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Website / Not Always Learning

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Not Always Learning is a sister site of Not Always Right, added to the network in 2013. The site contains stories that take place in and around schools, featuring teachers good and bad, bullies getting owned, misadventures in test-taking, and lots more. (As usual, remember to be careful sifting through these, as there's no way of knowing which stories are legit or not.)

Note: Due to a restructuring of the entire NAR site network, the hyperlinks below may or may not work anymore.


Not Always Learning contains examples of:

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    Tropes A-I 

    Tropes J-P 
  • Japanese Ranguage: "Then, another man began to crap. Soon, everyone is crapping. I think they enjoyed my song, after all."
  • Jerkass: Unfortunately.
    • Many stories tagged with "bully", naturally, fall under this.
    • This teacher calls for a parent-teacher conference just to insult a completely different former student.
    • This teacher gives a student detention for being a few seconds late, which would be bad enough by itself - but it's made worse by the fact that the student's little brother had died the night before and the student had been up all night. Fortunately another teacher and a counselor intervened, and when that failed the principal intervened personally.
      • While it's no excuse for the teacher's actions, perhaps the teacher had to deal with a few students like this in the past, and thought this student was pulling a similar stunt.
    • This student outlines their plan for if they ran the world - round up all the "retards and gays" in special camps where they would be shot down daily. Add in Holocaust denial and self-serving hypocrisy (teen mothers "didn't do anything wrong" because his/her sister is one, but the groups s/he hates were "cursed by God" so it's okay) for the perfect trifecta of asshole.
    • This teacher, after complimenting a student on their The Once and Future King project (calligraphy on a parchment scroll, having learned calligraphy just for this), gives them a B- because the lines weren't completely straight. For comparison, another student who just did the project on notebook paper and mistook a pair of kings for each other got a higher grade - when this is pointed out, the teacher tells the student "if you're going to do something, do it right!"
    • This teacher is apparently giving her students' Father's Day artwork to the wrong people - even going so far as to sign the wrong names onto them - just for the sake of being an asshole.
    • These girls do next to no work for a presentation, forcing the submitter to do it all - and then they try to tell the teacher they were the hard-workers and the submitter was the lazy one.
    • This teacher deliberately fails a first-grade student, even though all their answers were correct. Turns out it's because the student is one of the only Caucasian people in a class made up predominately of Hispanics, as evidenced by the teacher saying to her face that "I don’t care how blond or blue eyed you are, you will fail my class".
    • This algebra teacher mocks and treats the submitter like she's stupid due to the latter being a quiet person and not very good in math. When the submitter asks the teacher for help, he refuses and says she should figure it out for herself. When the student gets hospitalized for a week, causing her to miss her midterms, the teacher refuses to let her take her exam and gives her a zero, claiming the submitter faked being sick so she could had time to study in spite of the fact the whole school was informed and proof was given. The submitter's father complains to the principal about what the teacher did, which causes the principal to order the teacher to allow the submitter to take her midterm exam in a quiet classroom. Instead, the teacher tries to fail the submitter again by not allowing her to take her exam in a quiet classroom, but in a noisy classroom to distract her so that she will fail the exam and coldly tells her she deserves it for "skipping" the midterms. Thankfully, the principal has had enough with the jerkass teacher and makes sure the midterm he sabotaged would not be included in the submitter's final score. The submitter got a new teacher who was more willing to help with her math problems, and the jerkass teacher was written up and later fired because other students and parents reported he did the same thing to them.
    • This teacher acts like a jerk to a young boy because she doesn't believe he doesn't have a computer to type in his essays and accuses him of being a liar. And when his mother tells the teacher it's actually true, the teacher calls her a bad parent and demands that she buy a computer, not caring that the mother is poor and computers are too expensive (as this took place during the 1990s).
