Category: School

Stuff The Translation

| Japan | Coworkers, Language & Words, Lazy/Unhelpful, School

(I’m an American working as an assistant language teacher in Japan. I work with multiple JTEs, or Japanese teachers of English, in teaching English at junior high schools. I’m not allowed to speak Japanese during English class, so many JTEs take it upon themselves to translate my words for me when the students absolutely cannot understand and make repeated incorrect guesses. One particular JTE, however, is adamant about never translating for me, even when the students become so confused that the lesson cannot progress. This has been going on for a couple of months when this lesson takes place. The Japanese are, as a whole, very strict in terms of cleanliness and preventing the spread of germs and sickness.)

Me: *holding up a stuffed animal* “This is a dog!”

Students: *in Japanese, to one another* “That’s not a dog. That’s a toy.”

Me: “Correct! This is a stuffed animal. It LOOKS like a dog, but it isn’t a dog. What does “stuffed” mean in Japanese?”

(The students give various guesses.)

Me: “I’ll give you a hint.” *I rub my stomach* “Mmmm, I’m so stuffed!” *I place a bunch of books inside a basket and make a show of trying to squish them down to fit* “This basket is STUFFED with books!”

(After several awkward minutes of me trying to make them understand and not succeeding, I glance desperately at the JTE. The students, too, look to the JTE for an explanation. The JTE pointedly looks away, and that’s when I’ve had enough.)

Me: “Okay, fine.”

(I take the grammar worksheet that the JTE has made, wad it into an enormous ball, and without hesitation stuff the whole thing into my mouth.)

Students: “WHAAAAAT?”

JTE: *nervously* “Um… hold on…”

(I remove the ball, which has become a giant spit wad, and plonk it down onto the JTE’s desk, much to his utter horror.)

Me: “Get it now? I STUFFED the paper into my mouth! My mouth is STUFFED with paper!”

(Finally, it dawns on one of my students what I’m talking about.)

Student: *in Japanese* “…stuffed?”

Me: “YES! Thank you!”

JTE: “Um…”

Me: *already moving on to the next object* “Okay, next! What’s this?”

(The lesson continues without further incident, except that the JTE keeps staring at the spit wad on his desk. After class gets out, I throw the spit wad away then kindly wipe down his desk to remove the traces of spit. Maybe next time he’ll translate for me.)

Putting The Fired Into Hired, Part 3

| MI, USA | Job Seekers, School

(Each year we hire a student half-time reporter through a scholarship program. In addition to sending the position info to various departments on campus, we also post fliers in areas like the Student Center to try and attract as many candidates as possible. Please note that this takes place approximately six weeks into the football season.)

Student: *wanders past the front desk and into my office unannounced* “Hello?”

Me: *startled* “Yes, can I help you?”

Student: “Sorry. I’m just so tired. I haven’t slept at all in like three days.”

Me: “What?”

Student: *pulls creased and folded, obviously stolen, flier out of his pocket* “I’ll take this job.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Student: “This halftime reporter job. I’ll take it.”

Me: “I’m sorry; we hired someone almost two months ago. Football season has been going for over six weeks.”

Student: “But I have the flier! You’re making a big mistake! I’d be perfect for this!”

Me: “Ignoring the fact that you obviously removed a flier from a public bulletin board and that the job is already filled, barging into my office and demanding I hire you isn’t the best way to start this conversation.”

Student: “Fine! But you’re making a big mistake!”

Putting The Fired Into Hired, Part 2
Putting The Fired Into Hired

Should Have Phoned Ahead

, | MI, USA | Ignoring/Inattentive, Job Seekers, School

(One student worker is at the circulation desk and I am in my office, which looks out on the desk. A middle-aged woman comes into the library talking VERY loudly on her phone:)

Woman: *keeps talking and shoves a paper at my student worker* “WORK STUDY!”

Student Worker: “You are looking for a work study position?”

(The woman nods and keeps talking on her phone. The student worker brings me the paper. It turns out to be the student’s schedule, showing when she can work.)

Me: “I am sorry, you are getting a late start on this and we have already filled our positions this semester.”

(The woman is given back her paper. On the way out of the library I hear her tell her friend:)

Woman: “Man, ain’t nobody on this campus doing any hiring.”

Repeating A Track Runaround

| VA, USA | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, School

(My phone number is one digit off from another department on campus. I frequently get calls for the other department, so I’m used to giving out their number. Usually, it’s no big deal. Not this time.)

Me: “[My department]; this is [My Name].”

Information Desk Person: “Hi [unintelligible], this is [unintelligible]. I [unintelligible] and she was wondering [unintelligible].”

Me: “I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I’m having some trouble hearing you.”

Information Desk Person: “Yes, I’m calling to find out if [unintelligible] is open today.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I’m still having trouble hearing you. Could you please say that one more time?”

