In The Heater Of The Moment

| Learning | January 18, 2016

(It’s the early 1990s and I’m in a second-year Spanish class in high school. The teacher tends to engage disruptive students in arguments, basically doing exactly what they want. One typically disruptive student starts making a very loud, harmonic, vibration sound, similar to the “water in the glass” trick, by licking his fingers and sliding them back and forth across the metal rack under his desk chair.)

Teacher: “What’s that sound? Who’s making that noise? [Student #1], is that you? Stop that right now!”

(He lifts up his hands and shows them to her. At that moment his friend, Student #2, begins doing the same trick on the other side of the room.)

Student #1: “What? I’m not doing anything!”

Teacher: “Well, someone is doing it. Who is it? You’d better stop it right now!”

Student #2: *lying through his teeth* “It kind of sounds like the heater. Sometimes it makes that weird noise.”

Teacher: “What? Really?”

Student #3: *playing along* “Yeah, another classroom was doing that a few weeks ago.”

Teacher: “Oh, well, that’s annoying.”

(She continues the lesson. Meanwhile, a few other students have joined in on the prank, to the point where it’s so loud we can barely hear her talk. Finally, she gets up in a huff and goes to the phone.)

Teacher: “…Yes, hi, this is [Teacher] in [Room]. Our heater is making a lot of noise and it’s gotten so loud we can’t even concentrate on the lesson.”

(A few students begin looking around the room, with a look in their eyes that they might have been caught.)

Teacher: “Mmm hmmm… Yes… I see… Ah, I see… Okay, thanks.”

(She hangs up and turns to the class.)

Teacher: “They’re going to come take a look at it after class.”

(The heater mysteriously “fixed” itself shortly after that, and the whole class breathed a collective sigh of relief!)

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