Another Day at the Office

by Chris Hlad…

I teach online Excel classes to a bunch of nitwits who should have had this program down oh, I don’t know, let’s say ten years ago?

I know, I’m probably breaking some teacher’s code of ethics by saying this. There has got to be a rule book somewhere stating teachers must never, ever say anything bad about their students.

F the rule book, that’s what I say.

Do you really believe that all of the crazy thoughts you tell your Shrink about don’t become fodder for that evening’s cocktail hour? Do you that your Primary Care Physician can’t wait to tell her fellow Doctors about that funny spot on your…use your imagination.


I don’t care what your title is; if you have a job your going to talk smack about your co-workers, your customers or whoever it is that pays your bills with somebody. It may be your other co-workers, it may be your significant other(s), it may be your priest for all I care.

At the end of the day we all talk smack. Deal with it.

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, though; I don’t talk smack about all of my students (I really do), just this particular bunch. See, these are the students that keep coming back to my Level 1 Class because they JUST DON’T GET IT. I understand you may not get it down pat the first time, but five Level 1 Classes? Really? REALLY?

If I come across as bitter and frustrated, I AM. You see, it’s a direct reflection of me when the same students keep coming back for the SAME F’ING CLASS. Even in the online world, people are held accountable. I tried to explain to my superiors that it’s the same group that just isn’t getting it and how all of my other students, well, excel in Excel (nice, huh?).

They say they get it, but they don’t. They throw in little suggestions like ‘Maybe you should try a different approach?’ or ‘How about slowing it down a bit for this group?’

Slow it down? What? It’s an online class. How the hell am I supposed to ‘slow it down’. IT’S A TIMED! Sometimes I wonder who the real nitwits are – the students or my bosses?

And it isn’t like I didn’t tell these students that they should consider taking the class from a different teacher. I threw out this suggestion and was showered with: ‘No! You’re my favorite teacher!’ and ‘I really like you Miss Edwards’. There’s more, but you get the gist.

But I’ll tell you, I’m really starting to lose my mind with this bunch. Do you know what the definition of insanity is? Something along the same lines of ‘doing the exact same thing repeatedly and expecting different results’. I guess that only makes me partially insane, because, as I just told you, I’ve tried different methods.

Cut me some slack, though. There are only so many ways you can teach someone to spell the word ‘Apple’, right?

But I’ve come up with something a little different for this session. He he.

And I don’t think this bane of my existence will be asking for any of my classes in the foreseeable future…

It’s amazing what you can get on Craigslist or any other search engine out there, especially on the Dark Web.

But I didn’t go to the Dark Web for this particular service. Honestly, that place is real. And it’s really scary. There are some sick people out there. But that’s another story for another drive time. I guess it takes all kinds to keep this great big world spinning: epic Excel failures, twisted people on the internet and people who teach online classes.

No, the guy I hired is a complete professional. He said he’s been working in special effects for most of his life, and this should be a ‘no brainer’.

Okay, down to business. Class is now in session.

I fire up my computer and turn on my Skype. This is so the students can see me, but none of them have to Skype back. Why they need to see me, I have no idea, but it’s part of the program.

Of course when I get to the location of the class, they are already there, and I’m FIFTEEN MINUTES EARLY. Don’t these losers have anything better to do?

I greet my class (they can hear me as well as see me – kind of creepy if you ask me), and they all chime in something via chat that I’m not going to bother reading. I start the class like I have been for the past thirty some odd sessions the same way, and I’m immediately inundated with questions. Questions that I’ve hears some thirty odd times. Questions that I’ve answered some thirty odd times.

That’s when I give the signal, which is nothing more than a fake sneeze.

My students see the door opening behind me, and a man who is dressed as that fish from the movie all the little kids like enters. Immediately, my students respond. ‘Miss Edwards, somebody is behind you’. ‘Miss Edwards, there is somebody dressed as a fish behind you! And the fish is holding a very large axe!’

Perfect. Just as we’d arranged.

I tell the class to stop the nonsense and focus on the class, completely ignoring their warnings.

If this is going as we planned, he’s now making the ‘Shh’ gesture to my students, who keep writing, frantically. It’s kind of touching, actually. Maybe these student’s really do care, and I should give them another chance…


As planned, my accomplice smacks me right down the middle of my skull with his fake axe, complete with fake blood. I exhale like I imagine you would if you just got smacked with an axe, and slowly – dramatically – fall onto my keyboard.

Right on cue, Nemo (that’s his name, right?) the axe murderer turns the Skype off.

I stand up, shake the gentleman’s hand (or in this case fin), and give him the twenty bucks we’d agreed on. Hopefully, my students will be too shocked to go near a computer any time soon.

And hopefully my bosses have a sense of humor.

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