same.

He eventually left. Wow.

Fun at Summer School Day 12: There Are Those Who Call Me Tim…

Towards the end of the day, there was a commotion in the foyer. Donna and Roy investigated and brought back a very sullen young man.

Me: What class are you supposed to be in right now?
Student: I don’t know…
Donna: This isn’t a trick question. Where should you be right now?
Student (gestures vaguely): Up there.
Me: What’s your name?
Student: Elton.
Me: What’s your last name?
Student: Quan.

Donna took him upstairs while I checked attendance. His actual name was nothing remotely like “Elton Quan”. I went upstairs.

Me: Your name isn’t Elton Quan, it’s –blank–.
Student: I have 5 different names that I go by. (Etc. etc., more annoying responses, foul language.)

The upshot was that Elton and all his other names were removed from Summer School. The teacher told us later that he was asked to leave class for continually pulling the hair of the girl in front of him.

Fun at Summer School Day 13: Oh, And One Last Thing…

Student: Can I sign out?
Me: Hey, you’re the guy who was late from lunch the other day because you were outside dancing.
Student: What? I wasn’t dancing–I was flexing my muscles in the window reflection!
Me (laughing): Well, call your mom and get permission to leave.
Student (on phone with mother): Well, I’m done all my work, I wrote my quiz and got perfect, and (whispering) I thought if I came home early it would be OK cuz you said we could do that thing….remember–the headphones? You said we could go get the headphones if my marks were good?…(to me) Um, I vomited, so I’m sick.

Student passes me the phone so I can talk to mom.

Mom (laughing affectionately): Ok, I told him just this once. But he has to stay all next week and no fooling around.

Fun at Summer School Day 14: Power Napping

Me (to student): You can finish writing your test in this classroom here. Let me know when you’re done.
Student: OK, thanks.

An hour later, after break, I went by the room and the lights were out. I walked in, they turned on automatically, and the same student just about jumped out of his desk.

Me: Why are you sitting in the dark?!
Student: Uh…I think someone came in and turned the lights off.
Me: No, they turn off automatically…wait a minute…were you asleep?!
Student (sheepishly): Um….

 Fun at Summer School Day 15: My Mad Math Skills

Example One:

Father: My son is in Civics. It’s only a 9 day course so he’s done today, right?
Me (mentally confused): No, he still has class tomorrow.
Me, later to secretary: Civics started on the 15th, right? So tomorrow makes it 9 days?
Secretary: Yes.
Me (relieved): Oh good.

Example Two:

Student Writing Exam Early: This question says to calculate the answer based on 6.3 hours. Is that like 6 and a half hours?
Me (mentally confused): That sounds like it might be right, but I’ll ask and find out. Roy, is 6.3 hours the same as 6 and a half?
Roy: No, it’s….(some gobbledy-gook math response).
Me: Yeah, that makes sense. So can you explain it to the student please?

Example Three:

Awesome Math Teacher Guy: So then I ask them to calculate the line…space time continuum…infinity…Einstein (maybe..?) and then the thing…
Me: I love the way you tell a story.

9 thoughts on “My Week 89: Summer School Stories 2014

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