Kids are full of surprises.
From the moment they step into your room you really have no idea how they're going to behave. On any given day things are going to change.
If you're a teacher who reads their schoolwork, you also have no idea what to expect from their work.
Here were some of those plot twists.
Awww, Das Nice!
I had a student who was obsessed with Silverback Gorillas. I mean, EVERYTHING he wrote was about silverbacks. Even fir the most random question, for example, about Shakespeare's sonnets, and his answer would somehow quite logically twist around to his gorillas. After a while he added a character - the Queen of Sanzibar. She controlled this wild and often violent band of gorillas. At the end of that year, I ended up moving away and at my farewell lunch he gave me a card which says "there will never be another story about the Silverback Gorillas of Sanzibar because the Queen of Sanzibar is moving to Australia." Blew me away. I never thought his stories were analogies of our school/students or that I had made that much of an impact on his life. Humbling.
Misheard And Beloved
When my nephew was 6 or 7 or so they had to write a description of how to make a sandwich. My nephew proceeded to write a detailed account of how to make a " Sand Witch" which includes getting a mold of a witch and putting wet sand into it ...you get the idea. The teacher said in all her years of teaching that no kid had ever done that. She asked to keep a copy because she thought it was so funny.
Something I Have Come To Know
I had a second language learner who wrote about the death of a close relative. He talked about feelings of extreme sadness, and then said, "I have come to know that this feeling is called grief." It was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever read.
Burn Burn Burrrrrrrrn
Teaching middle school, gave an "About Me" essay early in the year. One student wrote about how they had a rough home life, parents divorcing, etc. It was very well written and heartbreaking until the last paragraph where he talked about finding religion in the past year. "I've learned not to judge people who do wrong, because only God can judge... and they will burn."
One of my kids got a writing assignment to write a new ending to a story. It was a classic star-crossed lovers narrative so I figured they'd do a happily ever after.
The female protagonist ended up using the dude for his knight status to escape the thumb of her father, then killed him and went out on her own.
A Flooring Twist
A student once wrote a story under the assigned heading of All That Glitters is not Gold. It was a first person narration told as a comedy about a mother telling her daughter on her 21st birthday about the night she brought her home from the hospital. The twist was that the mother was talking to herself in what was due to be the child's bedroom, her child had actually died the night they brought her home. This. Floored. Me.
I teach high school maths, so the opportunities for stories are more limited. I set an extended assignment on mathematically evaluating what would happen in a zombie outbreak - looking at what happens to the human population based on how fast zombies can turn them, if there's a cure, if zombies can raise the dead from graves, etc.
The last part of the assignment was to model a zombie situation of your choice, come up with some survival strategies, and show mathematically how they helped humans.
Most students picked a pop culture zombie style and used that as their inspiration. No problems. At the time, there was a big election going on, so one student decided that anyone under the sway of a particular political party must be a mindless zombie, and recreated the events of the entire election in his mathematical equations. It was a fantastic spin on it that made marking much more fun!
Write On, Dear Girl
I worked at a bookstore that had a spooky story contest for Halloween and I had to read a lot of stories by elementary students.
But there was this one.
On the first pass I guess I didn't like it, but when it came back from another reviewer I happened to read it again. The plot wasn't astounding. It was actually kind of a bad story as far as that goes. What was amazing was that the student changed her vernacular depending on whether the speech was spoken by a character or part of the narration. This is not elementary stuff. It was really incredible and such a small thing that I was so surprised that I even noticed it. It is literally a technique that was considered groundbreaking when Zora Neale Hurston did it and she's one of the greatest American writers ever. There's no way this little fourth grade girl knew about Hurston. She was just doing it naturally. I was blown away.
I tried my best to advocate for that story—even suggested a special prize. My boss would not give. I hope that little girl is still writing.
Reusing A Cliche
I know there's already a lot of "I'm actually a student" takes here but damnit I want to share mine.
We were assigned to write a full length poem in a creative writing class. Our instructor constantly reminded us to avoid clichè symbolism and metaphor, the example he kept bringing up was not to write about "wearing all black in a cemetery."
