Debate, and discuss, just dont Bore me.
English Flambe'
Published on March 4, 2010 By Dr Guy In Blogging

You never know where inspiration will strike, but BFD's son, Toothache's Revengge caused me to recall an incident where I learned respect for Colonels.

I was not in the military, just a military brat.  Attending a dependant school in Europe and about ready to graduate. As such, I was also looking to go to college and being the son of an NCO, had to pay my own way.  So that meant working lots of hours at my PT job.

One of the classes I was taking was Advanced Placement English.  I hated the class and even more so the teacher.  But I was not alone. Her name in school was Betty the Bitch.  And was used by most all students, male and female.

One day she was going to be absent, so that meant a substitute.  That day also happened to be a holy day of obligation (for you non Catholics, that is a non-sunday where the Church says "Thou shalt go to Mass").  So a group of about a dozen of us (funny how the military has so many Catholics in it) went to church during school hours as the only other mass offered was after school, and I could not afford to miss work. Besides, my attendance to that point had been perfect, so what was one day?

Well the one day was a surprise test.  We did not find out about it until the next day, but no big deal right?  Betty the B often gave make up tests to students who missed them, so we would just take the make up.

But nope!  Not for betty the B!  She decided to make an example of us.  Everyone of us had to bring a parent in to talk to her, and then she would allow the student to take the make up, but dock one letter grade from the test.  I do not recall where I fell in the line, but my mother came in and tried to explain to her that while she agreed school was important, so was making money for college.  And given the 7 children at home, I was on a "pay your own way" plan that required me to make as much money as I could (College was not cheap even in the days of bear skins and stone knives).

Of course Betty the B was having none of this.  She just would not listen to my mother, constantly asking (or stating it seems), "so you think work is more important than school?".  She never actually said that about religion since the separation of church and state meant she had no leg to stand on in that regard.  My mother finally just threw up her arms in frustration and said fine, I came in, now let him take the make up.

And so it went for most of us.  Except for Theresa Quinn.  TQ was on a bee line for Valedictorian (she actually made Saludictorian), and this was going to really cramp her scholarship possibilities.  So her father, Bird Colonel Quinn, came into talk to betty the B.

And he did most of the talking!  for the non-militiary types, you are probably wondering "so what" about a Colonel.  After all they are not generals!  But Colonels are the top of the military tree.  Generals are politicians, Colonels get all the dirty work.  And they get plenty.  And they also do not have time for namby pamby stuff. And this was how Col. Quinn saw this imposition of his time.  He came in and started immediately laying it on Betty the B.

"Look,  I gave my daughter permission to go to church!  It was an obligation of her religion!  You have no right to deny her access to her religion, nor countermand my Authority!'  And on and on it went. For what was over half an hour.  At the end, he told her "Give her the make up and do not waste my time with your petty complaints again!".

By this time, Betty the B was in tears.  As Col. Quinn rose to leave, she cried at him "If you were one of my students I would flunk you!".  To which he replied "If I was your superior, I would fire you!" and off he went.

I never did care for Theresa before that, but after that incident, she and her father went way up in my esteem!  At the end of it all, all of us got to take the make up test and were docked a letter grade on it.

Epilog: But that is not quite the end.  You see, this teacher was an idiot when it came to math.  She could not add two numbers and get the correct answer twice to save her life.  So she had me do the grade averaging (being a math geek then).

I knew all who had gone to church.  And when it came time to average the final grade, I averaged it both ways.  With the grade given, and with the actual grade, and if it made a difference, each of us got the higher grade.  It did not affect my final grade (I was a solid as they come nor Theresa's.  But it did affect about 5 of our grades, and I made sure they all got the higher grade.

Moral:  Don't mess with a Bird Colonel!


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 04, 2010

ha!  Good story.  That Colonel kind of sounds like what I imagine my son (coming up on Captain) would say. 

He's the same one who wrote on my blog against my other son's inlaws who invaded my space remember?   He always makes me laugh at what he says or writes because he's quick witted and no nonsense.   

I'm taking it that Betty was a non-Catholic 

on Mar 04, 2010

I'm taking it that Betty was a non-Catholic

I have no idea of her religion.  Maybe she was and that was why she was out that day. But I had the good fortune of having my math teacher for 2 classes a day 2nd semester (I was doubling up on math), and he hated her!  I later learned from others that the feud between Ms. Nicholas and Mr. fontenote (they are long gone or so old I doubt they would mind - this was 36 years ago) had been going on for years!  Needless to say, Mr. Fontenote was my favorite senior year teacher.

So when your son makes Colonel, are you going to tell him to stop?

 

on Mar 10, 2010

She was in charge of that bus! So many teachers are of that ilk.  I know I sound like I am against teachers a lot of the time, I am not.  I am, however, against stupid teachers all the time and there are unfortunately, waaaaay too many stupid teachers.

