A N Y T H I N G They Want
“I was the network admin at a ~3500 student university and had a girl ask me a couple of obviously leading questions about how the grading software worked and if I had access to it (I did but changes were audited) then lean in close to whisper in my ear, being careful to drag her chest against my arm as she did so, that she would do
a n y t h i n g I wanted if I would give her a B in a class she needed to graduate that spring.
I also had an aunt offer me what she thought was the amazingly large sum of $500 if I would fabricate a complete degree for the son of some church friend of hers.
The amazing thing is that two professors and one academic support staff lost their jobs trying to do the same thing sorts of stuff for students while I was there.”
“I worked as an assistant pre-K teacher for two years. This one little girl was pretty much the spawn of Satan. She was completely spoiled rotten and her parents let her get away with everything. She had daily tantrums about every. little. thing. She would scream at the top of her lungs when she didn’t get her way. One day she came in the classroom in a particularly nasty mood and as I was trying to calm her down, she punched me in the jaw. She packed a pretty good punch for a 5-year-old. Unfortunately, just like every other situation, the director swept it under the table. Parents had lots of money and paid the director well to keep their little demon there.”
“In graduate school, the university paid for all my expenses in exchange for me teaching Public Speaking to undergrads. I was technically a Teaching Advisor, but I was the sole teacher in the classroom and the only one to do the grading, lecturing, etc. I was also only one to four years older than most of my students, so I was prepared for lots of inappropriate comments and suggestions. Surprisingly, though, most of my students treated me with the utmost respect.
Except, of course, for a few of them. When a kid didn’t show to classes the first four weeks of the semester, and he’d already missed the drop deadline, I wrote him a final email telling him he’d failed and could still withdraw. The next day, I met him for the first time coming out of my office. He tried to follow me home, telling me he’d love to ‘show me his spoken presentation skills,’ that I’d know he doesn’t have to take the class ‘once I see what this tongue can do.’ Instead of walking home, I walked him over to the dean’s office and left him there to negotiate, telling him another TA might pick him up, but if he comes within 50 feet of me again I’d have to call security.
The worst case though was this kid who was just infatuated. He started bringing me food and coffee each morning, staying after class to ask how I was doing, and dropping in for office hours twice a week. He started messaging me on Facebook, but since my profile settings were private, I wasn’t actually getting the notifications. He’d been messaging me really graphic things for a month, and I didn’t see them until shortly after midterms. I brought my computer into the dean and asked that he be removed from my course. He was, and the communication stopped. Strangely enough, the following semester, I had a stalker who’d leave notes on my door, whisper into my open bedroom windows, and ended up breaking into my car & writing ‘I <3 u’ on the windshield with blood. They never caught the guy, but I always wondered if it was the same student.”
Smells Like A Fish
“I was a sub and classroom assistant many years ago at a middle school when I was trying to get my teaching degree. I never got into that field as a full-time teacher, though.
Nonetheless, I was in a classroom subbing and there were a few boys who were in the back talking. This one kid was talking about the cool fishing trip he took with his dad last weekend. Innocuous conversation, not my business, so I stayed out of it.
Then I overheard another boy pipe in talking about how his girlfriend’s ‘you know what’ smells like a fish. I interjected then. ‘Excuse me, young man, that’s totally inappropriate,’ and sent him to the office.
That kid had to have been no more than 13 or 14 years old, there’s no way he should have known about THAT. That was shocking and extremely disturbing.”
A Sub’s Chaotic First Day
“Ugh. I’m a substitute teacher. On my very first day, I was assigned to the in-school suspension room in high school. I was already really nervous, but I didn’t want to let the kids know it was my first day because they’d likely act like maniacs. I only had three kids, which was very relieving to find out, and one of them had a pass to leave for an appointment after lunch anyway. That particular room was being re-done and there were a few construction guys in there taking some of the old fixtures off of the walls and it was pretty chaotic in the room, so I didn’t really keep too strict with the whole ‘stay silent’ thing. The construction guys were talking to the kids, so it’s not like I was going to yell at them.
So, I have a boy and a girl, both seniors in suspension. They ask me normal questions, like ‘where did I go to school,’ ‘am I married,’ and questions about college. The girl was super sweet and had all sorts of questions about college, so I told them about my (academic) experiences and gave some advice. The boy was also really nice, but I was getting some weird vibes from him. He was on the football team, so I talked football with him, and I’d happened to have gone to a really great game of theirs and mentioned that. But I’d noticed that he’d been staring at me all day and I was trying not to really make it obvious that I kept noticing it. I put it out of my mind as he’s just a teenage boy and I’m a developed woman, so it’s nothing unusual.