    • This substitute teacher with a reputation for being bossy and insufferable refuses to believe that a student (one of the smartest students in class) finished his test in fifteen minutes (saying this without even looking at his paper to check) and forces the student to go back to his desk to "finish". When the student begins writing in his journal to pass the rest of the hour-and-a-half away, the substitute storms over, snatches the journal away, slaps the student when he protests and reaches to take the journal back, and then smugly begins destroying the journal right in front of him. The student punches the substitute out in retaliation, and the teacher brings the administrator into the classroom in an attempt to get the student expelled. However, the other students speak up in the first student's defense and explain that the substitute instigated the incident, and one student reveals that they recorded the incident on their phone (to the substitute's horror). The substitute teacher was subsequently fired and got her teaching license revoked.
    • This science teacher has been treating the OP poorly all year, ignoring her at best and implying she's an idiot at worst. It turns out that because she was homeschooled, he assumes her parents must have been a couple of fundies who raised her to believe in creationism. When informed they were an atheist and a pagan, and only homeschooled her because they traveled a lot, the teacher simply refuses to believe it, and throws the OP out of the classroom, along with a friend who spoke up for her. He does get put right after a meeting with the principal and her parents and leaves her alone, but there's no mention of an apology.
    • This professor apparently prides himself on the fact that, supposedly, nobody ever gets more than 80% in his testsnote , due to his incredibly petty grading policy which requirs each answer to be worded exactly as his answer list specifies. So when one of the students scores 98% despite this, the professor immediately decides they must have cheated and gives them a 0. This ends up getting the professor in trouble with the department's dean, who forces the professor to be more lenient (or possibly actually takes over grading the class); at the end of the semester the professor takes an "indefinite sabbatical" which was evidently permanent, as he hasn't been back in five years.
    • This teacher constantly assigns the class large amounts of homework on stuff they haven't even learned yet, as well as huge monthly projects and plays they are required to perform in, and doesn't care that the OP has special needs and is only supposed to do a certain amount per night. It all comes to a head on the last day of the summer term, when she issues four assignments, of course on material they haven't learned, and informs the class that they have to hand it in personally on the first day of the new grade or they will fail — which will be impossible for half the class, as the school is located on a USAF base in England, and their parents will have been transferred out of the country by then. She still doesn't care. Thankfully, the OP's mom and ten other parents all report the teacher to the principal; the assignments are cancelled, the teacher is fired, and the principal personally apologises to the OP for what the teacher put them through.
    • In this story, the poster, a student, has been off for two weeks with adult chickenpox, and all their professors understand the situation and are willing to help them catch up — except for their linguistics professor, whose response to the situation is a condescending "Oh, what a pity." He insists that they take the test that is set for that day the following day, but then lies about what they need to study for it; after all, the student would have learned the necessary material if they had attended class. They couldn't because they were off sick? Oh, what a pity. The student, unsurprisingly, fails the test, and, knowing they will probably fail the class as a result, drops it. Oh, what a pity. Fortunately, they do eventually retake it with a more conscientious professor, though the jerkass professor receives no consequences for his uncaring attitude or unwillingness to do his job properly.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In a class about medicine, one "teeny tiny" mistake really can have dire consequences.
  • Jerkass Realization: These two students realize the reason they were never bullied in school: They were the bullies.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: The teacher in this story is not reported for locking a student in a closet and leaving them there because the student assumed they deserved it somehow. Fortunately, his temper would get him fired a year later.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Volunteering at a company demonstration gets this apprentice recognized by trainers and management as a good candidate for a high-pay, high-responsibility job, despite being otherwise underqualified.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock:
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Much like doctors and nurses on Not Always Working, there are a sad number of stories where teachers seem to believe that they know more than their students simply by virtue of being a teacher, rather than having actually learned anything to do with their subject. Worse, these are usually the types who have also determined that their entire job is to be seen as the smartest person in the classroom, and as such will attempt to punish any student that proves to know better than they do.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After this incident, where a teacher flips a student's desk because she knew the student wouldn't pass a neatness check, the student's mother shows up in the classroom to respond in kind, then pulls her child from that teacher's class. The teacher is later investigated and fired, and her teaching license revoked.
