5/29/2013 9:29am, #1
Creative Solutions--Your Tale Here
I'm posting this in Boff so that it can address any situation you've had to deal with, not necessarily limited to MA. Your tale must be true, though perhaps improbable in terms of either the situation or your solution. Or both. I'll go first.
About ten years ago, I was teaching high school gym in the Ottawa area, a school I'd been working at for about five years. The senior classes were co-ed. A not-too-uncommon situation arose regarding a grade-11 female student who--for reasons I could never figure out--had developed a teacher-crush of which I was the unfortunate recipient. As unappealing as I considered myself to be, the fact is that, at a certain age, girls don't find a lot of attraction in the relatively-immature boys their own age, and their perspectives can be distorted by hormonal influences to which they're not yet accustomed.
All this girl's spare time was soon spent hanging around the athletic department, she kept trying to switch to my classes despite the effect it would have on her schedule, volunteering for department activities everyone knew she would not usually have in interest in...and then there was the staring, staring, staring. She wasn't a bad kid or anything, a pretty good student grade-wise and on the volleyball team. However, this growing obsession had the potential to interfere with her progress.
Anyone who's been the object of student crushes knows it can run the gamut from comical to tragic (depending on levels of desperation), but it is one the the least comfortable situations a male teacher can find himself in.
Solutions aren't always as straightforward as they might seem. Confronting the student, or parents, head-on will often result in angry denials, counter-accusations and the no progress. Going to admin will often simply result in "Well, just keep classroom doors open at all times (duh) and avoid the student in question." (No ****, really?--but try avoid being followed around your workplace without having to quit your job outright).
This had become some sort of weird stalking scenario, so I had to think of something. Fortunately, I knew one of the student's best friends (and she was very aware of the matter--she told me stalker-girl was talking about little else and it was getting on all her friends' nerves), so I asked for her help with a plan I'd come up with.
As stalker-girl had developed a habit of sitting at a school-cafeteria table, staring at yours-truly and drawing pictures on days when I was there on lunch duty, I asked her friend to join me at another table with some other students. The friend would keep an eye on stalker-girl and then, when the staring started, she'd kick me under the table. I told the friend what I was going to do and apologized in advance. It was all set up.
So...as soon as I got the kick from under the table, I took my right pinkie, chose a nostril and jammed and dug and jammed and dug and jammed and dug some more. I made sure not to make eye contact with stalker-girl while doing this because, not being stupid, she might guess why it was being done, and that would defeat the purpose. She had to think this was something I was doing as a habit.
As the cafeteria was noisy, the stalker-girl's friend could freely relate the reaction:
"OMG--Oh sir, you should see her eyes! Now she's making her 'eww'-face! Okay, now she's getting up...she just walked out of the caf like she's being chased!!!"
So, I asked, you think it worked?
"Oh yeah, it worked!"
Not pleasant, but indeed it had worked like a charm. No more weird crush, no more following or staring. Problem solved.
Okay, your turn.
5/30/2013 9:35am, #2
Hard to follow up that one, bro. I mean, everyone has used the ol' "pick your nose so your stalker is grossed out by you forevermore" trick before, I've used it a few times in my life. Well, when I say stalker, I mean people in the car next to me in traffic.GET A RED BELT OR DIE TRYIN'.
5/30/2013 9:48am, #3
My "creative solutions" tend to be either mechanical or software - not sure that's the point of this thread, but if there is interest, I can oblige.
5/30/2013 10:56am, #4
A few years ago, I was temporarily hobbled by a leg kick in a tournament, but I still wanted to be able to get around short distances. I was skateboarding constantly at the time. So, I took a stick about 7 feet long, made a T shaped handle on top, and made a rubber half circle on the other end, and it worked as a barge pole to push myself around. I still scoot around like that for exercise. Since then, a company called Kahuna Creations popped up that makes the same thing.
5/31/2013 2:03pm, #5
Another scholastic exercise: there were two grade-tens who had discovered the joys of lengthy-and-involved public liplocking.