Now I'm terrible with symbolism and metaphor, every time I try to write symbolically it always reads back to me as forced or cliché. I wrote and threw out three poems and accepted my fate on the day it was due.
But that morning I took out another sheet of paper and titled it "Wearing All Black in a Cemetery." But it wasn't about death and sadness, rather the main character was dressed in all black because he was a grave robber. The poem had him getting caught and sentenced to life in prison. My instructor loved it.
Teaching 8th grade English: a student was writing about a supernatural investigator. About two thirds through the story the narrator is listing all the greatest horrors he had seen. The list ended: "I once saw an English teacher named Mr.[my name] slough off his skin and devour a classroom of students. . ." It was a great surprise (and story).
When I was a kid I wrote a story about a boy who made a fully functional plane out of LEGO. It took him several tries to get it to work, but he finally did and his parents watched him proudly as he flew around their seaside cottage. Then there was a gust of wind that blew him into a cliff and a wing broke off. He ejected and died because his parachute was a garbage bag that he held open above him.
Love Love Love
We have a national literacy and numeracy test called the NAPLAN in Australia. Instead of following the instructions for the writing task, one of my very traumatized students wrote this completely random letter to tell the recipient about how much he loves his teacher. I had a big sob when I read it. Sweet kid.
Oooh, A Chemistry One
I gave my research student a day to think of something to research with. More likely a plan to come up with. BTW, I'm a pharmacologist and the next day she came up saying, Professor, I read a newspaper and found one interesting thing that I want to try. I was like great! What is it? It talked about mixing vinyl with soda. I want to incorporate two receptor with one Enzyme to see the outcome. I'm not gonna lie, how vinyl and soda mix can bring such an idea was twisting.
Words Words Words
Not the teacher, but the student.
In 7th grade we had writing assignments with a handful of words we learned during class. There was, originally (take note of this) no word or page limit.
I was a particularly imaginative kid.
I, ah. I wrote 5+ pages of a full story, because while I managed most of the words on the front page... I had a plot going and the last word wouldn't seem right unless I cut the story too short.
I hand the papers in, grin on my face, even some illustrations in there because books with illustrations at important spots are my fucking jam, and the teacher looks like I just passed her a bomb.
Long story short, I think my teacher's plot twist was the fact I could write so much when I didn't speak a single word during class (other than a quiet "Here" during roll call), and probably the fact most of the goal words were on a single page while she had to read an entire short story for the last word.
I had a year 6 student write a multi-chapter love story with a thinly disguised version of herself as the protagonist who wins the love of her best (female) friend (who was also a thinly disguised version of the writer's bff).
It was so tender and wistful and sweet that it made me teary. I showed it (in confidence) to an older teacher who was mentoring me at the time. I felt as though the student was coming out to me, and I was unsure what to do (if anything). A few days later she came out to her family, who were very supportive.
I don't know how the situation went with the crush on the bff. They both went off to high school shortly after, so I don't know if anything eventuated.
And The Band Played On
While writing about The Magic Treehouse Tonight on the Titanic, one of my students was writing about the people once they got into the water and wrote "The people in the water looked up and saw an incredible sight." and I was expecting it to proceed with how the boat was sitting out of the water at a steep angle, or how the propellers were visible as the book describes -- nope. "The band was still playing!" was what followed.
I don't get many big twists since I teach little ones but that's the one I still like to think about sometimes because it would have been an incredible sight, for sure.
As morbid as it is, death is the inevitable yin to life's yang.
The inevitable end of our mortality looms ahead for all of us, but hopefully it's not for a long time.
That doesn't mean there are close calls along the way.
Not everyone is fortunate, but there are the lucky few who somehow managed to cheat death and lived to talk about their close calls.
Curious to hear from those who were granted another chance at life, Redditor CrownedBird asked:
"What moment made you say 'Yep, I’m definitely dead', but survived with no major injuries?"
I Exist Because Mom Ducked
"Not me, but my mom before I was born. She was riding in a convertible with a friend of hers. They came to an intersection and the friend wasn't paying attention and lost control of the vehicle. There was a big rig going through the intersection and they went right under the trailer. My mom ducked, the driver didn't not. Driver was decapitated, my mom was lucky and only ended up with a scalp full of glass and some serious psychological trauma. She had to get over 200 stitches in her scalp But nothing else significant."