    • A mean teacher who refuses to let a student with fifth disease rash leave class early to call her parents despite the evidence appearing on her skin. When the student came back to school after getting cured, she learned the mean teacher got fifth disease.
    • The Obstructive Bureaucrat teacher from this story falls on their sword in this one after not only failing to help solve a rash of petty thefts at the school but also harassing and nearly getting a wheelchair-bound student arrested after jumping to the conclusion that she was responsible for the thefts through Insane Troll Logic.
    • A substitute teacher holding a petty grudge against another teacher (the OP) for not making a big deal out of sending the sub's daughter home from school barrages the OP (who is sick at home) with phone calls just to annoy them and tries to get them in trouble with upper management by claiming that the OP was not giving her sufficient instructions in teaching the class. The sub's plan falls apart when another teacher she doesn't like discovers what the sub is doing, resulting in the sub losing her temper and throwing things at the other teacher right in front of class. Not only is the sub fired and made a Persona Non Grata at the school, but the OP gets in no trouble as the sub gloated about harassing the submitter as she was attacking the other teacher.
    • Another substitute refuses to believe the submitter's claims that she's really nauseous and denies her bathroom access until a scheduled break, resulting in her puking on the substitute's shoes.
  • Latin Land: A bizarre example here, in which a Puerto Rican student is assumed to be Mexican by a Mexican teacher, who is bewildered that she doesn't know what Día de Los Muertos is. When the student corrects the teacher about her nationality, the teacher just becomes more confused — "Catholics in Puerto Rico don’t celebrate Día de Los Muertos?"note  The student patiently replies, "I’m a Protestant, Señora."
  • Lethally Stupid: This teacher, who is convinced that a cisgender boy named Seth is, in fact, a transgender girl named Beth and "her" parents are transphobic, all because she misread his cursive handwriting and doesn't think "Seth" is a real name. The fact she's wrong on both counts is a very, very good thing, given her idiotic idea to confront the student's mother and accuse her of trans erasure rather than talk to the student in question to make sure this "transgender girl" actually is a transgender girl. Outing a trans girl to her parents against her will already makes you a danger to any transgender student. Outing a trans girl to her parents against her will when you think the parents are transphobic is so incomprehensibly idiotic that any death resulting from the abuse the parents will inflict on their so-called "son" for identifying as a girl should bring manslaughter charges.
  • Like Is, Like, a Comma: After her teacher warns her about middle school and especially the popular girls, the brilliant student plans to invoke this trope with a little Obfuscating Stupidity to be a smart and popular girl. The teacher wholeheartedly agrees.
  • Literal Metaphor: An unintentional version here. A musical director describes the cast's less-than-energetic rehearsal as "anemic", not realizing that most of the students present had just donated to a blood drive, meaning they literally were a bit anemic at that point.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • This university receptionist asks a student if he had a pencil ready to take down some information. The student takes it to mean that he literally needs a pencil, instead of the pen he had handy, and fumbles around for one, eventually hanging up after fruitless searching. The receptionist asks from then on if they have something to write with.
    • When asked to provide an explanation of the steps he took to solve a math problem, this fourth-grader takes it Up to Eleven and explains literally everything in painstaking detail - to the point that his explanation for the solution ends up taking nearly three times as much space as other students in his class.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • This university professor has strict formatting rules for submitted essays... too bad he forgot to mention they had to be typed.
    • A student, giving an improvised two-minute speech regarding war, runs out of material a minute in. So he asks for a minute of silence for those who died.
    • This student tries to get around a rule that says undergarments must not be visible. However, he tries this by wearing no undergarments at all.
    • This student apparently believes plagiarizing an entire paper for her essay is perfectly acceptable, because nobody actually said that cheating isn't allowed. Naturally, she doesn't win when she tries to appeal her grade. Most public US universities DO have a schoolwide "Academic Dishonesty" policy, under which plagiarism is punishable by immediate expulsion, no refunds— so yes, there WAS a rule, and that girl's lucky all the TA did was fail her.