But right before he left, he put his pass from an earlier trip to the bathroom back on my desk. I thought it was unusual because I didn’t need it back and he put it face-down. I flipped it over and sure enough, his phone number was on it with ‘call me!!’ and a smiley face. I freaked the heck out because I didn’t want to be called a pervert for even having it in my possession, so before I left, I gave it to the secretary and told her what happened. The principal also happened to be right there and heard. He just laughed and said ‘Welcome back to high school. Don’t worry about a thing, you’ll be fine.’ He also thought it was actually quite cute that I was so afraid that I’d end up on the news after my first day of subbing.”
Batteries Go Where?
“I coached gymnastics and I had kids tell me ridiculous things that I had exactly no response to.
One kid told me he put AA batteries up his butt. I just looked at him for a while, cocked my head to the side with a confused look, then told him not to do it anymore.
Another kid told me that Justin Bieber ‘made his front privates happy.’ I said nothing, but wondered what other privates there were in this kid’s mind.”
A Heartfelt Note
“When I taught 5th grade, I had a female student who didn’t live with her father, he was in Florida, and one day he committed suicide by jumping in front of a train and left a note addressed specifically to her and another to her mother. The student brought the note to school and wanted to read it to the class, but I had to refuse her as it would have been a huge problem with other parents and damaging to the students. She really wanted to share it so I spoke with her mom and they said it would be okay if she stayed a few minutes after school and read it to me. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to listen to. I’ll never forget it.
It was awkward and incredibly sad. The gist of it was that he loved her and wished he could have seen her every day. He apologized for not being there for her in the future and wanted her to be a strong girl. He would always be proud of her and would be watching over her. The thing that made me get all weepy was when he said that if she ever needed him all she had to do was look next to her and he would be there.
I did hear of a girl with the same, very unusual last name who was murdered two winters ago. It wasn’t her but made me fear for her again, like she was at ten years old, with absolutely nothing to help her through this situation, frightened and looking for some sort of adult to help her. Her mom was flaky at best. I have left teaching at that district but do work there periodically and never saw her, nor have I seen her in town anywhere which is unusual. I just keep hoping for the best for her.”
Way Beyond Inappropriate
“A dangerous skin-head paranoid schizophrenic.
Held back twice earlier in his schooling, so he walked into my 8th-grade class six feet tall and buff. Dad was deployed to Korea. Mom was a trainwreck. He used terms like ‘effing Jews’ and ‘worthless [deragotory term for blacks]’ incessantly. Our team’s history teacher had the pleasure of reading his revisionist history of WWII.
Suspended multiple times for fighting. Complained of hearing voices. Many teachers, including myself, felt unsafe around him. Kids were terrified of him. Was caught breaking into lockers and stealing electronics. When his locker was searched, along with the stolen items, admin found his dad’s Bowie knife and a roll of duct tape.
At parent meetings, I was never as creeped out as watching him and his mother, who defended him at every turn. He would sit right next to her at meetings, gently stroke her arm, call her his wife, and say things like, ‘I can’t wait to get home.’ Mom would just giggle and push his hand away. In case I haven’t made this clear enough, we were pretty sure they were intimate.
We begged admin to get the police involved, not because of his that, but because he was a legitimate threat to others.
He made the news a year later after he’d moved on to high school and brought a weapon in his backpack. Fortunately he bragged about it to someone before the voices told him to do something. Last I heard, he was shipped off to Texas to live with relatives. I still keep half an eye out on the news to see if he’s been convicted of murder.”
“Nothing was offered in exchange for anything, but here is my story: it started in Chemistry 111 during my freshman year. My Lab TA was attractive and smart. My lab partner, being the son of two chemists, somehow had a hard time grasping Chemistry 111. So we spent extra time on labs than other groups. This led to more time with the attractive, interesting TA. Which led to me hanging out with TA more and more. Which led to us dating, and now almost 20 years of marriage.
I still bring up the time she gave me a 0 on a lab paper for not showing my work. Also, my lab partner ended up with a career in a chemistry lab.”
Gorgeous Blue Eyes
“When I was a TA in a certain small humanities department, there was this anonymous ‘campus confessions’ site that was a big trend with the undergrad students at our university. Lots of confessions about wanting to romance certain professors/TAs. One day, a confession appeared on the page from a student who had a crush on a male TA from our department, which went into rather lurid detail about everything she (or he, couldn’t tell) wanted to do to him, and it mentioned the TA’s ‘gorgeous blue eyes’.
I suppose the student didn’t think that was too identifying, but they severely underestimated how small our department was. We had 10 graduate students total, 4 of whom were TAing that semester. I was one of them, but I’m a girl, and two of the guys had brown eyes. The only male TA with blue eyes was… mighty uncomfortable and had to go through the rest of the semester knowing that one of the students in his section was sitting in class every day having elaborate fantasies about him.