"I think about it all the time and think how close I came to never being born at all."
"I was at the end of a 2 hour journey about 10 mins from home, pretty rural and I was probably complacent because I took that road everyday. I took a bend at 40MPH (legal limit was 60MPH so wasn’t breaking any speeding rules) which I’ve done many times before, probably faster which looking back was really reckless."
"Didn’t see until it was too late that a car had spun out on the other side of the corner and another car had pulled up to help. I slammed on but I wasn’t going to stop in time before hitting the cars pulled up/crashed. I was hurtling straight towards the other cars and people who where stood in the road from the other crash."
"It was like time slowed down and I was at a cross roads; in my mind I had three choices. Continue on my path and hit the other cars and people, veer to the right and go into a field but there was oncoming traffic and there was a chance I’d hit them or veer to the left and fly into a wooded area. I chose the last option, and in that moment I knew the chances of me surviving or not being seriously injured after a 40MPH head on collision to a tree in a 10 year old Ford KA was pretty slim. I just felt a complete peace come over me, turned the wheel and woke up slumped over the steering wheel to some poor man shouting ‘OMG I THINK SHES DEAD.’"
"Turned out I passed out from shock or something before the impact so when I hit the tree I was completely floppy and this contributed to me having no serious injuries. The front of my car was completely disintegrated, after coming to I tried to put my clutch down to take the car out of gear out of habit and my foot hit the tree trunk. The tree was absolutely fine. I drove past that tree everyday for years after and you could see the chunk my car took out of it."
That Strange, Calm Feeling
"I was a passenger in an accident where the car went airborne and was flipped into a concrete ditch, and knew on the way down that I was going to die. Had that same feeling of peace and just accepted it. Crossed my arms, closed my eyes, and felt so bizarrely calm. We hit, opened my eyes, and realized I was upside down but completely fine. Rest of the car was smashed flat, and driver had been thrown into my passenger 'safe bubble,' so he only had minor injuries. That feeling of peace you described is what made me comment. It makes me feel more at ease about my eventual death, hopefully will have that same calm feeling."
The result of peer pressure can be a matter of life or death.
"I had an idiot friend and we were hiking. We got to this waterfall and he goes 'dude let's climb it!' I said no f'king way. He says 'well I'm gonna do it and if I fall and die it's on you for not coming.'"
"So I climbed it with him. Got stuck halfway up on a slick a** rock. Pinched a nerve in my shoulder, so my right arm was useless. I thought I was certain to slip off the rock to my doom, but we managed to get me unstuck. That was the beginning of the end for that friendship."
Jill Came Tumbling After
"I nearly died following a friend who took a crazy route down a hill on a hike. It's crazy how strong that peer pressure can be."
"We were up on a mountain and he slid down the snow of this one section as a short cut. He went down in a crouch with one foot out front. When I tried to do it I ended up a starfish pose just spinning around as I came down. My legs rolled over a bunch of rocks and I came to a rest with my head in a snowbank."
"I had to hike down hill for like 4 hours after that and every step was excruciating. I just kept thinking if it was my head or back going over those rocks if I would have made it out. I still have scars on my leg."
Fortunately, there are heroes among us who don't want us dead.
The Guardian Angels
"Wife was pregnant and we went away for the weekend to house we rented in the mountains. Second day she went to bed early and I stayed up drawing. At 3am she comes downstairs and says she’s in a world of pain and is worried about baby (2 months before due date)."
"We head out and there is no cell reception. By the time we can call her doctor we realize the time needed to get to a hospital that has the right level NICU we might as well head back to our hospital. Two hours later we are there and due to Covid restrictions I can’t come in."
"It was freezing outside and they wouldn’t let me be anywhere in the hospital where I could lay down so I talked my way into some room in the lobby and tried to sleep while sitting. Got kicked out of there and just bummed around waiting for an update. Around noon they say they’ll be keeping her for observation but I still need to clear out from the rental."