    • This professor administers a test where the students are allowed to use "any resource in the room" for reference, since the class is more about knowing how to find the information they need than about memorizing it. Mid-test, one student realizes the professor is a resource, and asks for help with a particularly difficult question. After a beat, the professor tells them where to find the answer, and then patches the loophole for future tests.
    • One middle-school English teacher let students score points for reading books, but forgot to set a cap on the number of points students could earn. Cue one bookworm student reading and turning in the forms for 130 books, earning an A without doing a single regular assignment. Next semester, the syllabus was changed to limit points from reading books.
    • A teacher tells his kindergarten class to put their Pokémon cards away. When he sees one student playing with cards, the student points out that they are Digimon cards. "You got me there."
    • After a school easter egg hunt, kids take their candy to class and are instructed to not unwrap it until later. The narrator notices one kid who realized the teacher said nothing about eating still-wrapped candy.
    • In 1979, programmable calculators were a new thing. One student programmed all the calculations he'd need for a difficult test into his calculator. The teacher gave him an A "for exploiting this loophole which I will now close."
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: invoked As this person admits.
  • Malaproper: This teacher. ("I don’t think that word means what she thinks it means.")
  • Mama Bear:
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: One student wonders what happens if a girl has a baby and they don't know who the mother is.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: If a student propositions a TA, the TA is not supposed to accept.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
  • Mayan Doomsday: This kid's parents believed it.
  • Million-to-One Chance: This first-aid teacher decided to show the class some photos of injuries they'd never encounter in real life, just to see if they could work out the correct treatment. Out of four photos, three of them were ones that happened to either the poster's relatives or her friend's relatives.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher:
    • This teacher has her sociology students, in a university, write down words they use to describe other people. That's the whole lesson. She giggles if any students give "naughty, sweary" words (as she puts it). The narrator of the story takes advantage of this to insult her to her face, with such words as infantile and patronizing, and she just cheers him/her on for having a big vocabulary.
    • This vice-principal at a high school does an intercom speech regarding students jaywalking on school property... in a style that would be better suited for elementary school students.
    • This woman who teaches an English class for middle school-aged kids insists on reading the students' assigned books to the students herself, goes on long-winded tangents about her childhood, treats the students like they are much younger than they actually are, and assigns ridiculously simple one-page tests for the students to do, when they are at the age that they should be ready for essays, studying, and otherwise doing their assignments and homework themselves. The students put up with this for two years until the school administrator finally steps in and takes over the class, while the teacher is reassigned to an elementary school class.
    • This one teaches a college-level course that is supposed to teach other people how to teach music classes. Instead, she sits behind the piano and tells them all to sing children's songs. When called out, she basically stops trying to teach altogether.
  • Miss Conception: A variation.
    Female Student: *grabs her breasts* Hey, how does milk get in these anyway?
  • Mistaken for Dyed: This student had to prove to their substitute teacher that their red hair is natural.
  • Mistaken for Racist:
    • "I don't like Tiana. I just don't like her color... I don't really like green."
    • The submitter here stops socializing with an Asian classmate because said classmate has a very bad attitude. The teacher calls the submitter racist when they attempt to explain this fact.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Well, mistaken for teacher in this case. Even by the teacher.
  • Mondegreen: Brings a spontaneous performance of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" to a halt.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Employed by this teacher as a hint, after the question itself goes unanswered. It worksnote .
  • MRS Degree:
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • This professor tries to force a military veteran to move forward from the back of the classroom, and won't brook any argument. After the veteran leaves in disgust, one of the students (also disgusted with the professor's behavior) mentions that the veteran's uncle is the dean. The professor "resigned for personal reasons" a week later.
    • In this story, a student fails to recognize his professor and insults him, earning him an extra homework assignment. To the student's credit, he actually does a half-decent job on the assignment. Lesson learned, we hope.
    • This bully is just asking for a fight. (No, literally, he is.) A grade one girl gives it to him.