Nothing Affected Her Grade
“Something very inappropriate happened when I taught while in graduate school.
After I had collected the final exam for the semester, one of the quietest students in the class started chatting me up as I locked up the room. We walked to the library from there and just made small talk. She seemed nice enough but as I got to the library and put my stuff down, I told her that I needed some privacy to finish grading exams. She straight up tells me that she thinks I’m attractive and would like to hang out. She’s bold because we’re on the quiet floor of the library and it’s packed since it’s around finals time. Not wanting to be rude (and a little shocked), I say sure and give her my number.
Long story short, I tell her we can’t hang out until after grades were posted (she aced the class, didn’t need any help from me to do it). Before we could even make it to a first date we ended up hooking up in my car a few weeks after the semester was over. Told me that she was attracted to me from the very beginning of the semester and worked up the courage to ask me out after the final. Kudos to her.”
“I’m a teaching advisor in the first year engineering department at my university. It’s a pretty large one, but the engineering staff for the freshmen is all unified (no separate majors yet) so everyone knows all the students, and the students know all the professors.
As a TA, sometimes it’s hard to get the students to take you seriously. While you do have authority, you’re technically not the professor and don’t have the degree they would and generally don’t command exactly the same amount of respect. Not to say people are rude, but their mannerisms are definitely different. Especially for me, since I landed this job as a second year, which means I’m barely nine months older than most of these students whose work and grades I now have total control over. I should add at this point, I am a straight male.
So I have this one student (call him Todd) who seems a bit off the wall. Todd is very loud, constantly bragging about things he knows or has done, and the professor and I immediately marked him as a loudmouth and someone who talks a lot of crap but doesn’t do anything when the times comes. Since the class was largely group-based, this was later confirmed by his group members.
We’re around two weeks into the semester, and learning how to write MATLAB code, and everything seems fine. Until Tuesday. Tuesday at 5:45, I’m sitting in my girlfriend’s room, studying for my thermodynamics midterm, when I get the following message from Todd:
‘Having some trouble with this MATLAB code. Mind taking a look?’
Then he sent me: ‘Ansr=input(‘is yo dik still lonely?’) if Ansr= ‘yes’ fprintf(‘boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’) else fprintf(‘rip’) end.
I never responded, and we never talked about it.”
Try Writing Better
“An English professor I had in college told me this story one night when we were out for some drinks.
He was a pretty laid back guy, mostly spent our classes talking about how much he loved drinking, Chinese food, and working out. He was the definition of a tool but in a comical sort of way.
A girl in our class was struggling with the curriculum and she had gotten a pretty poor review on an essay. She had gone to his office hours, which was a shared cubicle space with other professors, to try and negotiate why she deserved a better grade.
When my professor wouldn’t budge, the girl’s expression changed to a wily smirk and she bluntly stated: ‘I’d do anything for an A…’
My professor, not missing a beat told her, ‘For starters, you could write better papers.’ That apparently set her off and she stormed out, and the other professors just sat there in shock that actually happened.
Little did she know he wasn’t playing for the same team, so that offer was never even on the table.”
Donuts And Pizza Bribery
“I was an adjunct instructor at a small, regional college and a female student had tried multiple times to get on my good side for a better grade. First, she brought in donuts, then pizza, and finally one day she stayed late after class and suggestively asked if there were other ways she could improve her grades.
Being a socially inept male, it took a little bit for that to sink in but once I got the idea I kindly asked her to leave.
She did and I thought that was that. Except that it wasn’t. It turns out that she reported me for harassment. Nothing ever came of it however since she ended up getting into trouble (substances I think) and dropped out of school.
Even still it was a very scary moment for me and factored into my decision to leave teaching and pick a different career.”
Budding Sports Journalist
“It was my first year teaching as a graduate student. I was super conscientious about doing a good job and seeming professional since I was only two or three years older than my students. I was a super easy grader. I give you a B; you give me a good review. What could be simpler?
There were two weeks left in the semester and a girl that had not participated much at all (and missed all chances of makeup work) came to my office hours, sporting some kind of white shirt with top three buttons undone and red bra inside. Bright red, very visible. Even idiot me knows something’s up.
She asked what she needs to do to get a better grade. I said she could do a really good job on her final paper. She asked what she needs to do RIGHT NOW to get a better grade. I’m not a smart man, so I just repeat my first answer. She crawled right into my lap. I have a hard-on and an ulcer. I was a hostage, but the kidnapper was an exotic dancer and the torture was a subpar lap dance. And of course, there’s no music, so everything is moving so slowly.
I remember that she left. I don’t know how long she was up against me. I think we said ‘bye’ really loudly. She came to all the remaining classes and was super enthusiastic with comments. She got a B- from me and went into sports journalism.”
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