"Driving back two hours and it starts snowing pretty hard. It’s a semi rural area and if they do plow the snow they haven’t gotten there yet. I’m being careful and fighting off sleep. The roads are super winding and high in the mountains. At some point car starts drifting across the double lines."
"I did my best to even out but it completely got away from me. Slide through the opposite lane and continue to the shoulder. I see the ledge and realize if the car doesn’t stop I’ll plummet to my death. Have a brief moment where I think about my daughter and the kid in my wife’s belly I haven’t met yet. Felt like a stab in my heart and that second go off the road completely."
"Fortunately there was enough snow in the space between the ledge to trap my car. I passed out in the crash but luckily a couple was a minute or two behind me and their honking snapped me out of it. They pulled me out of the car and went to get help (no service on the mountain). A couple of other people stopped including a guy who had a big pickup. We dug the car out some and rigged the rope so he was able to pull me out."
"Despite Covid I had to be physically removed from both these guys because I was hugging them so tight. I was able to make it back to the hospital without anyone knowing. Told them after the kid was born. Sent my guardian angels pictures and $100 gift cards as if that’s adequate."
Rescue With Assistance
"I was a senior in high school, and the student club I was in organized an unofficial beach trip towards the end of the year; no teachers or official permission, leaving me and a few other seniors in charge of supervising everything. After a couple hour’s worth of fun, one of the other students came running up to me and said that three of the younger members of the club had been swept out by a riptide and couldn’t get back towards the shore."
"Me and two other of the older students, all experienced swimmers, immediately went to go help them; my friends got two of the three kids in trouble and started guiding them parallel to the shore to get them out of the current, but the guy I went for was panicking, barely staying above the water, and started dragging me down with him almost immediately. I yelled for people to get a lifeguard and tried to keep both of us afloat, but after a few minutes (maybe five, maybe ten, it felt like forever) I was getting exhausted, having trouble keeping both of us above the water, and I couldn’t see anyone coming to the rescue."
"I started getting big mouthfuls of water and my leg muscles were starting to cramp up, and I remember thinking 'Holy sh*t I might actually die right here, right now' as the current started pulling us further and further away from where everyone was."
"Thankfully for everyone involved, one of the students on the beach had flagged down a couple of surfers, who made their way out to where we were as quickly as they could and hauled first the younger student and then me onto the front of their boards and took us back to shore. I’ll always be thankful and appreciative for those strangers who put themselves in the dangerous position of rescuing two drowning swimmers."
"Edit: As several people have pointed out, it’s not uncommon for people to die doing what I did, i.e swimming into the water to rescue a drowning swimmer without training or equipment; there are a few techniques for rescuing someone drowning in the comments that everyone should learn if they’re ever in the unfortunate situation of having to use them. I should’ve used them, but I was 17 and not thinking straight at the time and almost paid the price because of it."
I nearly got smashed by a 18-wheeler driven by a drunkard who was swerving in and out of his side of traffic.
I had to decided to either swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid a more devastating head-on collision or into the row of parked cars on the busy street.
I chose the latter just as the semi clipped the rear corner of my vehicle and spun me 180.
I didn't hit any parked cars, but my vehicle was inoperable. The semi was nowhere to be found but I was more focused on the fact that I came out of that scary situation completely unscathed.
I continue counting my blessings to this day.
A "fun fact" refers to a piece of information that might not be widely known.
Though, the "fun" in "fun fact" is often widely debatable.
Indeed, more often than not, people find or are told a "fun fact" about anything from an animal species to a famous celebrity which might make them want to cry or even throw up.
"What is a NOT fun fact?"
Consdider Putting A Newspaper Down First...
"Bus seats are designed so that you cannot tell how dirty they really are."- SmallAndScarred
Alone in The Ocean...
"There is a whale called 52 Blue that only sings at their frequency meaning it can't communicate with other whales."
"It is nicknamed the loneliest whale on the planet."- TheLegendaryJet
Definitely Not Dry As a Bone...
"Your skeleton is w e t."- Genesis-BaeDance Halloween GIF by aurelGiphy
Puts The Movement in Bowel Movement
"Your intestines will 'wriggle' themselves back into the correct position."