    • Tried and failed by a student who expected a passing grade in a required-for-graduation course despite not attending a single class or completing a single assignment. "You will give me a passing grade, or my lawyer will be contacting the school."
  • Mundane Solution: Sometimes, this is the answer the teacher is looking for.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Played for laughs in this solution. The teacher gets a bout of in-universe Fridge Logic later on when she wonders how come murder only solves the problem 80% of the time.
  • Must Have Nicotine: This driving instructor, who cannot manage a full hour without a smoke, always taking ten minutes out of his hour-long sessions so he can do so. He also insists that the students have their driver's window open at all times, thought by the submitter to be because he's always smoking in his car and doesn't want to fill the vehicle up with smoke. It ends up biting him in the ass when he insists his students have the window open when it's freezing cold and raining heavily, so by the time the session ends the two students from that session are very cold and very wet, and when his bosses find out (about that, and about the unauthorized breaks) they fire him.
  • My Beloved Smother:
    • This mother is a little too desperate to make sure that her college-student son's eating.
    • This mother complains about the submitter “traumatizing” her daughter and teaching “how to kill an innocent animal,” in the sense that he explained the basic concepts of where certain types of food came from. When the headmaster defends the submitter, the mother screams at the two, threatening to get them fired. She does so by showing up at the house of a board member, only leaving when the board member threatens to call the police, and removes the daughter from school on the grounds that it is “too provocative.” She later gets arrested for assault and loses custody. The girl’s father is implied to be a much better parent.
    • This mother grounds her son, forces him to attend literally every minute of in-school tutoring possible, calls him a high-school dropout, chews him out because another student smiled at him in greeting, and on and on. Why? Because, due to a quirk in the grading system that registered an incomplete part of a project as a zero, the otherwise straight-A student temporarily has a B in one class. Naturally, this explanation goes in one of the mother's ears and out the other, and she outright says that a B is 'teaching [her] son that failure is okay'. And as they're leaving, she continues to chew him out for 'flunking school' (her actual words).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Two friends come to the realization they were bullies.
  • Naïve Newcomer: This Japanese student doesn't realize those "friendly" American ads for people who want a late night chat are in fact phone sex lines.
  • Name's the Same: invoked
    • This poor girl keeps getting called to the vice-principal's office because someone else with the exact same name is causing trouble. Thankfully, the people at the office generally realize their mistake when the first girl shows up.
    • This teacher took most of the semester to realize there were two girls named Sally in the class. By that time, she'd already marked the wrong Sally truant for an entire week.
    • This professor's students tell him of a death row inmate in another state who happens to share his name. The professor promptly wonders if he happens to be the same classmate from his high school days who also shared his name.
    • This math class (which is over twice as large as it usually is) has a lot of students that share names, which the professor discovers during roll call.
    • Another case of a troublemaker with the same name as a more behaved student.
  • Never My Fault: This substitute teacher refuses to admit he messed up a high school class's calculus exam by entering the questions incorrectly into the computer with incorrect answers. This resulted in all of the students failing, when the answers the class wrote down were correct and they actually passed the exam. The normal teacher and the principal thankfully intervene and the substitute is fired, while the students get their correct grades. Still not willing to take accountability, he writes to the local newspaper and school board, accusing the students of cheating the exam by blackmailing the school and demanding their expulsion because according to him, students who are part of a study group leads to gang activity.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: This teacher gets annoyed at a student for staring at falling snow out the window instead of working, pointing out that nobody else in the class is doing so - turns out this is only because they didn't notice the snow, until the teacher very helpfully pointed it out to them.
  • No Indoor Voice: Behold 'The Screamer'. Who is an adult, not a child.
  • No Longer with Us: Assumed by this student.
  • Noodle Incident: One student has negative thoughts about Montana because his uncle got lost out there and was eventually found naked in a cave. No further details are given.
  • No Periods, Period: This PE teacher forgot this trope doesn't exist in real life.
    • Some things transcend language barriers.
    • A frequent story: Female student needs to use the restroom, teacher says no, female student blurts out why she needs to use the restroom, horrified/humiliated teacher lets her go.