I didn't regularly see this because it was in an area of the school away from the athletic department--but you should have heard the whining from teachers in the staff room about it. Nothing they could say or do could convince the boy and girl to take their tongue hockey elsewhere but their fave hallway. Unsurprisingly they'd laugh off teachers' whine about "inappropriate" whatever and "consequences" and so on. It was, among other things, a big show for the other students. I got sick and tired of hearing their ceaseless complaints (nobody whines like teachers) and it was cutting into my concentration for lesson planning and marking.
My solution was ridiculously simple. Voyaging to the hallway in question right after the final bell, I found the gobsmacking couple had bypassed the warmup and were in full contention. With a loud and enthusiastic "ALL RIGHT!!!", I took a desk from a nearby classroom, a piece of paper and a marker, and wrote something for the gathering crowd of other students to see. I also placed a paper plate on the desk.
The boy and girl, seeing themselves at the centre of all this, were giving thumbs up all round.. Then they looked around and wondered why the cheering was being replaced by laughter.
Then they looked to the desk at what I'd written in big letters on the piece of paper:
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT: AN AFTERNOON OF HOT 'N' HEAVY GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION. BUCK-A-MINUTE TO WATCH, ALL PROCEEDS TO CHARITY.
The girl burst out laughing immediately, joining in the general merriment. The boy stared at the impromptu signage with a serious "WTF" expression on his face--definitely not all-smiles like his girlfriend--and stomped out of there (boys that age are a bit, ahem, insecure).
Did they ever liplock in public again? Nope.
Did they ever liplock again? I assumed they'd carry on in private, but one of the girl's friends informed me that it wasn't working anymore. Every time he leaned down toward her, she'd remember the last hallway scene and burst out laughing in his face.
5/31/2013 2:55pm, #6
OK, I'll test the waters with this one - there are actually several creative solutions in the same project, I'll start with one of the more recent ones.
But, first, a little background.
Last year, we (my company) decided to replace our old trade show exhibit with something new and fresh. What we went for is best described as a hexagon of outward-facing television screens - 42-inchers. Stands around 8 feet tall, has a 7 foot diameter. After getting some exorbitant quotes from a few manufacturers, I decided to build the thing myself:
In the first build, everything was all protractored and meticulously aligned and realigned until it was right. Build took somewhere north of 8 hours (that's 8 hours setup per show). After doing this twice, I decided to build what I called an alignment jig, basically an external hexagon that could attach to the "frame" so all the bolts could be tightened in the correct places. This thing saved us maybe 2 hours of bullshit, but it still wasn't good enough.
For this most recent iteration, I redesigned the jig so that it was permanently part of the internal structure. I now call it an interlock system.
The picture is looking at the straps at the bottom of the unit - this scheme is replicated near the top of the unit, as well.
Basically, each pair of horizontal metal straps has a custom-cut block of wood attached to it. The cuts in the wood are such that, when properly aligned, another pair of metal straps fits neatly in between. As you travel around the hexagon, each pair of straps is about 2 inches higher than the previous pair. So, there's a "bottom," "middle," and "top," pair.
The bottom straps have 2x2 and 2x4 blocks, so that bottom and middle straps are locked together, and the bottom and top are locked together. The middle is 2x2 only, which locks middle to top. The top straps use 2x6 blocks, which lock top to both middle and bottom. By offsetting (by which I mean rotating around the hexagon by 60 degrees) the position of the bottom, middle, and top straps at the top of the unit, this unit now goes together very quickly (main build can be done by one person in 30-60 minutes), and is in nearly perfect square without any adjustment.
This particular build is also tool-less, but that's a write-up for another post.
5/31/2013 3:40pm, #7
In the past, I've shut down three potential aggressors completely by telling them that I have HIV and am a hemophiliac. In the street, that translates into, "I have AIDS, and I'm a bleeder. You want to go? Let's go. I will bleed all over you."
Curiously enough, none of them have ever called my bluff by knowing that HIV is an anaerobic virus and dies upon exposure to oxygen. Thank goodness no virologists have ever picked a fight with me.
5/31/2013 5:12pm, #8