"Doctors who do any type of intestinal surgery don’t have to worry, too much, about how they put the intestines back in."-H010CR0N
Body And Soul Is An Understatement
"A certain type of angler fish reproduce via the Male burrowing into the side of the female, eventually fusing."
"The Male life is lost in the process."- Allceleatial
Never Actually Free
"People who survived the Holocaust and get Alzheimer's often think they are back in the camps."
"So they escape one of humanity's greatest horrors only to die in it 50 years later."- digitaldavegordon
One And The Same
"If you are an identical twin it is possible that you and your siblings identity’s were swapped and your parents never caught it."- m00n-b4b3shining stanley kubrick GIFGiphy
You're Not Fooling Anyone
"Sometimes you're the bad guy."- StrenuouslySexy
Worth The Pain And Discomfort?
"When you get a sunburn, it's actually your cells dying so they don't get tumorous." - Reddit
Lasting A Long Time Might Be Cause For Concern...
"The reason you’re supposed to contact a doctor if you have an erection lasting longer than four hours is because prolonged priapism can lead to gangrene of the penis."
"Blood goes in, deoxygenates, but can’t leave, so there’s no way for fresh oxygenated blood to come in, causing the tissue to turn black and die."
"Don’t worry, though!"
"This can be treated by using a big syringe to suck the trapped blood out."- boopbaboop·someone erection GIFGiphy
When sharing a "fun fact" with a friend, it might be worthwhile to think about the information you're about to share.
And whether or not it is, in fact, "fun".
Instead, maybe share a tidbit, or "info"?
Even if neither roll of the tongue quite as easily...
We've all heard some conspiracy theories about certain businesses, most of which are outrageously false.
That laundromats are simply a facade for shadier practices (including, not so ironically, money laundering) or that the Coca-Cola company invented "New Coke" with the express purpose of improving sales on original Coke.
But every now and then, we can't help but wonder what really goes on behind closed doors in certain professions.
And are eager to hear all the juicy tidbits from people working in that industry.
"What’s an industry secret in the field you work in?"
Literal Money Grabbing Machines
"I design slot machines for casinos."
"Don’t play slots."- psychfan5
Speak When Spoken To!
"I'm an attorney."
"The secret is shut the f*ck up."- --IIII--------IIII--
They Are In Good Hands
"Managed boarding and grooming kennels for 8 years."
"The secret is that the employees actually do love your pets too."
"Even the difficult ones, most of us realize they just miss their people."
"The number of times I’ve weeped when a pet died, or spent way too many hours comforting a dog with separation anxiety, or spent hours off the clock with a boarder who needed to be rushed to a vet office, wouldn’t trade it for the world."
"Some pets just suck though, not gonna lie."- breadandbirdsDogs Stripping GIF by Artero Professional LineGiphy
They Just Want To Go Home!
"I'm a server."
"No matter how much we insist it's 'okay' that you are keeping the entire restaurant open after we've closed, please know we are 100% lying."
"We will get fired if we deviate from anything other than pure delight that you are keeping us from going home."
"We dread it."
"Please don't believe us."- MorddSith187
Don't Be Fooled By The Price
"I used to work in jewelry."
"Most of the prettiest gemstones are also very affordable."
"Tanzanite is a beautiful purple and looks nicer than amethyst."
"Topaz comes in lots of colors, including a pretty blue color which can be as nice as aquamarine."
"Opals aren't as brightly rainbow hued as they look in pictures."- rubicks56
What Are You Looking At?!?!
"Almost every hairstylist gets the heebie jeebies when we shampoo your hair and you just stare up at us."
"CLOSE. YOUR. DAMN. EYES at the shampoo bowl!"- picklemetimberzzHair Wash GIF by ALLBLK (formerly known as UMC)Giphy
You're More Qualified Than You Think!
"Used to screen resumes for small companies."
"Job 'requirements' are more of a wish-list situation."
"Never let some unchecked boxes deter you from applying, you have no idea what the applicant pool is like."
"The biggest boon, especially at small companies, is someone who legitimately cares."- TwoPesetas
If You Wonder What Makes It So Delicious...