Good story, Doc.

on Mar 11, 2010

Big Fat Daddy
She was in charge of that bus! So many teachers are of that ilk.  I know I sound like I am against teachers a lot of the time, I am not.  I am, however, against stupid teachers all the time and there are unfortunately, waaaaay too many stupid teachers.

Good story, Doc.

Having put 4 kids through school, I have seen some great ones (in addition to the ones I had) and some wastes of oxygen.  And I got to work in education for 10 years (I am back in now, just at a higher level), where I saw the 2 types as well.  You are not anti teacher from what I can tell, but you have met your share of stupid lazy ones.  Any responsible parent has I would suspect.

on Mar 11, 2010

I don't really understand the american schoolsystem, I mean there are things that are really odd like this attendance taking or requiring a hallpass to go to the bathroom or being written up for being tardy etc. It took a while for me to got used to that when I was an exchange student because we didn't have anything like that in germany.

Creating a nuisance for parents by requiring them to come in before allowing a replacement test with a docked grade no less would have never had happened in my school. But then, those holy days of obligation are usually national holidays in Germany.. everything is closed, no school, so a scenario like would have never happened.

School vacations are spread over the whole year as well. We have a break in fall which originates in the need of farmer kids to help with the harvest, then there are is christmas break, usually from the 24th till the first school day after the 6th of January (roughly 2 weeks +/- a few days), fasching break (tradition is tradition!), 2 weeks for easter, 2 weeks for pentacost, and 6 weeks in the summer. Summer vacations start in the last few days of July and school starts in the 3rd week of September, at least in the state where I live. It's different in each state in Germany. And there are of days of holy obligation like 1st of November always off in addition to that.

thanks for the story!

on Mar 11, 2010

fasching break (tradition is tradition!),

Some traditions are sacred!

I think the difference can be traced back to culture.  In Germany, School is seen as an opportunity (parents stressing it).  That is how it is for some in this country as well.  But for too many, it is seen as a babysitter.  Parents do not care about their children's education, so the children do not care.  The rules were actually a lot less strict when I was in school.  This teacher was just being petty.  I did not skip (miss class) much, and went because of both the socializing aspect of school and because my parents were of the former type. 

But my sister (same parents) skipped a lot and had to repeat the 10th grade.  She never did like school or see the value in it.  In america, you are required to attend school until you graduate (or take a test that says you know enough) or until you are 18.  It is the law.  I do not think you have a law like that in Germany, but then truancy does not appear to be the problem it is over here.

I like to tell my kids that the dress code in my high school was "you must wear shoes".  That was it!  They assumed that people would wear shirts and pants.  Of course when the streaking fad hit, they could not suspend the students because - all wore shoes (and nothing else).

on Mar 11, 2010

Every child has to go to school in Germany, at least until they finish 9th grade, it's the law as well. Homeschooling isn't allowed. As a matter of fact, a german family was granted political asylum in the US a few weeks ago because of this, they wanted to homeschool their children and weren't allowed to. IMO Calling that political repression is a bit much, but if you don't send your children to school they'll call social services and all kinds of troubles head your way.

We didn't have dresscodes at all in school, you could wear what you wanted. I don't remember anybody streaking, but quite a few had a goth and punk phase. The only thing the school made those kids do was to take out or tape over their jewlery(mostly piercings) in PT to avoid injury. My school back then was sort lax on quite a few things, including smoking. Some teachers even had their smoking breaks together with the older students, but since then schools are very strict about that. No smoking on school grounds. My school was a former priest seminar (the buiilding is ovver 250 years old) and it had a basement with a small theatre stage and a bar, and we used to organize parties there a few times in the year. A few kids set up a DJ and we had our very own disco. Fun times.. there always were teachers there to make sure it didn't go overboard, but as alcohol was sold (beer and sekt) people did get drunk in front of teachers. It wasn't a big deal though. Imagine that would happen in the US - I can see the headline on CNN already.

Link pic of my school

on Mar 11, 2010

Every child has to go to school in Germany, at least until they finish 9th grade, it's the law as well. Homeschooling isn't allowed.

any government entity who refuses homeschooling raises a big red flag in my opinion.  We have to ask, who do these children belong to?  Government's?  Parent's?    Public school should be a place where parents can opt to send their children if they choose NOT to homeschool. 

on Mar 11, 2010

The history (compulsory) education is a long story.

Personally, I don't think disallowing homeschooling is a bad thing. Who is to say that parents are qualified to teach their children - the fact that they are the parents alone?

on Mar 11, 2010

utemia
Fun times.. there always were teachers there to make sure it didn't go overboard, but as alcohol was sold (beer and sekt) people did get drunk in front of teachers. It wasn't a big deal though. Imagine that would happen in the US - I can see the headline on CNN already.

