The Five Stages of Office Hours
Reading Time: 3 minutes
You’ve failed a test. Or you're just an obnoxious brown-noser hoping to gain your geometry teacher’s favor. The first phase of office hours has now begun: pain. Pure pain. You’ve just checked Jupiter Ed and realized you received a measly 93 on your science test, bringing your perfect 100 average down to a 95. You scream, but no sound comes out. You bang your desk, but as quietly as you can so as to not alert your family members of the felony you just committed. What will they do when they find out?
It’s time for the dreaded office hours. Phase two: prepare for doom. It’s time for you to beg for the points you lost on the silly mistake you made on the “select all that apply” question. Scrolling down the endless Google Classroom feed, you finally reach the office hours link. Still blue, you can feel the virgin link waiting for you to click it. Oblivious to what will happen next, you proceed to enter the waiting room, but of course, you have to switch to your NYC DOE account because your Stuy e-mail is not good enough. The DOE is obviously superior. You persevere through the excruciating wait times of switching your Zoom account, and you can hear the DOE laughing as they code the switch to take at least five minutes. You enter the waiting room, getting your hair ready and making sure you look somewhat presentable. You fix your collar. You adjust your glasses. You button up your shirt. The daunting horizontal bar still stains your screen: Please wait. The meeting host will let you in soon.
After a few painful minutes of waiting in the waiting room (fitting), the teacher lets you in. Unfortunately, he also lets in the entire waiting room with you. Some connect to audio while some are caught AFKing from the Zoom. The room is flooded with cameras and raised hands, hoping to get the teacher’s attention but to no avail. “Can you guys hear me?” the teacher mouths before he turns on his mic and laughs. “Oh! I was muted.” The students respond with a forced laugh, and the teacher starts calling on students, obviously coming to ask about the test. The teacher screenshots everyone’s test results to get to the questions, and he provides the questions with half-assed answers because he’s too lazy to change the grades.
“Well, we did go over the fall of the Ottoman Empire last week, so it’s your fault that you got it wrong.”
“Sir, you’re a science teacher.”
“Well, you gotta be well-rounded, son!”
The student leaves the meeting, and it’s your turn to redeem yourself. Phase three: beg. “Sir, I didn't see that this question was a select-all-that-apply question, so could I get partial credit for this assignment?” The crowd of students cringe as you hopelessly beg for mercy. “Do you think I could get extra credit?” The teacher scoffs at you and doesn’t even answer. It’s a no.
Embarrassed, you leave the meeting, and you jump straight onto your bed, tears flooding from your eyes. You land with a bang on your cardboard mattress, enjoying the last few moments of its comfort, anticipating the dense but small footsteps stomping down the hallway. It’s your mom, which initiates phase four: agony. She’s seen Jupiter Ed. She knows. “I hope you enjoy sleeping on the uncarpeted floor, punk! I can see that you’re enjoying yourself a little too much on that cardboard! If you can’t appreciate what I’ve given you and don’t study, I’m taking it away!” She rips the cardboard from underneath you, and you know there’s nothing else you can do.
Phase five: full mental breakdown. You curl up on the floor and bawl your eyes out as the unrelenting waves of disappointment roll over you. You cry yourself to sleep and wander into the endless wasteland of your dreams. BANG! You crash your head on the open drawer as you wake to the sound of loud, but hollow footsteps. It’s your dad. He bangs the door again, and this time, startled, you hurl your back against the cold, uncarpeted floor. He yells, “I’ve just received a call that you’ve missed all of your classes! What the hell are you doing! It’s 2:30 p.m., and you still haven’t woken up? You have a lot of explaining to do.” He slams the door and you groggily wake up, with pieces of paper stuck to your clammy skin. You make your way to your computer as you scroll endlessly through the Google Classroom feed looking for the office hours link, frantically searching for an excuse to blame everything on.