Underneath, It’s All The Same (Tough) Love

| Learning | July 8, 2013

(I teach a Grade 8 class that other teachers brand as “tough” because of the students, although I get along fine with them. Note that I am gay, and my students are aware of this. Each day, I start with a “Youtube of the Day,” where they can show a video to the class as long as I okay it. One morning, one of the “tough guy” kids comes up to me.)

Tough Guy: “Can I show my video this morning?”

Me: “I haven’t seen it. You know you have to send it to me first.”

Tough Guy: “Please? It’s a music video. I really want to show it, and I know you’ll like it.”

(Note: this student is really into rap and hip-hop, and has sung some songs before that are a little off-colour.)

Me: “I shouldn’t be doing this, but okay. Please tell me it’s appropriate.”

Tough Guy: “It is. I promise.”

(He proceeds to load up the video. It turns out to be the music video for “Same Love” by Macklemore, song whose message is to stand up against homophobia. It is a beautiful video.)

Tough Guy: “I told you you’d like it.”

Tough Guy’s Friend: “That was for you, Mr. [my name]!”

(The class cheered and I cried. I love those kids so very much!)

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That’s A Negative

| Learning | July 7, 2013

(I am in a computer lab, working on a project.)

Classmate: “Hey, how come I can’t find any pictures of Cleopatra?”

(I look over at her monitor, and see plenty of pictures of busts and artwork of Cleopatra.)

Me: “It looks like you’ve got pictures of her there.”

Classmate: “No, I mean like, actual pictures.”

Me: “You mean photographs of Cleopatra? Taken with a camera?”

Classmate: “Yeah.”

Me: “There aren’t any. Cameras weren’t invented back then.”

Classmate: “They weren’t?”

Me: “No. Cleopatra lived thousands of years ago.”

Classmate: “Really?!”

Me: “Yeah.”

(To clarify for her, I look up Cleopatra on Wikipedia, and show her the date of birth and date of death.)

Me: “See? She was born in 69 BC, and died in 30 BC. That’s over 2000 years ago.”

Classmate: “Oh. Years went backwards?”

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An Idea Whose Time Has Come And Saigon

| Learning | July 7, 2013

(We are assigning topics for a project where we will be working in groups. One topic is the Vietnam War. Two students in our class are out because they were suspended for fighting with each other.)

Teacher: “Looks like we have the groups all assigned, now. So get to work.”

Student #1: “[Suspended Student #1] and [Suspended Student #2] are not here, but they need to be in a group.”

Teacher: “That’s true. Who wants one of them in their group?”

Student #2: “They can work together.”

Teacher: “I think that’s a really bad idea.”

Student #3: “No. it isn’t. They can do the Vietnam War project and reenact it for us.”

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This Logic Is Dead On Arrival

Learning | July 6, 2013

Professor: “An animate is something that when you kick it, it screams. If you kick a snake, it will scream and yell, ‘Stop it!'”

Student: “What about dead people? Are they still animate?”

Professor: “Of course. Because if you kick them, they still scream. You’ve probably never noticed this, because you’ve never kicked a dead person.”

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Sharing Is Pouring

| Learning | July 6, 2013

Lecturer: “…and what does… what the h*** are you doing?!”

(A student across from me is drinking out of a hip flask.)

Student: “What? I’m eighteen.”

(The lecturer continues to stare.)

Lecturer: “Did you bring enough for everyone?”

Student: “As a matter of fact…” *pulls bottle of rum* “…I do.”

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