Link pic of my school

I went to a school almost as nice as yours (Freshman year - marin County California), but of course graduated from the dependant one in Frankfurt.  But I will always remember Tamalpias HS! But you are right about the liquor!  I can see that now in a US school! LOL

Well, the age difference may be the key.  Most US students do not drop out before HS, so if that was all that was required, it may be the same.  I do find the political asylum hard to believe!  We are tying to get PA for some friends from Venezuela (Chavez country) and having no luck!  So Germany?  Lucky family!

on Mar 11, 2010

KFC Kickin For Christ
Public school should be a place where parents can opt to send their children if they choose NOT to homeschool. 

It is the basic difference we discussed in another thread.  How America was born versus how European countries came from.  America would not think of it because we are a more independant lot even today than most European Countries.  Plus there is the key difference that Leauki taught me about.  The difference between a nation state and a country.  Basically most European countries are Nation States - in other words, all the people have a common heritage (or most all since there are immigrants).  While America is anything but that.

utemia
The history (compulsory) education is a long story.

Personally, I don't think disallowing homeschooling is a bad thing. Who is to say that parents are qualified to teach their children - the fact that they are the parents alone?

Some states make it so the parents must be certified teachers (or almost), while others just force them to follow a general curriculm.  But I agree.  I did home school one of my children one year because of a difference of philosophy with the local school division (they believed in segragation, and we did not).  I did the math and science part and my ex-wife did the other subjects.  And neither of us are teachers.

on Mar 11, 2010

9th grade completion certifies you officially to be accepted as an apprentice. Highschool diploma (Gymnasium/Abitur)  would only be necessary if you wanted to go to university. If you know from the start that you'll take over your parents carpenter business and will be a carpenter, you don't have to go to university. That doesn't mean that a carpenter can't get a high degree of qualification. After finishing apprenticeship you have to work for 5 years before you can qualify as "Meister" (master). A Meister is qualified to train apprentices and is probably equivalent to a bachelor or even masters.

Inofficially, most companies/banks/shops want people with a highschool diploma, so those who only go to school for 9 years have almost no chances. Germany's 3 partitioned school system is a big social problem and often on the political agenda.

on Mar 11, 2010

Basically most European countries are Nation States - in other words, all the people have a common heritage
The idea of a nation state didn't really take hold until mid 18th/19th century, and it took until 1871 until the first german nation state was created.

Take Bavaria for examble. Nominally, it is a german state, but bavaria had always been a semi important kingdom. Bavarians think of themselves foremost as bavarians and not as germans. The same is true for other dukedoms like Baden. Freiburg, where I live, is in Baden and the people have a fierce local patriotism. They're not afraid to show it, either. Also, Habsburg (Austria) was very multinational until WW1 ended it.

 

on Mar 11, 2010

utemia
9th grade completion certifies you officially to be accepted as an apprentice. Highschool diploma (Gymnasium/Abitur)  would only be necessary if you wanted to go to university. If you know from the start that you'll take over your parents carpenter business and will be a carpenter, you don't have to go to university. That doesn't mean that a carpenter can't get a high degree of qualification. After finishing apprenticeship you have to work for 5 years before you can qualify as "Meister" (master). A Meister is qualified to train apprentices and is probably equivalent to a bachelor or even masters.

Inofficially, most companies/banks/shops want people with a highschool diploma, so those who only go to school for 9 years have almost no chances. Germany's 3 partitioned school system is a big social problem and often on the political agenda.

I know about the vo-tech vs Gymnasium situation in Germany, but I thought they had to go to the trade school (until you mentioned differently).  In the US, students can persue the Vo-Tech route, but still have to take the core subjects that the college bound students do as well.  The funny thing is, for the trades (skilled workers), in the US, most employers do not care if you have a degree, only that you can be certified in the area (which of course does not require a HS Diploma).

Strange how things turn out. In Germany, it is not required by law, but employers almost make it so.  in the US, it is required by law, but most of the Employers don't care.

on Mar 11, 2010

utemia
The idea of a nation state didn't really take hold until mid 18th/19th century, and it took until 1871 until the first german nation state was created.
Take Bavaria for examble. Nominally, it is a german state, but bavaria had always been a semi important kingdom. Bavarians think of themselves foremost as bavarians and not as germans. The same is true for other dukedoms like Baden. Freiburg, where I live, is in Baden and the people have a fierce local patriotism. They're not afraid to show it, either. Also, Habsburg (Austria) was very multinational until WW1 ended it.

 

Very true!  I guess we mimick Europeans in some ways (I am American by birth, but Virginian by the grace of god).  Still, when I go to order dinner, my rusty spanish comes out since the people speak less english than I do spanish.  And that is the way it is all over the US (they assimilate, but still maintain their cultural indepedence).  Much like Bavaria, but think if the Bavarians were speaking Italian instead of a form of German.   And they were spread throughout Germany, not just in one place.