"There is way more butter than you think in almost every dish you eat at fancy restaurants, and that is usually the reason you won't see the amount of calories in each dish."
"5 years as a chef in Italian cuisine head chef, 8 years in an Italian kitchen."
" f I could recomend one guide book for you all to have in your kitchen it would be Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat."
"Yes there are a plethora of others but this one is my personal favorite."- BackslashR
That's Why It Smells So Familiar!
"Former bath and body works associate here."
"The scents they 'discontinue' will come back with a different name and new marketing."
"They’re just recycling the scents."- xyenz08Bath And Body Works Perfume GIF by Bath & Body Works Asia AustraliaGiphy
Nothing Wrong With A Second Opinion
"Some therapists/counselors are on the wrong side of the couch, so to speak."
"If you feel your mental health provider is unhinged, they may very well be."- FriktionalTales
Hearing secrets about certain industries divulged can be a blessing and a curse.
No one would complain about not wasting their money away on slot machines.
Though, health conscious people might not want to know what really goes into their food when they go out to eat...
Finding a healthy work/life balance is extremely difficult.
Depending on their jobs, some people are barely home in time to spend any quality time with their loved ones, and weekends are hardly relaxing, as they are often devoted to chores and errands.
These are only a few reasons many people have pushed to adopt four day work weeks.
And while there seem to be multiple advantages to one's mental health and self-esteem, could eliminating 8 hours of work possibly have any downsides to it?
"How do you feel about a 4 day work week?"
Improve Mental Health
"Working a 5 day work week just makes life seem so much more pointless."
"By the time I get the other things I need to do, grocery shopping, appointments, etc., done, it's Sunday night."
"A 4 day work week might give me time to play the piano I bought to combat depression."- IHateCarShopping123
It Works, As Long As You Go All Or Nothing...
"My employer gives us every other Friday off."
"We work 80 hours over 9 days (M-F, M-Th)."
"It’s really helpful to have those Fridays to schedule appointments, and I have less desire to burn PTO throughout the year just to take a much-needed Friday off."
"Through the end of October, I had only used 2.5 PTO hours for the year, mostly for doctor’s visit.
"The only real downside is that on the Fridays that we do work, nobody wants to do anything."- MuppetHolocaust
No Downside Whatsoever
"My company switched to 4 10 hour days."
"We are diesel technicians and work 7-5:30."
"Half of us work Monday through Thursday and the other half work Tuesday through Friday."
"We have did this for over two years and we all love it."
"It is so nice to have a three day weekend every week."
"Another thing about it that is nice is if you doctors appointment or something I can make it on a Monday and don’t have to miss any work."
"Plus I forgot to mention having a two month this helps out a ton."
"More time for me to be with my wife and daughter."
"And if there is a lot to do I can just come in on Monday and boom 10 hours of overtime."- skatermofo101Working For The WeekendGiphy
But Would You Hate Tuesdays?...
"I would probably hate Mondays less."- tonksdc
So Much More Time To Devote To House And Home!
"Life would be that much better."
"I would have somewhere around 50 extra days a year to do all the yard work and home projects that I don't want to spend all weekend doing."- forman98
Yet It Still Hasn't Caught On?
"They talked about this in the 70s."
"Yay everyone said."
"My dad did it."
"He worked 4 12+ hr days and took off Friday."
"Everyone else was like, if I work the 12 hrs the 4 days plus another 12, I can make even more money!"
"Yay!"- implodemodeExcited Jonah Hill GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Show Me The Money!
"Provided there's no drop in salary, f*cking brilliant."- PM_ME_CURVES_OR_TOES
A Weekend Could Actually Feel Like A Weekend!
"I would gladly work 4 ten hour days to have an extra day off."
"2 day weekends are too short."
"They’re gone just as soon as you start to feel comfortable."- witdaSlime
When companies and organizations were forced to regroup and restructure when the global pandemic first hit in March of 2020, several companies also took the opportunity to re-evaluate their operations in the long term.
With all the evidence suggesting an overall improvement to everyone's mental and physical well-being that a four day work week provides, one can only hope it becomes more commonplace with each passing year.