Information Desk Person: “Yes, I’m calling to find out what hours the track is open today.”

Me: “Oh! I’m sorry, you have the wrong number. You’re trying to reach the Rec center. Their number is 8999.”

Information Desk Person: “That’s what I called.”

Me: “No, you called my phone; I’m not in the Rec center. You’re trying to reach the Rec center, at the extension 5-8999. My number is really close; it’s 5-9999. That’s the number you called. You need to call 5-8999.”

Information Desk Person: “But you’re answering their phone.”

Me: “No, I’m answering MY phone. You’ve called the wrong number.”

Information Desk Person: “But I called the Rec center.”

Me: “You’re on campus, right?”

Information Desk Person: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, then you need to dial the following number: 5. 8. 9. 9. 9.”

Information Desk Person: “That’s the number I called.”

Me: “No. You didn’t. You need to call 5. 8. 9. 9. 9.”

Information Desk Person: “I don’t need to call the whole number?”

Me: “Not if you’re using a campus phone.”

Information Desk Person: “So I call 8899.”

Me: “I’m going to say the extension again. 5. 8. 9. 9. 9. That is the number you need to call.”

Information Desk Person: “But that IS the number I called.”

Me: “NO. You called my number. You need to call 5. 8. 9. 9. 9. I can give you the entire number, just so you make sure you call the correct number, okay? It’s 5. 4. 0. 5. 5. 5. 8. 9. 9. 9. Okay? Call that number. That’s who you’re trying to reach.”

Information Desk Person: “I DID call that number.”

Me: “NO YOU DIDN’T. Our numbers are very close, but they’re completely, totally different numbers. You need to call 5. 4. 0. 5. 5. 5. 8. 9. 9. 9. Did you write that down?”

Information Desk Person: “I did. And you work at the rec center?”

Me: “No. I am in [My Department]. You need to call that other number.”

Information Desk Person: “So I should hang up and call that number.”

Me: “Yes. I’ll give it to you one more time. 5. 4. 0. 5. 5. 5. 8. 9. 9. 9.”

(Three seconds later: Ring ring! I sigh as I see the number on my caller ID.)

Me: “[My Department]; this is [My Name].”

Information Desk Person: “Hi, this is [unintelligible]. I’m calling from the Information Desk because I have someone who’s looking for the rec center.”

Me: “You’ve called the wrong number again.”

Information Desk Person: “No, I called the Rec center.”

Me: “This is the person you just talked to. I am going to give you the phone number one. last. time. Are you ready?”

Information Desk Person: “You don’t work in the rec center?”

Me: “No. I. work. in. [My]. [Department]. Here. is. the. number. you. need. to. call. Write. these. numbers. down.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “5.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “4.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “0.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “5.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “5.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “5.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “8.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “9.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “9.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “9.”

Information Desk Person: “Okay.”

Me: “Now read that back to me.”

Information Desk Person: “540-555-8999.”

Me: “Perfect. Have a great day.”

(Three seconds later: Ring ring!)

Me: “YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME! [My Department]; this is [My Name].”

Information Desk Person: “Hi, I’m—”

Me: “I’m going to cut you off right there. If you call me one more time, I am going to find out who your supervisor is and have you fired. I’m not kidding. Call the number I gave you.”

Information Desk Person: “What number was—”

Me: *click*

(She didn’t call back. I have no idea if the person ever found out about the track’s availability.)

A Low Grade Of Customer Service

| Berkshire, England, UK | Employees, School

(I am a 20 year old female, but I have been told I look anywhere from 14-16. I made an appointment to discuss getting a student credit card so that I could build up a good credit history early and make life easier later down the line. I arrive 10 minutes early because I hate being late. As things go, the person before me takes 30 minutes extra, so I’m already a bit frustrated when I start talking with him.)

Banker: “So, you want to open a student credit card?”

Me: “Yes, I study archaeology BSc at [University].”

Banker: “Oh, good. They are okay, I guess… What grades do you get?”

(First off, the uni is on par with Oxford for the course I am on and beats Cambridge, so it’s not just okay. Secondly, I do not feel my grades are his concern but I am doing very well so I don’t mind.)

Me: “Oh, I’m getting high two ones, so, really good!”

Banker: *chuckles* “That’s not too bad, I suppose…”

Me: “I am second best in my class; I am doing extremely well and am only in first year.”

Banker: *looks at me incredulously* “Really, you could do better.”

(2:1 is second highest you can get. As I am just below border for first, this is EXTREMELY offensive.)

Banker: “Oh, and next week someone will call you to check on customer service. Can you not mention the wait?”

Me: “Of course not. I work in customer service; I understand waiting…”

(No I didn’t mention the wait… I did however mention how unsettled he made me feel, and the fact he kept alluding to not wishing to give me a card because I wasn’t getting the highest grade.)

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