    • This terrible teacher tried to have a student punished for explaining why she suddenly needed the restroom. At a girls' school. The OP concludes by wondering what that teacher does about her own monthly.
    • Another teacher tried to publicly shame a female student for being late to class by demanding she announce her "excuse" in front of the whole class. He wasn't expecting a list of what one needs to do to when one's period starts in the middle of the night without warning.
      He’s never hassled another student like that again — especially the girls.
    • This student, on the other hand, plays it perfectly straight... for good reason.
    • This (male) teacher tried to shame a (female) student for giving her (female) friend unknown items in class by asking if she'd brought enough for everyone, only to be shamed himself when the student nonchalantly asked if he needed a pad or a tampon. The ending implies the teacher learned from this, as when he became principal, he made sure the girls' bathrooms always stocked menstrual supplies.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: A female student was locked out of her dorm, but doesn't have the money to pay a security officer to open it for her. She tries an...alternate method of payment.
    Security Officer: Well, those are very nice. Now, that’ll be £5 please.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: This student drove a teacher crazy by repeatedly subverting the trope.
  • Not Me This Time: This story, a follow-up to this one, involves a series of petty thefts going on around the PE class (and often unusual things like single shoes, pencil cases and not phones or cash). Everyone immediately suspects the attention-seeker who nearly got the submitter expelled in the first story, suspecting it to be yet another one of her many schemes to grab attention, but in the end it turns out to be a completely different student who nobody really knew who was stealing people's things and hiding them at her home just to be a Troll. She is busted and everyone's items are returned to their rightful owners.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: This agricultural professor gets accosted by a woman who thinks his doctorate means he knows how to deliver babies.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Many of the stories show an administrative policy that keeps the victims from defending themselves and lets the guilty get away. It's especially horrific when the official policy is that bullying, no matter how criminal, does not happen unless a teacher sees it. For a full year, the pint-sized terror got away with it because the teachers were expressly forbidden from taking witness statements, because the bully would attack them while the teachers had their backs turned or were elsewhere, and then made it look like he was being attacked when the teachers showed up.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Or something similar, and you have to admit his reason for learning how to do it makes sense.
  • Off the Rails: One student manages to derail a political game by getting people to contribute their money to them without realizing, and eventually dissolves the partnership and keeps all the money for themselves.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Lampshaded here.
  • Omniglot: Downplayed, because the person in question "only" speaks three languages, but..."Wait, did you just tell him not to speak Spanish in an English class, in Korean?"
  • Overly Preprepared Gag: This gag here.
  • Papa Wolf: This dad calmly and epically tore a teacher and vice principal to shreds when they were bullying his daughter over wearing glasses.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Invoked by this student.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Someone put up a picture of Ben Franklin on a wall next to other famous scientists with a caption that included the word "scientifical". This person's teacher later added a post-it saying that it's actually a real word.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: You can't say South African! It's racist! You have to say African-American!
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure:
  • Potty Failure: Discussed here. The submitter is an American teacher working in Mexico, and tells a coworker they needed a month for their digestive system to get accustomed to the local food, "even ended up having to throw away a pair of underwear."
  • Power Perversion Potential: One class goes into a discussion about what they would do if they could turn invisible. A male student says he would go to the girls' locker room, which is met with immediate revulsion from the rest of the class.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": "Don't you dare say it!"
  • Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With: A textbook case, followed by a textbook retort.
  • The Problem with Pen Island: Occurs in this story, which takes place in a Spanish class. The students all have progress sheets that use one- or two-letter codes, one of which is "ME" for mucho efuerzo ("much effort"). Upon explaining to the students the correct Spanish phrase whenever a student is asked to give themselves an "ME", the teacher ends up writing DATE ME ("date" meaning "give yourself") on the board.
  • Puppy Love: On the first day of kindergarten: "I met (Boy). I'm going to marry him someday!" "Uh-huh." Twenty years later, they do.
  • Pyromaniac: This science teacher, who makes the best of it.

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